The Grapevine

What They’re Reading – Wine Spectator, October 31, 2013

September 26th, 2013

The October 31, 2013 issue of Wine Spectator is here. It’s the collector’s issue. [level-members]

I guess there was something up with our mail here at Grapeseed World Headquarters, or with the USPS, because we just got the previous WS issue last week and now this one arrives right on its heels.

If you’re one to drool over interesting architecture and design, you’ll have plenty too keep the salivary glands working in this issue, where the cover story focuses on cellars and collecting. It’s not just about the design of the enclosures, though, but of what they hold. Collections -and serious collectors – aren’t just focused on Bordeaux and Burgundy anymore. (And haven’t been for some time.)

First, the front of the book. The WS website hosted a series of polls recently. Two results they’ve reported: The trend most likely to grow in the US is red blends increasing prominence at the expense of single-varietal bottlings, and the most important aspect of a wine list being an “interesting, diverse” selection. I think it’s safe to assume that the same trends would hold true at the retail level. The message: go broad. Even if you specialize in a particular region, go as broad as you can within that region. (Or whatever specialty you’ve embraced.)

We can also all rejoice at the news that wine has equaled beer as the most-frequently consumed alcoholic beverage for US consumers. The trend, according to Gallup who conducted the study, is strongest among younger consumers and minorities, two groups not typically associated with wine.

Of particular interest to the younger wine fans are bubbly and rosés. They’re also more likely to drink imports. And they’re more likely to be willing to trying wines from up-and-coming regions here, like Texas, Virginia, and Michigan.

Heritage pork is gaining mindshare, with a growing number of producers selling through to consumers and restauranteurs alike.

Matt Kramer’s column, about “The New Wine Underground” is of interest because of its discussion of Chamber Street Wines, a New York retailer. They specialize in what might be called in the music biz “independent” wines. (Kramer likens these wines to 1950s era jazz, which contrasted sharply with the pop music of the time.)

Small producers, strong points of view, uncommon or unknown or unheralded varietals. These are the things that set retailers like Chamber Street apart. (Kramer cites a handful of others, as well.) Sounds like good advice to us …

Big Italian wines are up next, where “recent vintages deliver big reds …” from Tuscany. Most recent vintages of Bolgheri and Maremma, Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti and Chianti Classico are rated 90 or better by WS. Top values are available in the $20 range and there are nearly 20 with 90+ scores, including Casetllo di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2009, Castiglioni del Bosco Rosso di Montalcino 2011, Le Corti Chianti Classico 2009, Renzo Masi Chianti Riserva 2009, and Rocca di Castagnoli Chianti Classico 2009.