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2018 Wine Trends to Watch (and Try!)

2018 Wine Trend Watch: Wines to try in the New Year

What is on the horizon for 2018 wine trends? Let’s take a look at which trends will open up, breath, and come to maturity in the upcoming year

Red Blends Reach New Heights

The red blend market is wide open. Often credited to an emphasis on catering to millennials, the popularity of red blends continues to build beyond that golden calf demographic. 2016 saw 10% growth in red blend sales from 2015. And that wine trend doesn’t seem to be slowing, only picking up steam. One of the reasons this category is set up for continued growth is how open and freewheeling a category it is. Red blends offer a perfect palette for wine makers to mix grapes, blending, and mimic other styles.

Our Pick:

Branham Jazz Red Blend

2014 Branham Jazz Red Blend

Jazz! Our 2014 quartet continues to bring down the house! Presenting our group from the Napa Valley: zinfandel (40%), petite sirah (20%), syrah (20%), and cabernet sauvignon (20%). Sitting in for a short solo is the accomplished “Branham Rockpile fruit.” Encore after encore, this proprietary blend never fails to satisfy the eye and palate. Refined melodies of black-plum, dark berries and coffee notes are enhanced by a purposeful symmetry of balanced tannins and acidity. Pair with music!

 

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Carménère is Up and Coming

Carménère has taken on a new life in Chile. Originally grown in Bordeaux, this grape was traditionally used as blending grape in red wines. The pleasures of South American wines were brought to U.S. drinkers through Argentinian Malbec. And now South American wines are growing in quality, yield, and consumption. Carménère has also grown to become more appreciated as its own distinct varietal. Spicy and rich, it’s becoming more popular on restaurant wine lists and in wine retail.

Our Pick:

De Martino Carmenere

2014 De Martino Carmenere

Extraordinary intensity, dark brooding fruit balanced elegant round tannins and a fresh mineralogy on the finish. Black licorice and earthy notes throughout. Delicious. 

 

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Cabernet Franc Finds a New Home

A grape regularly used in Bordeaux reds, Cab Franc also has legions of fans that favor Loire Valley wines from the north center of France. But Cabernet Franc is taking root in another prominent wine region, California. And California wine makers have put their own spin on Cab Franc, with wines that boast flavors of big, ripe fruit. Cab Franc is primed to grow in popularity, particularly as wine drinkers honor California and the wine regions that were devastated by wild fires.

Our Pick:

Wandering Star Cabernet Franc

 

2014 Wandering Star Cabernet Franc

This smooth, elegant yet powerful new release from Cameron Woodbridge is 100% Cabernet Franc fruit from Coombsville. Lithe and powerful structure with delicate hints of violets, smoke and vanilla on the finish. A delicious new wine made in tiny quantities

 

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Washington Wines are Riding High

Industry insiders have long known that Washington wines offer great mileage for the dollar, but now the public is catching on too. “The focus with our Washington wines has always been a commitment to quality,” says Brett Scallan, senior vice president of marketing for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, whose stable of Washington labels also includes 14 Hands and Columbia Crest. Scallan emphasizes the point by adding, “Quality is the cornerstone of our approach that has fueled both our own growth and the growth of Washington as a whole.” Washington is putting out solid wines across the board. With more wines coming out at higher price points and prominent brands like Charles Smith racking up great scores, our customers have more confidence in the region than ever.”

Our Pick:

Gramercy Cabernet

 

2014 Gramercy Cellars Cabernet

The inky colored 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon offers classic Cabernet notes of black currants, lead pencil shavings, tobacco leaf and damp earth. Beautifully layered on the palate, with full-bodied richness, solid mid-palate depth and a touch of graphite on the finish, this is a sensational Washington state Cabernet Sauvignon that will have 20-25 years of longevity.

 

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