2010's top wine trends
The people and places that are changing the wine scene in the West
Trend: Greener wine
Natural Process Alliance is delivering wine to restaurants in two Earth-friendly ways: reusable, bottle-size stainless-steel canisters (which get picked up and re-filled); and kegs to serve on tap (left).
No bottles to make, transport, and recycle. And these reusable containers save the environment big-time on the waste and carbon-footprint fronts.
You can minimize drips by twisting the bottle as you finish pouring. But you can avoid them altogether with a thin Mylar disk that rolls up into the neck of the bottle for a clean finish. DropStop pour spout, $5.99/pair; amazon.com
Spray Private Preserve into open bottles, then recork them. A wine-friendly inert gas replaces oxidizing oxygen, and stoppering the bottles keeps more air from getting in. $12 for a 120-use bottle; wineenthusiast.com
Freebie advice: Bookwalter recommends storing bottles cool or cold—reds at 54°, whites in the fridge.
- Rôtie Cellars 2008 “Southern Blend” (Horse Heaven Hills; $35)
- Rulo 2007 Syrah (Columbia Valley; $20)
- Northstar 2006 Merlot (Walla Walla Valley; $50)
Pictured: A mini wine country escape in Walla Walla
- Waterbrook 2007 Merlot-Cabernet (Columbia Valley; $11)
56% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon
- Townshend Non-vintage “Vortex Red” (Columbia Valley; $15)
47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc
- Justin 2007 “Isosceles” (Paso Robles; $62)
88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot
What’s hot: Goldun says Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Rhône varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Viognier)—from both Europe and the West, as long as the wines are value-oriented. Younger drinkers tend to be more adventurous and less likely to drink the same wine twice; they graduate from Trader Joe’s when they realize that $2 or $3 more per bottle makes a big difference.
Exploding trend Goldun loves: Sustainably farmed wines, which tend to be handmade, with a noticeable uptick in character. These natural wines are becoming a big part of the Palate business.
Bottle that recently blew him away: Donkey & Goat 413 Rhône blend ($32) from El Dorado County. Elegant, balanced, concentrated … and natural.
The ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) movement’s catching on. Introduce yourself to one of these special alternatives.
The lighter-white flight:
- Thistle 2009 Pinot Blanc (Dundee Hills; $15)
- A to Z 2008 Pinot Gris (Oregon; $13)
- Fidélitas 2008 “Optu” Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon (Columbia Valley; $30)
The richer-white flight:
- Saxon Brown 2007 Casa Santinamaria Vineyards Semillon (Sonoma Valley; $30)
- Jorian Hill 2008 Viognier (Santa Ynez Valley; $30)
- Donelan Family 2008 “Venus” Roussanne/Viognier (Sonoma; $50)