In our winter 2022 edition of 1874, Pierre talked about the trend for ‘new-wave’ reds that emphasise natural fruitiness and purity of flavour. In June 2022 he was a panel member at the Act for Change Symposium in Bordeaux, an event that discussed how wine styles are likely to evolve over the next ten years. We thought members might be interested in what was said and reproduce an extract below:
Tastes have continuously evolved throughout the history of wine; I know mine have. Divergence in taste trends will accelerate between what I call mass-market wines – clean, simple wines with elevated residual sugar – and what I refer to as ‘honest’ wines: vibrant wines with purity and fresh acidity giving lift to the fruit flavours. By this I mean wines that are authentic and produced in a way that is both good for nature and reflect the traditions of the style or region they come from. This is a trend that is definitely already happening.
There are some fascinating dynamics at play that are impacting aroma and flavour in wine and it will be interesting to see how these evolve between now and 2030.
Sustainability and climate change
In vineyards, sustainable practices should mean a clearer expression of terroir alongside a desire among winemakers to take the peddle off the winemaking toolkit. Honest wines offer an unadulterated expression of the natural features of the grape or region. We’re seeing this more and more in Australia and in Spain (with garnacha and in Rioja), but the real standard-bearer of this style is Beaujolais where the different terroirs of the region are beautifully expressed through the lens of just one grape, gamay.
Climate is also having an impact on personal preferences when it comes to the taste of wine too. Hotter temperatures are leading consumers to seek wines with higher acidity for extra refreshment, while, in some places, colder winters are seeing people demand the more mellow, mature flavours of aged wines.
Wine and health
With people showing a renewed focus on leading a healthy lifestyle, I expect to see increased demand for wines with fewer calories, such as with ultra-brut styles of sparkling wine. It’s unclear where de-alcoholised wine will be by 2030, but I imagine new technology that retains flavour and texture without the need for residual sugar won’t be too far around the corner. People are also consuming less meat, vegetarian and vegan diets are on the increase and wine styles will need to adapt to changes in eating habits too.
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Oak falling out of favour
I believe that interest for oaky styles will continue to decline as people strive to look for terroir in their wines, such as those from coastal/volcanic/mountain regions. Oak will continue to be used more judiciously so it enhances rather than dominates flavour and structure in wines.
We’ve also seen increased demand for authenticity – wines such as dry sherry, assyrtiko from Santorini in Greece, and from wine styles or indigenous grapes or traditional production methods that cannot be replicated elsewhere.
There’s also a fantastic opportunity for red wines made with carbonic maceration (a technique whereby bunches of grapes are fermented whole, creating bright, fruit-forward wines) such as Beaujolais, as well as oxidative styles such as white Rioja.
I also expect indigenous whites such as albariño and picpoul de Pinet to continue to gain market share, particularly in light of lower chardonnay yields in France, as well as some smaller vintages of sauvignon blanc in the southern hemisphere.
Fruit-forward, crisp dry whites will flourish, whether that’s Vinho Verde from Portugal or Italian varieties such as garganega (Soave), cortese (Gavi) and grillo from Sicily. Demand is also building for slightly ‘fatter’ but still fresh styles such as white Rhône.
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The wine industry never sits still, so it will be fascinating to see how wine styles and people’s tastes evolve over the next decade. One thing you can be sure of, however, is that The Society will continue to uncover new, exciting bottles to taste from all over the world.
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