After some exhaustive research in the latter part of 2018, I began to wonder what new trends we could expect from wines in 2019. For me it has been the summer of Pinot Gris and Riesling but for many friends Rose’ has been their favourite libation. Many others like nothing more than an ice cold Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc on a Summer’s day. I headed to Flame Hill Winery in Montville to taste some Pinot Gris, Verdelho and Chardonnay. They were all different, yet all winners for me on a sunny Queensland day. I decided to ask an expert and Pony Dining Restaurant Manager, Callum McCrorie, was only to happy to share his top wine trends for 2019.
- Orange is the New White!– Now before you get the wrong idea, this will not taste like an Aperol Spritz. This refers to the method whereby white wine grapes are fermented with their skins on before pressing – a practice that mirrors the way red wines are made. The method dates back thousands of years but has been revitalised in recent times with most restaurants offering a selection of Orange or Amber wines. Puts a new twist on the saying, ‘ Amber fluid ‘. Callum says, ‘ Amber wines develop a lot more texture, a lot more mouth fill and in the last 12 months this trend has gone through the roof. ‘Chewy’ is the way it is described on most wine lists.
- Rose– ‘Yes, I know it has been having a moment for a few years now but Callum says it is worth delving into its history. Rose’ has a rather chequered past. It could well be the oldest known type of wine – as it is the most straightforward to make. Whilst Ancient Greeks and Romans were big fans, the path of rose’ took a dramatic turn after World War II. At the time a couple of really sweet and inexpensive rose’ wines were released and successfully marketed to women and the younger generations. While they sold very well, it planted the idea that all rose’ was cheap, syrupy and poorly made. This reputation stuck and for years rose’ was shunned, until the age of Instagram. According to some wine experts the fact that rose’ is just so pretty and photogenic has led to its popularity, particularly among Millenials. Mc Crorie says, ‘ As well as it’s attractive appearance , Rose’ is generally more affordable and approachable. It’s a great way to introduce people to wine. It covers so many bases-it can be sweet, dry, powerful or subtle. Plus you won’t have people turn up their noses at you if you throw a couple of ice cubes in the glass. ‘Instagram accounts like Yes Way Rose’ and celebrity Rose’ vintages from the likes of Drew Barrymore, John Legend and icon Jon Bon Jovi indicate that rose’ is going to continue its global domination in 2019!
- Coravin– Poured and Coravin Wine Lists – ‘ Any restaurant with a wine list worth pouring will be using a Coravin in 2019, ‘ explains McCrorie. So what is it? Basically it’s a system developed by an American surgical supplier who really enjoyed his wine and wanted a way to be able to open a bottle and have a glass without having to drink the whole thing in one sitting. He developed an injection system that works using inert gas, Argon, and displacement. You stab a needle into the bottle and pump in the argon and displacement causes the wine to be pumped out. The gas creates a seal on top of the wine which stops it from oxidising and keeps the bottle fresh for up to 40 days. This system has revolutionised the wine industry as it means restaurants can sell wines by the glass that were previously only available by the bottle.’ Win – win for the wine lover and the restaurant.
- Biodynamic Winemaking -According to McCrorie winemakers are increasingly using biodynamic farming methods. He explains that , ‘It’s a very old school holistic method which relies on things like the lunar cycle, crushed quartz herbs, composting and the use of other natural methods rather than using chemicals and pesticides.’ It’s not just boutique wineries, some of the larger vineyards are taking on some biodynamic practices without embracing the system completely. Callum says, ‘ It puts the focus more on natural wine making which is essentially just growing grapes, picking grapes, pressing juice and letting it go- the truest expression of wine making.’This is in stark contrast to the rigid rules of the past and as this form of wine production becomes more common, it stands to reason that the cost will be less inhibitive, making it more accessible to consumers.
- Italian Wines – With more than one million vineyards under cultivation in Italy, a country 26 times smaller than Australia, it’s no wonder we associate the Boot with great wines. But forget your usual Sangiovese, Chianti or Lambrusco. McCrorie says, ‘People are starting to look for more interesting grape varieties. Regions from the old world and Italian varietals are becoming more popular, especially the white varietals- Fiano from the Campania region of Southern Italy and Garganega from the Veneto region of North East Italy. If red wine is more your thing, the Nero D’Avola variety is gaining well – deserved recognition in Australia after long being acknowledged as the most important and widely planted red wine grape variety in Sicily.’ Australian growers are experimenting with many of these different grapes, so expect to see more of these Italian drops in 2019! I’ll drink to that.
Thanks to Callum McCrorie’s expertise I now know what to look out for as I browse the wine lists in some of our best restaurants in 2019. I’m keen to try the Orange wines, Bio- dynamic wines and as I probably won’t head to Italy this year I’ll be very keen to try some new varieties of Italian wines. Berro a quello!