The new year is the ideal time to open a bottle and reflect on the past year while looking ahead to what’s coming around the bend. Raise a glass to all the great wine you’ve had a chance to share with friends and family over the past year.
The exciting thing about wine, whether you’re a dedicated collector or you simply like to try new things, is that there is always more to explore and discover: more grapes and blends, up and coming regions, new winemakers and techniques. Welcome, 2020! Cheers!
2019 might have been the year of the weird wine. Sometimes it seemed vineyards were trying to one-up each other! Perhaps the most unusual wine that most people tried in 2019 was orange wine. While orange wine might sound suspiciously like the mimosa you’re likely to be served with brunch, it’s something much different. Orange wine is minimally processed white wine that’s left to age with the seeds and skins of the grapes. Due to the oxidation this process allows for, orange wine is darker in color than your typical white and has a bolder, nuttier taste to go with its more intense color.
If you didn’t try an orange wine in 2019, don’t worry! It’s never too late to discover a new wine. Experts suggest you take a seat because it probably doesn’t taste like you think it will. Orange wine is fun to try because it’s different and unique, but people are also excited by the fact that it’s minimally processed and requires no additives. People are more and more interested in understanding how their food and drinks are made and manufactured.
Chances are good that you’re about to hear a lot about piquette. This wine is made from adding water to a second pressing of the pomace—the seeds, skins, and pulp that remains after the grapes are pressed once—and allowing the remaining sugars to ferment. Originally, piquette was likely made for vineyard workers and their families after the first pressing. All winemaking regions have their version of and name for piquette. The word itself is French and likely refers to the French word for the “prickle” of the fizziness.
Piquette or some version of second-pressed wine has always been popular with people who do the work of making wine. A few American makers have begun to commercially manufacture piquette recently, and it seems ideally suited for ringing in 2020. Piquette is a lower-alcohol wine, usually 4 to 9 percent ABV, which means that wine drinkers might finally have something they can sip on all day while everyone else is drinking beer. It also has a refreshing fizz to it. A little effervescence can make even a causal bottle seem a little special.
The trend in general for wines seems to be for something unfussy. Collectors still love to visit vineyards and scour auctions for rare bottles, but everyone, even collectors, seems to agree that 2020 might be the year we decide to drink wine that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Collect and store the beautiful bottle you buy in France by all means—you will thank yourself later when you have that lovely wine to celebrate a special occasion. This year though, feel free to drink wine that you wouldn’t be afraid to take to the beach. Serve something light and low in alcohol, like piquette or a very approachable Vinho Verde on your back patio or at a picnic. These are wines that you can serve at occasions where you would have previously served beer. They have a light and refreshing taste, some even drinking like a sour beer, and you can have a few without finding out you’ve had too many due to the lower alcohol content.
Accessible wine worth drinking has even become available in cans over the last few years. With attractive art house labeling and so many varieties and winemakers to try, wine in cans just might be the height of unfussy.
Whether you’re just looking for a nice bottle or even a can of wine to bring to a picnic, or you’re a serious collector who enjoys trying the next big thing, make sure to take care of your wine. Any bottles you intend to keep long term need to be stored properly.
Don’t forget, wine is for everyone to enjoy. If you would like to add some wine storage to your basement or build a custom tasting room so you can continue to enjoy wine with friends once the patio gets too cold, Harkraft can help you make decisions. Contact us today to get started.