Wines to try this year
Everyone has a wine wishlist, you may have not thought a lot about it, but what is sure is that if you're the slightest bit interested in wine than you've had that thought cross your mind; "I wonder what it would be like to taste..." or "I bet you ... would taste amazing!!"
The back to school season is starting and it's always a time when I like to look at my New Year's resolutions and see how far I've come and set new goals for the upcoming academic year. With this in mind, one of my goals this year is to really broaden my horizons, learn and discover new wines from regions I've never heard of before. So here we go my list of wines to try this year (these wines are listed in no particular order).
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc
This Sauvignon Blanc from Cloudy bay is what put New Zealand wines on the map as an important New World country which has a lot to offer especially in terms of freshness and zestiness. I can't wait to get my hands on a bottle of this and really discover what everyone is raving about.
Domaine de Miraval Rosé Côtes de Provence
This famous rosé, made in the fabulous Joli-Pitt estate, has made a name for itself in the most part thanks to its famous owners. This one has me intrigued. Looking forward to picking up a bottle before the summer warmth fades away.
The little town of Chablis, situated a hundred or so kilometres northwest of Dijon, is home to some of France's most prestigious white wines. Made out of the prestigious Chardonnay varietal, these dry white wines are crisp and vibrant, loaded with acidity. What makes Chablis so unique compared to other Chardonnays is the geology which is so characteristic of Chablis and brings on a minerality which many will equate to the taste of Gunflint.
Châteauneuf du Pape
In my quest for developing my knowledge in the different wine regions of France and around the world, I find myself often developing a curiosity for wines of the Rhône Valley and especially of Châteauneuf du Pape. These wines can be described as meaty with a lot of body which comes to counterbalance the high alcohol content often at around 14%.
Often referred to as Spain's Bordeaux, its popularity is most notably down to the excellent red wines made from the tempranillo varietal. Generally Rioja wines are aged much longer than other wines around the world. There are two styles of Rioja depending on the type of oak barrels used. Traditional style Riojas are aged for a longer period in American oak barrels whereas more modern styles of Rioja are made from riper grapes and aged for shorter periods in traditional French oak barrels. Some of the best wines of the Old World, a definite one to try.
Rias Baixas Albarino
I've come to know and try quite a few French Albarinos over the past few months and one wine which is especially on my bucket list this year is a white wine from the region of Rias Baixas in Spain. Often you'll find that local wines pair perfectly with local cuisine and that could not be more true than in Galicia, Spain where the local seafood cuisine blends harmoniously with the light acidity and minerality in these wines.
I was first introduced to Barolo wines in the film Somm: Into the bottle. The documentary tells the story of the Barolo wars during the 1970s and 1980s when a group of Barolo producers started using more modern winemaking techniques with the Nebbiolo grape to produce more fruity wines which could be drunk at a younger age compared to traditional methods which would require a minimum 15 year ageing period. To this day, Traditionalists and Modernists disagree on the correct way to make Barolo wines. Nevertheless this area produces what some believe to be the best wines in all of Italy.
Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Rieslaner
Germany is especially known for its Riesling but they also have many other native varieties that I have yet to discover. That said a consistency which can be found across these varietals can be summed up by fruity aromas and medium acidity creating dry wines packed with lots of flavour.
Christopher Rawson Penfold, an english physician and his wife, Mary Penfold, emigrated to Australia and founded one of Australia's oldest wineries, Penfolds. They made a name for themselves and Australian wines by planting massively the Syrah or "Shiraz" varietal. Since then Australia has been put on the map as an important producer of quality red wines which have a lot of character. Penfolds 1962 Bin 60A has been estimated as one of the best Australian wines ever made and is one of Decanter's Top 10 wines to try before you die.
With the high mountains of the Andes and harsh weather conditions, Argentina has made a name for itself with its Malbec. A varietal which originated in Cahors, France but almost disappeared after a frost one year wiped out 75% of the crop. It was in the mid 19th century that the first vines were brought to Argentina and since then have created the most impressive reds.
The US has a long tumultuous past with the wine industry and most notably due to the prohibition era. It was during that time that for a period of thirteen years the government tried to enforce a statewide abstinence on alcohol. many vintners thought that wine would be spared as it was after all the preferred drink of Thomas Jefferson. Much to their dismay it was not. The over 700 wineries that existed before prohibition were dwindled down to a mere 140. While it may have taken a while for winemakers to gain momentum again, it was in the 70s that quality Californian wine was put to the test in the Judgement of Paris tasting of 1976. Stag's Leap Wine Cellars' cabernet sauvignon took the first place. This varietal which creates powerful complex wines is what enabled California to be put on the map.