What wines are undiscovered and what has been oversold? In part two of our sommelier year end Q & A, we ask sommeliers and wine directors where the conversation may be headed in 2014, and what talking points may have become too much in 2013. And to keep the conversation going, we also inquired about favorite wine feeds on Twitter and Instagram. Here is what we found out.
What wines do you think we should be hearing more about in 2014?
Patrick Cappiello, Pearl & Ash: I think sparkling wines from outside Champagne are going to gain momentum. Grower Champagnes have been so hot the last few years, and as a result they are getting more expensive and less available. Areas that I think will be big are: Loire Valley, Northern Italy, and California. All have been producing great sparkling wines for many years.
Erin Scala, The Musket Room: I'd love to hear more about Washington State Syrah, Macvin, wines from exciting emerging regions like China/Britain, high altitude German reds, and of course, New Zealand Gewürztraminer and Riesling. I'd also love to see more sommeliers put a deeper focus on the history of wine and beverages, and how beverages are linked to humanity and culture.
Grant Reynolds, Charlie Bird: I'd like to see a greater preponderance of briny, fresh, inexpensive coastal Italian whites by the glass.
Michael Madrigale, Bar Boulud & Boulud Sud: California continues to improve and impress. Also 2011 Oregon Pinots are DELICIOUS. Value is the name of the game in 2014.
Jeff Porter, Del Posto & Babbo: Within a large scope (outside of the group I work for) I believe we will begin to see and talk more about wines from Eastern Europe and the dialogue about lower alcohol wines from California will gain more speed with the general public. The "In Pursuit of Balance" group has done a good job getting the word out and I have even been finding myself buying some California wines for personal consumption in larger quantities than I have done in years.
Juliette Pope, Gramercy Tavern: More please: Finger Lakes wines (reds as well as whites). Sagrantino (can never get enough of this best-kept secret red weapon). Grower Champagne from the Aube.
Pascaline Lepeltier, Rouge Tomate: I don't know if one wine region will be the big "Wine Region of 2014," but I hope more attention will be paid to careful appraisal of producers, instead of relying on one note regional stereotypes. There are producers who are overlooked because they don't conform to the norm of their region. I wish more of them would receive the recognition they deserve.
Linda Milagros Violago, Contra: We should be drinking more Spanish and Italian wines from the lesser known regions. Also, from the traditional regions (Chianti and Ribera del Duero, as examples) but from the producers that are going back to traditional winemaking and not slamming the wine with new oak.
Jordan Salcito, Momofuku Group: I think we are going to be hearing a lot more about "grower" sparkling wines produced in California and the greater United States. And that makes me very excited.
Lee Campbell, Reynard, Diner, Marlow & Sons, Roman's, Achilles Heel: Oh. My. God. Obsessed with: Auvergne and Moravia. In that order. A colleague and I had a bet that Asimov would do a NYT column about the Auvergne before the end of 2013. Apparently, I've lost.
Matt Stinton, Hearth & the Terroir wine bars: I look forward to hearing more and more about Portuguese wines. I feel that their presence has been growing in the market for the last few years. More and more importers and buyers are starting to see the value in these wines.
Thomas Pastuszak, The NoMad: If I were to pick two regions that I think continue to deserve greater promotion, they would be the Jura in France, and the Finger Lakes in New York. The Jura has fallen in & out of fashion, and is definitely hip now, for good reason - the reds (Trousseau, Poulsard, Pinot Noir & blends of these) in particular offer great value for those looking for balanced, fresh wines on the lighter side; while certain producers' wines can be really challenging to find (Ganevat, Puffeney), there are others whose wines are much more available & great finds, like those from Domaine Rolet or Philippe Bornard. And with regard to the Finger Lakes, I've been a strong promoter for a long time, and the quality of the wines coming from upstate continues to improve (and very quickly at that)! Riesling in a bone-dry style (look to Ravines, Keuka Lake Vineyards & Silver Thread), and Cabernet Franc inspired by the Loire Valley (Bloomer Creek Vineyard, Hermann J. Wiemer) I think will continue to define this cool-climate region, which is still so young & full of potential; it's amazing to think about the fact that, with all of the centuries-old winemaking regions we know around the world in far-off places, there is one in our backyard upstate that could potentially be the next great one!
What are you tired of hearing about, going into 2014?
Lee Campbell, Reynard, Diner, Marlow & Sons, Roman's, Achilles Heel: Tired of? Nothing. Rebirth is incessant in the wine world. Regions and wines you thought you knew, are changing right under your nose. How fun is that??
Patrick Cappiello, Pearl & Ash: I'm tired of big corporations buying small wineries and quadrupling the production. I've been tired of this for years, but shockingly it doesn't seem to be stopping them.
Michael Madrigale, Bar Boulud & Boulud Sud: Honest wines with true character from where they're grown without adhering to winemaking dogma for dogma's sake and at a price-point for the people is what I'm on in '14. Lochness Monster wine, Sasquatch wine and Unibrow wine can go fly a kite.
Erin Scala, The Musket Room: I'm tired of brands. As in, wines being referred to as "brands." Also tired of the ridiculous "At Rest" bill that "brand" pushers keep trying to get passed into law to disrupt the business of all the smaller wine portfolios. Consumers should decide what wines they want, not the government.
Jeff Porter, Del Posto & Babbo: Not all "natural" wine is well made nor good. Sulfur does not kill people (unless in crazy quantities, like in a sulfur mine). I would like less hard core dogma in the beverage world. I like opinions, I like debates, but not at the expense of people not liking or respecting others because of their beverage likes or dislikes.
Juliette Pope, Gramercy Tavern: Less please: Orange wine hype, though I am not the least bit tired of drinking or selling them (we have a bunch in our "unconventional whites" section).
Pascaline Lepeltier, Rouge Tomate: I would like to hear less about "somms" as the new trendy phenomenon and more about the sommelier being a part of the hospitality world, a small link in the appreciation and the service of wine.
Linda Milagros Violago, Contra: I'm tired of reading that Riesling is having a revival. It's back and it's not going anywhere!
Matt Stinton, Hearth & the Terroir wine bars: I do feel the conversation about "Natural Wine" vs. "Not Natural Wine" is becoming a little long in the tooth. It is now a conversation that I am having with my guest and not just with my professional colleagues. I understand it's importance and I respect the movement. But just because it's Natural doesn't mean it's better.
Grant Reynolds, Charlie Bird: I could do with less sherry dogma.
What were your favorite wine related Twitter feeds of 2013?
Patrick Cappiello, Pearl & Ash: The Unicorn Wine Rules with @rajatparr.
Jeff Porter, Del Posto & Babbo: @ShitMySommSays still cracks me up all the time!
Grant Reynolds, Charlie Bird: Michael Madrigale's big bottle night street-side photos on Twitter/Instagram are hilarious.
Linda Milagros Violago, Contra: I love Michael Madrigale's and Pascaline Lepeltier's daily wine posts on Twitter and Facebook.
Jordan Salcito, Momofuku Group: I love @jancisrobinson, @ericasimov, @ShitMySommSays, @thomaspastuszak and @levi_opens_wine. @antoniogalloni offers great insight, too - especially the links to his longer articles.
Michael Madrigale, Bar Boulud & Boulud Sud: I thought the @WineDiarist twitter feed covering the Rudy Kurniawan trial was really great. I really enjoy Mike Steinberger's writing style. I also like quipping with that guy Levi Dalton on Twitter about wine.
What were your favorite wine related Instagram feeds in 2013?
Patrick Cappiello, Pearl & Ash: corkhoarder: Dude drinks better than anyone I know.
Matt Stinton, Hearth & the Terroir wine bars: For Instagram, it has to be my friend carlarzeszewski. I really dig her photographic perspective and, well, what she comments is…. Well. The best way to explain it is if the Dalai Lama and the Sex Pistols got together and wrote down what they thought about a photograph of ketchup on white pants.
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