Every year at this time I try and look forward and try to determine what drinks will be popular this coming year. Our tastes do change especially as we get older and as we discover new flavours and new styles, different drinks come in and out of fashion.
We all know that gin has been the drink of choice for a few years now and it will be interesting to see if that changes this year. There so many different gins on the market it seems anyone can set up a small distillery. The different botanicals that go in the gin get more adventurous each time and it seems the main way producers get consumers to buy their product is through the label and bottle design. That is true for every drink, but gin producers are designing labels and bottles that seem to stand out from other drink categories.
Twenty or so years ago the same thing was happening with vodka. Different flavours were coming onto the market practically each week and as far as I can remember it was the Swedish brand Absolut which started this trend. They were putting Mars bars and vanilla ice cream in the vodka as well as other weird and wonderful things and this caught on around the country, especially in bars where they were mixing their own. Over the years’ vodka fell out of favour with consumers. Its still a popular drink but not like it used to be and the question is, will gin go the same way?
People were talking a lot about rum last year and there was a steady increase in terms of sales. The popularity of cocktails has enforced this but as a standalone drink I think it will only get more popular in 2020. The top end rums can be drunk like brandy ; simply on the rocks and enjoyed over an evening. Dark rum, in particular are increasing and spiced rum during the warmer months will also continue in popularity.
In terms of wines this is a bit harder to predict. As our thirst for wine knowledge continues to grow it seems that consumers are now being more adventurous in their wine buying. As we learn more about wine, it seems that confidence in buying wine has also risen which in turn is seeing an increase in sales in wines from all over the world.
VIN has always paid attention to wines from the more unusual wine regions and more and more consumers are happy to experiment and look for something different. Are we getting bored with the big branded wines that you can get anywhere?
Different grape varieties go in and out of fashion also. Pinot grigio has had its day and Chardonnay which were we drinking by the bucket twenty years ago is on the up again. The style has changed and the quality from all over the world is fantastic. If you were an ABC person (Anything but Chardonnay) I urge you to try it again. You will be pleasantly surprised. Prosecco sales are down while consumers are looking at Crémant from France more and more and Champagne is also on the up. English fizz will continue to move up and up as the quality just gets better and better.
A trend that will increase in the wine world is vegan/organic/vegetarian wines. Natural wines are receiving great reviews, and this will fuel our curiosity to trying them. Natural wines are basically wines that are made with minimum human intervention. It’s like going back in time, how wines were made a few hundred years ago. More and more producers are turning to organic wine production as well as vegetarian wines. Most wines are now suitable for vegetarians, its to do with the fining agents used. In the old days fish oils and egg whites were used to clarify the wines while now most producers use bentonite which is a clay. Be warned though, if it’s the Sulphites in wines you don’t like, most organic wines will still have them!
Here are a couple of wines to look out for this year.
Pais Salvaje Natural Wine Red/White £17.99 Maule Valley Chile – made from the Pais grapes which grow wild around the land. The wine is made in amphoras (clay vases) using native wild yeast and is unfiltered.
Cuvee Saint Julien Crémant de Bordeaux £24.49 – Yeasty and soft it has a smooth character with balanced rounded acidity. A newish wine for me it has proved popular since its introduction.