With fascinating wines coming from the unlikliest of places, 2015 has become the Year of Discovery in wine, with retailers in the vital position as gatekeepers between curious drinkers and bold new regions and grapes
A funny thing happened on the way to 2016: Buoyed by two decades of steady growth in wine consumption, Americans are—finally(?)—getting it. After decades of wine suppliers, merchants and critics alike exhorting people to "drink what you like," people are doing just that.
Consider some of the most dynamic wine-category upswings of late—Moscato, Malbec, Prosecco and Red Blends. What they have in common is simple, pure and powerful: they are being driven by consumers' tastes. Not by critics' ratings.
Sure, Cab and Chard are still ringing up sales, but so many other grapes and regions have entered Americans' comfort zone. In Italy, think Sicily, Alto Adige and Campania. In France, the Loire, the Rhône and the South of France are stirring more emotions than Bordeaux. In Spain, Garnacha has jumped in recognition. Wines from New Zealand, Greece, Austria, South Africa and Portugal are on the tips of wine drinkers' tongues. In California, blends and offbeat varietals are what have drinkers buzzing, as well as regions outside Napa and Sonoma; and Washington, Oregon and New York's wine industries continue to hum.
Nailing wine trends to a specific year can be tricky, but we believe 2015 is a watershed year for American wine culture: Consumers' curiosity, interest and open-mindedness on one hand are converging with wine's incredibly vibrant and creative supply side on the other. The result is that 2015 is revealing itself as the Year of Discovery.
A leading French champagne house introduced the first Premier-Cru Champagne effectively raising the bar for quality in champagne. This same champagne house is also the official champagne of the French sommelier association, The Union
de la Sommelierie Francaise. It also sponsors the Best Young Sommelier Competition in France every two years. It is found on many restaurant wine lists across France. However, for many of us in Hawaii, the champagne Duval-Leroy sounds like a newly minted brand. In fact, this summary assessment could not be further from the truth.