Friday, December 29, 2017

BRAMBLES: Chances Are...

Raise a glass with friends and try something new
Chances are that during that holiday party you will see old, familiar friends and a few new faces, too.  And then, there are all the folks you will greet.  There will be wines that you have enjoyed before, and perhaps a few that you know to avoid....just like those other holiday celebrants. But among the surprising collection of holiday treats there will be probably a few wines that are unfamiliar, creations that you have no prior experience with.  In that celebratory environ we have a great opportunity to introduce ourselves to something new that can change our world of wine perceptions, and as a result expand the choices we identify in the marketplace or the printed terror that is a restaurant wine list.  No formal introduction should be necessary.

'Chances are 'cause I wear a silly grin the moment you come into view; chances are you think I'm in love with you.'
Riesling pairs well with Asian inspired appetizers
Chances are when joining good company this holiday season, we will be in good cheer and ready to raise a glass or two. So what is expected in that glass?  Is the choice by color or a familiar varietal?  Or perhaps we choose something comfortable and familiar. There was a time when such gatherings brought together 'anything but chardonnay' sippers, and 'only cabernet' dandies.  Today as the global market expands, new choices await, like Chile's Carménère,  or a delicious Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley of France, where the appellations of Bourgueil or Chinon will reward the curious searcher.

Chances are there will be bubbles, always bubbles.  Proseccos of northeastern Italy and cavas of Catalonia continue to present high standards of quality and value to celebrating consumers, and this holiday season is no exception. White wines too present choices beyond chardonnay(which can be in your cava), offering tastes of world travelers like Pinot Gris/Grigio or dry Riesling from Australia with a chance to join a party.  Again, the Loire Valley's Chenin Blanc from Vouvray or Savennie'res can be a delightful revelation in a glass. Chances are you may ask for two, even as you started as just one.

Chances are that as we escape our vino comfort zone, we'll find a new love.  Increasingly, the result may help the casual wine lover discover to what it is that they really like about wine varietals from unfamiliar places, and as a result, more about their personal wine preferences. Go ahead, take a chance. Chances are you'll find something good.
A world of wine awaits exploration
Predictions: Red blends will continue to be popular.  Consumers should continue a trend of 'trading up', even as the comfortable $10 threshold remains strong.  Chances are market growth will continue for those $20+ bottles where brands increasingly become important. International values should remain strong, as wines of emerging countries, like Bulgaria(world's second biggest wine producer in the 1980's) or Uruguay's high-tannin Tannat grape, find new markets. On-line retail will continue to grow with sail wind from Amazon(which consumers should notice), and there will be continued consolidation within the heavy weights of the industry(consumers should not notice).  As varietal and country of origin selections expand, consumers should find innovative packaging choices continue to grow green. Sustainability in any relationship is after-all what it is all about.

'Well, chances are your chances are awfully good!
Lyrics: Al Stillman c.1957

A Happy and Healthy New Year to All!  Cheers!!

Wine Links: