The Grape Girls Predict the NEXT Rosé (in absolutely no scientific way)
Posted on March 30, 2016
The Grape Girls Predict the Next Rosé
We are girls. And we like the grapes. We also like being on trend, a trait that, naturally, spills over and onto our palette’s. And nothing says trendy in 2016 like a big, pink bottle of Rosé. Spotted everywhere from boozy brunches, cocktail hours, dinner tables, front porches, lavish weddings and comfy couches across America, this popular pink has more than had her moment in the sun. The Grape Girls start to wonder: What’s Next?
You may be asking, “What could possibly take the place of my beloved rosé? What wine by any other name would smell just as….sweet? Minerally? Earthy?” To make our predictions, we first had to take a look back at what makes this pink so pleasurable, and what grape is on trend to take her place. Here’s a few reasons why rosé may have been monopolizing the bottle scene these past few years:
- Supply and Demand – Long story short: Red wine makers start reserving portions of their red wine juice to convert, making for an intentional, on-purpose rosé. Consumers wanted it. Winemakers saw it coming, and were able to meet the demand of the consumer by importing more rosé to feed the trend. How? How did they know it’d be so good? Magic, perhaps? “Gaze into my crystal glass….”. The “How” remains a mystery, but the outcome is the same.
- Popularity – Ok, so we aren’t saying the whole rosé thing happened because of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and their Miraval Rosé, but we are saying that rosé production jumped from about 200,000 bottles in 2012 to about 500,000 bottles in 2015. This type of growth is just one indication that the perception of rosé went from being a bottom-shelf, “you’re cute” kind of wine to a get-in-my-glass wine- that’s an ACTUAL technical term among wine snobs and novices alike.
- Affordability meets Familiarity – In addition to being affordable, consumers have come to know what they’re getting when they order a glass of rosé, and often feel a little fancy when doing so. Familiarity plus glamour? We’ll take two, please.
So, taking these qualities into consideration, what’s on trend to kick Rosé to the curb and have a moment in the spotlight? While there’s SOOOO much bookish stuff that goes into predicting a wine trend – the climate, the weather, needs of the consumer…blah blah blah – when it comes to predicting what the next hot thing coming down the grape vine might be, we prefer a less scientific and more hands-on approach: Our glasses. Dim lights and cue the catwalk.
Lo’s Prediction: Viognier
What She’s Got: Supply, Affordability
What She’s Not: Demand, Popularity, Familiarity
The Goods: Yummy, Affordable, Abundant
This lush, full-bodied white wine has been popping up on wine lists all over for the past decade. According to a little publication called the Wall Street Journal, Viognier, the little French grape from the Rhone Valley, was poised for popularity as early as 1996, when the WSJ and American vintners predicted it to be the next big grape as a less overpowering option to the classic “it” wine, Chardonnay. In fact, “California Viognier production soared almost 12 fold between 1996 and 2006,” says WSJ. “At it’s best, Viognier can have the cleanliness of Riesling, the juciness of Sauvignon Blanc and the orange-blossom charm of Muscat,”. With aromas of violets and peaches and pears (oh my!) abounding, and a touch of mineral and acidity, this wine is easy and oh-so-pleasurable to drink. And at a reasonable, adult price point starting around $15, you can feel all fancy-pants without spending all your rent money.
The Catch: Moody and Hard to Pronounce
While members of the wine world were certain that Viognier would take off in the early 2000s, the rest of the American population didn’t catch on quite so fast. Some vintners think it’s all in the name. If a customer can’t pronounce it, they’re less likely to walk into a store or restaurant and ask for it. She’s also a tough grape to grow, which means growing her in abundance can be tricky and the result can be unpredictable. Pick her too early and she’s bland in taste and smell and under-developed; pick her too late, and she’s like a slice of pizza that was left out overnight – oily and UN-cute. The good news, however? She does well in warmer climates with longer growing season, a real bonus for California winemakers facing hot, dry seasons with little water.
Tee’s Pick: Albariño
Alba-what-oh? Al-buh-REEN-yo. Oh…..What the F is that?
What She’s Got: Supply, Demand, Popularity, Affordability
What She’s Not: Familiar…yet
The new, hot wine to tap, pop, and pour, America’s Next Top Wine Model, is…Spain. Yup. SPAIN. An O.G. of the wine world, Spanish wines are enjoying a very pronounced resurgence that is blending the lines between the Old and New World styles. But a WHITE Spanish wine? Do tell.
The Good: She Just IS
Albariño (or Alvarinho in Portugal) is the little white grape from the Galician region of Spain. Completely different from a Rosé, Albariño has always been around and IS an actual varietal as opposed to a byproduct of skin/juice contact in the maceration process.
Bright and crisp, minerally and acidic, she leads with her apples, grass, and greens. She has the brightness of a Sauvignon Blanc minus that whole “cat pee” thing (if you’re confused here, watch our First Time With Sauvignon B video). With improvements in quality control and usage of stainless steel fermentation, Albariño had her first boost in visibility about a decade ago. Now, this regionally popular grape is finally starting to gain some serious traction. Although the original thought process was that Albariño should be consumed early, many winemakers are now realizing that the grape CAN have a longevity. This simple shift makes her much more versatile for a multitude of wine personalities and, as we all know, versatile = Ka-CHING.
Speaking of ka-CHING, another quality this little grape has going for her is her price point. “Although Spanish albariño has become trendy, and prices have risen in recent years, some of the wines are still quite inexpensive,” says Laurie Daniel of MercuryNews.com, who recommends the 2012 Condes de Albarei, priced at around $15, or the “widely available Martin Codax,”.
The Better: She No Longer Lives At Home
The New York Times has called this grape ‘The Little Spanish Grape That Could’, adding, “Albariño has become as much a brand name for Spanish whites as Pinot Grigio has for the Italian goods. It’s a testimony to its consistent popularity that people in restaurants, and not just Spanish places, ask for Albariño,”. Outside of Spain, Albariño has found a healthy home in the Central Coast of California, specifically in Edna Valley in the San Luis Obispo region. There, the climate replicates most of what she’s used to in Spain- cool, windy, and with a little mist coming off of the Pacific Ocean. The end result is that her crispness, though a little more fruit forward in these parts, becomes more accessible. Imports? No longer necessary.
The Honorable Mention: Fumé Blanc
While this little grape that could didn’t make the final cut, she’s still too good not to mention…and keep an eye out for. She sounds fancy, but she’s really just a Sauvignon Blanc grape given a new name by California winemaker Robert Mondavi to increase the awareness and popularity of a dry-style Sauvignon Blanc. Like Sasha Fierce to Beyoncé, Fumé Blanc is the split personality of Sauv Blanc. *Grape Tip: while “fume” means “smoky”, there’s nothing smoky about this fruit-forward American wine. And America is the only place you’ll find the name Fumé Blanc. Soooo fancy, America.
So there you have it. Our less-than-scientific but more-than-enthusiastic prediction of what’s gonna be hitting your glass and filling your hearts in seasons to come. Stock up now on both of these yummy grapes and brag to all of your friends when the trend hits and you’re way ahead of the curve.
Agree? Not so much? Let us know why at @thegrapegirls on Twitter or @anywineanytime on Instagram. Need even more Lo & Tee-filled goodness? You can always find us on our website at www.thegrapegirls.com. Tip it and Sip it.
We HEART you,
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