Anyone who’s ever waxed poetic about the flavor and body of a great malbec or the refreshing crispness of rosé knows that wines, like fashion, experience trends. Right now, the ’80s, a turning point for wine (due to the new success of California winemakers), are having a big moment, according to Brian Smith, chief wine officer of global winery Club W. To get ahead of the curve, we spoke with Brian to learn which varietals we should be looking out for on shelves. Read on below to learn.
"I've been on the merlot train for a few years now. I think for those who like Napa cabernets, there are a myriad of lesser-priced merlots out of California and Washington that offer a very similar style at an amazing value. Everyone needs to get over the Sideways thing—if you tasted it blind, you would love it."
"That’s right, white zin. There are a few of us making craft white zinfandel right now; it’s very ironic that the hipster winemakers are messing around with the ultimate mom wine. You actually get a user-friendly wine when you take a quality approach. Our Ruza, for instance, has just a touch of sweetness, which makes it a killer food pairing for anything with a little heat or spice."
"This grape never quite happened for consumers in the U.S., but there are some incredible examples both from California and France. Great syrah has this perfect blend of dense fruit and wild tension. Other than the sommeliers and the winemakers, syrah gets little love."
"Chardonnay can be absolutely delicious and incredibly complex—as long as it hasn't been hit with so much oak that it starts to smell like suntan lotion. Just a touch of oak creates a fresh style of white wine that still has great weight and texture. There is a reason the chardonnay-based white burgundies are the most expensive whites in the world."
"This is essentially a forgotten grape, once called Napa Gamay (since the first California growers confused it for Gamay), it was even stripped of that title in the late ’90s. Insiders know that this pinot-style grape is often used for blending or topping off pinot noir. You don't see much of it these days, but if you find a glass, you'll love its crazy dark pink color and pinot-like qualities."
Which wines do you think deserve more attention? Tell us in the comments below.
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