Glasses of white, orange, or rose wine were clinking together in the hands of friends gathered around a table adorned with gourmet snacks of cheese, grapes, and bread. The atmosphere was filled with celebration, as they indulged in the joy of wine tasting and partying. As the evening progressed, the group engaged in lively discussions about their favorite categories and regions of wine to enjoy during the upcoming fall season.
Seeking expert opinions, I reached out to sommeliers to gather their insights. Their recommendations included vibrant Pet-Nats, local bottles from Vermont and New York, and excellent Cabernet Sauvignons. However, amidst these suggestions, there was an interesting revelation that seemed to resonate with all the sommeliers I spoke with – the concept that wine colors don’t need to conform to traditional conventions.
Traditionally, rose wines were associated with light and refreshing meals, while white wines were often paired with fish. However, the sommeliers encouraged a departure from these norms. They suggested enjoying rose with dinner and pairing white wines with dishes that are not typically associated with fish. Additionally, they recommended chilling heavier red wines, including Cabernet, and exploring the world of elegant orange wines to complement more upscale meals.
Lee Blaustone from Culaccino in Franklin, Tennessee expressed his thoughts on the evolving wine market. While acknowledging the popularity of orange and pet nat wines, he questioned the need for an extensive selection of these options, especially considering the increasing competition within a relatively small market. Instead, he saw an opportunity for up-and-coming regions like Umbria, Veneto, Sicily, Sardinia, and Rioja to offer varietals that provide a similar experience at a more affordable price point.
Scott Stroemer from Michelin-starred Galit highlighted the growing allure of orange wines, also known as skin-contact wines. He noted a shift towards cleaner and more elegant options, with a focus on secondary malolactic fermentation rather than funky astringent tannins. These wines have gained a loyal following due to their magical food pairings that were once deemed impossible.
Jeremy Kibalo, Wine Director and Sommelier at Herb & Wood, observed a decline in red wine consumption, particularly among younger generations. He attributed this change to evolving preferences for lower alcohol content and texture in wines. Instead of the jammy Cabernets that were once popular, people now seek out hidden gems like Savoie from France. This shift is further fueled by a shift towards consuming less red meat and embracing local seafood and vegetables in fine dining establishments.
Kibalo also highlighted the changing perception of white wine. In the past, it carried a stigma that made it less appealing. However, as the dining scene evolves, people are becoming more willing to appreciate how the texture of a wine can enhance their meal. Full-bodied white wines, such as Chenin Blanc, are gaining popularity and finding their place on wine lists. Cost is also a factor, as red wines tend to be more expensive. As younger demographics enter the wine scene, accessibility and value become increasingly important.
Sarah Trubnick at The Barrel Room added to this observation, noting a notable increase in white wine sales over reds. Whether this shift is due to warmer weather or changing palates is still uncertain. However, it is clear that there is a growing preference for white wines.
Brooks Hoover, production manager at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards in Charlottesville, connected the popularity of white wines to changing temperatures. As the fall season typically signals a shift towards red wines, the unseasonable heat this year has led customers to continue gravitating towards white wines instead. Furthermore, he observed a particular surge in the popularity of Sauvignon Blanc, which has outpaced the sales of other white wines.
Bryce Faucheaux from Justine NOLA summed up the wine culture in New Orleans, stating that there is only one season – rosé season. Every year, rosé reigns supreme as the wine of choice. However, this year brought about a slight shift in preferences. While rosé remained popular, the spotlight also fell on other varieties. Faucheaux specifically highlighted the French wines he works with, suggesting that there is a growing interest in exploring different options.
In conclusion, the world of wine is evolving, and sommeliers are embracing new perspectives on color pairings and expanding their recommendations beyond traditional norms. The rise of orange wines, increasing popularity of white wines, declining preference for red wines among younger demographics, and the constant allure of rosé all contribute to the dynamic landscape of wine consumption. As temperatures change and palates evolve, wine enthusiasts are exploring a wide range of options to suit their tastes and enhance their dining experiences.
The Rise of Chilled Reds: A Refreshing Twist on Wine
As the summer heat sets in, many wine enthusiasts are opting for a refreshing twist on their favorite beverage – chilled red wine. While traditionally associated with cozy winter nights and hearty meals, red wine has found a new audience in the warmer months.
Matt Montrose, CEO of OMvino, a hospitality-driven marketing agency, has noticed this growing trend among his guests. “This year I really started noticing guests taking an interest in chilled reds,” he says. “Even those guests I know to be heavy red drinkers have switched to lighter styles and lower temperatures. It opens them up for further possibilities with food pairings.”
The shift in preference towards chilled reds has sparked excitement among both consumers and industry professionals alike. Caden Worely, Bar Manager at Don Angie, has seen a significant increase in sales of chilled reds. “Chilled reds are definitely having their moment right now! Mostly, it’s wine you’d put in the natural category — their fresh, fruit-forward nature lends well to a chill.”
What makes chilled reds so appealing? One factor could be the versatility they offer when it comes to pairing with food. Montrose mentions wines like Gamay, Frappato, and Trousseau as great options when chilled. However, he has also observed guests asking for Grenache, Pinot Noir, and even Syrah to be cooled down more than usual. This trend not only allows wine enthusiasts to explore new flavors but also broadens the possibilities for pairing wine with various cuisines.
For some wine establishments, chilled reds have become a customer favorite. Patrick Panella, who oversees Bin 152, Chez Nous, and Malagón, has witnessed a shift in his clientele’s preferences. “This summer, people are coming in and requesting chilled reds specifically. In general, our clientele has been more adventurous and more inclined to take suggestions from our staff to try some of these wines that were previously outside of their comfort zones.”
The rise of chilled reds signifies a change in the way we perceive and enjoy red wine. It breaks with tradition and challenges the notion that reds should only be enjoyed at room temperature. This newfound appreciation for chilled reds not only provides a refreshing alternative for wine lovers during the summer but also encourages experimentation and exploration within the world of wine.
So, whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or a curious beginner, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone this summer and give chilled reds a try. You might just discover a whole new world of flavors and experiences that will enhance your enjoyment of this beloved beverage. Cheers to the rise of chilled reds!