Wines for 2014: what's on trend?

31 January 2014
Wines for 2014: what's on trend?

Now the New Year Champagne stocks have made way for winter staples and spring surprises, should you stock up on Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir? We ask four wine experts what impressed them in 2013 and what wine will be on trend this year

Owner, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn
My wine of 2013 was Viognier Domaine Gerovassiliou, 2012 Epanomi, Greece. The country has been hitting the headlines recently, but because of the Assyrtiko grape, mainly from the island of Santorini. Here we have found another exciting wine made from the Viognier grape.

This is a very modern, vibrant Viognier, very much of the New World style, which has enthralled and fooled even a few Australians. It has honeycomb, kaffir lime and fresh Golden Delicious apples on the nose, and it gently rolls around the palate with a delicate creamy texture, giving a classic French Viognier impact with a modern New World twist. Our customers have loved its freshness and vibrancy. It is great as an aperitif and available for £12 (Hallgarten).

I cannot overlook Nyetimber Demi Sec Sparkling, £26 (Liberty), which delivers an astonishing Champagne, rich in style. It is an extra special wine worthy of any occasion, but brilliant with sashimi.

What to look out for in 2014
Tasmania will be the buzzword for 2014. Look out for the wines from Dalrymple Vineyard (Negociants) and Tolpuddle Vineyard (Liberty), which both make exceptional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The cooler temperatures of Tasmania are perfect for making food-friendly wine full of elegance, purity and freshness.

Group buying manager, wines and non-food, Hakkasan
My star wine of 2013 was an unashamedly personal choice: a fab 1958 Boal Madeira from Pereira D'Oliveira. Birth-year wines aside, Madeira has been on a bit of a roll recently, and I've loved tasting some delicious older wines. They are good value too, and we're currently in the process of choosing one to list at Hakkasan.

What to look out for in 2014
This might be controversial, but I have to say sake! Interest in Japan's national drink is rocketing, and with some great distributors now selling sake to non-Asian restaurants, I predict sommeliers will follow bartenders and start listing junmais, daiginjos and umeshus.

On the wine front, I reckon we'll start to see Albarino from countries other than Spain. I've tasted lovely examples from New Zealand and California, and the current popularity of this grape makes it likely that some New World examples will break through.

Of course, Portugal makes great Alvarinho too, and I think we'll see plenty of it in modern-style Vinho Verde blends. These are delicious, with modest alcohol, crisp acidity and lovely fresh fruit, and should be a hit next summer.

Director/co-founder, Texture and 28°-50°
Last year I really enjoyed both whites and reds from Galicia in Spain. There are some tremendous Godello and Albarino, which we're more familiar with, along with great reds such as Mencia. I really like their style, as they are produced in a cooler climate. They have fantastic acidity and are very good food wines. They're easy going, simple wines, which are affordable right now. They are in small production, but more suppliers are listing them.

What to look out for in 2014 I think both red and white Burgundy will command even higher prices than ever. Meanwhile, Pinot Noir is really in fashion at the moment. We go through buckets of it. We secured a pallet [600 bottles] of Pinot Noir for 28-50 from New Zealand and went through it in two months. Even with three restaurants, that's pretty good going. I love the German Pinot Noir, too. It will never be in fashion, but it's a great wine.

I think the trend will continue towards lighter wines with more acid, less oak and less alcohol. These wines are a little more food friendly. It means the new world is struggling a little, but they are adjusting the style of what they produce to make it easier on the palate.

If you're looking for affordability, I'd say try South Africa, where there are many young winemakers doing great things. The Chenin Blanc is better than ever, and there is also some Viognier that is of excellent quality.

Ronan Sayburn
Ronan Sayburn
Wine consultant
I have been to New Zealand a couple of times this year and was lucky enough to visit Te Whare Ra vineyard in Marlborough. Its a small, 11ha biodynamic property in Renwick that was planted in 1979, so the vines are over 30 years old, which is quite rare in Marlborough. They are mainly planted with white aromatic varieties with some Pinot Noir.

The whole range of wines is superb, especially an off-dry Riesling called ‘M' (for Medium) that rivals some of the great Mosel Rieslings in terms of delicacy and purity.

What to look out for in 2014

This wine is off-dry, rich, spicy and complex, with a host of floral and tropical fruit flavours. It's really a food wine; a wine that deserves to have a chef and sommelier create something special specifically to suit its characteristics. It is the type of wine that, if given some thought and served in the correct way with the correct food, can be an instant success with guests. I would hope to see more sommeliers and chefs working together in 2014 to bring this style of wine to the public.

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