Wine Trends for 2013

Want to discover new wines and stay ahead of the latest trends? Here’s what the Amateur Gastronomer predicts will be big in 2013:

Wines from the Languedoc

The wine region to watch in 2013 is the Languedoc. This region in southern France is producing exceptional wine at great values.

The Languedoc is located along the Mediterranean sea, between the Spanish border and Provence. South of Bordeaux and west of the Rhône, the Languedoc offers wines made with grapes found in both regions (including Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot). The Languedoc’s aromatic white wines are food-friendly and crowd pleasing, and include Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne and Picpoul. Ideal growing conditions and less name recognition contribute to make Languedoc wines wallet-friendly.

Vegan Wines

With grapes as the main ingredient, you would think wine would be vegan, right? Not necessarily. The culprits: egg whites and gelatin. These are used in fining, a technique to clarify wine. The fining agents attract and bind with unwanted solids; once they are removed the wine is clear, bright and without sediment.

Vegan wines follow in the footsteps of organic, biodynamic and sustainable wines, with consumers wanting to know in greater detail where and how their wines are produced. Look for vegan wines to have a bigger presence at wine shops and restaurants in 2013.

Wines from the Other 47

Venture outside California, Oregon and Washington and you’ll find that there are many standout wines produced beyond the West Coast. These whites, reds, sparkling and sweet wines are winning awards and gaining fans across the country. In particular, New York, Virginia, Ohio and Texas are producing noteworthy wines. Make one of your New Year’s resolutions to try a wine from another state.

White Wines Low in Alcohol

Bigger is not always better – and such is the case when it comes to more alcohol in wine. Over the past few years white wines have been creeping above 13% alcohol, which can sometimes overwhelm the delicate flavors.

In 2013 look for white wines that are full in flavor, not in alcohol, to be popular. These include Riesling and Portugal’s Vinho Verde, which have alcohol content ranging from 8 to 11 percent. These white wines are especially good as the weather warms up, as they are refreshing and easy to sip on a hot day.

Tannat, Tamed

At the other end of the wine spectrum is Tannat, a red wine grape that produces robust, full-bodied wines with big tannins and high alcohol content. Tannat originated in southwest France and has found a home in Uruguay, where it is considered the national grape. Tannat is grown in a number of US states, and can be used alone or in blends.

Tannat has a wild reputation but in 2013 look for Tannat to be tamed. Winemakers have been adjusting the harvest time as well as fermentation and aging techniques to coax out the softer, more elegant side of Tannat. If you’re a fan of red wine and haven’t yet tasted Tannat, make 2013 the year to do so.

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