Trends and Trending – Musings on the Year Ahead

Eleni – I’d like to try Westport Winery’s “Grace”.  From their Web site:  “Scoring a 92 and earning Gold Medal status at the World Wine Championships, our aperitif Chardonnay was 7 years in the making. To make Grace is deceptively simple. We take our estate grown eau de vie of chardonnay and blend it with brilliant, fresh pressed chardonnay juice. Then age it in French oak. Give the elements time to evolve and the result is nothing short of heavenly. Aromatics of lemon zest, rich toast, ripe pears lay across sweet, succulent fruit. The flavors and aromas of our sun-drenched season become a blessing for us today. Savor Grace before the meal with most cheeses, pate, and of course, foie gras. 17.5% alcohol by volume. 375ml bottle. $29.99. Grace is here (and no, you don’t deserve it). Only available at the winery or our online store.”  Sounds delicious.

I’m looking forward to something replacing one of my true loves, dare I say it, BACON.  I love bacon but I could live without some of the hype, and especially the artery clogging recipes saturating the online world.

I hope that we continue to see the revival of specialty liqueurs.  I’ve enjoyed drinking St. Germaine in a variety of settings and would love to see a Pousse Cafe?  Just kidding.  But Chartreuse concoctions would make mine a bright New Year.

Glenn – First, with the recent openings of Hawthorne, Saloon, and Backbar, the craft cocktail movement continues. As our appetite for well-made cocktails is quickened, more establishments of this ilk will continue to appear. Hallelujah! Hopefully, the demise of the fruity/girly “martini menu” is imminent; the didactic, torch-bearing attitude of some watering holes gets toned down; and bartenders no longer resemble extras from the set of Deadwood.

Second, local craft brewing continues to – and I’m compelled to write this – barrel along. With the relaxation of the requirements by the Massachusetts ABCC for a “farmer brewery” license, the opportunity for all closet brewmasters opens up. Plus, the current emphasis on the consumption of local products serves to accentuate this trend and results in more good, fresh local brews.

And finally, food trucks become a non-story. They are here, there and everywhere. And with large corporate food chains on the verge of sending out fleets of mobile eateries, their novelty – and foodie hipness cred – become moot. They will become just another dining option.

Katrin – Three thoughts about wine in 2012. I’d love to call them predictions, but they each reflect my own biases and wishes too clearly. First, Torrontés, Argentina’s native grape, will start to steal some of the limelight from Malbec. Argentine wines are hot, but white wines have been slower to catch on.  With the increasing availability of Torrontés on store shelves, it is becoming easier to find a wines from a wide range of producers, at a broad range of prices, from different regions, and in varying styles. Perhaps there will even be a day dedicated to this versatile varietal, like Malbec does!

Second, I’m hoping that light red wines will become more popular. Wine lovers who are tired of big, brawny, high alcohol wines will want lighter, fresher, less manipulated red wines. German Pinot Noir, Schiava from Alto Adige, and Beaujolais Villages and Cru fit the bill perfect. I, for one, definitely plan to drink more of these in 2012.

And finally, I hope that consumers will see the light and embrace wines that are organic, biodynamic, or sustainably farmed. Market research shows that less than 20% of consumers make a purchase decision based on these labels. It’s a shame. More wineries are going green, but are not noting that fact on their labels for fear of turning off potential customers. As the wise Kermit said “it’s not easy being green,” but in 2012, I would like to see that change.

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