Wine trends fluctuate pretty often, with new favorites appearing as if over night while old favorites will suddenly be deemed unpopular—only to have the roles reversed soon after. Sometimes a movie will change minds (like how Sideways suddenly made it cool to hate merlot and love pinot noir back in 2004) and other times it will be a few excellent vineyards that begin to blow everyone's taste buds away. But with wine, it's always a swinging pendulum and you should really only drink what you enjoy. That said, it's fun to keep up to date on trends just to see what else is out there, so here are some three of the hottest trends emerging in wine this year.
As a good go-to red, Malbec wine has certainly risen through the ranks over the past few years. The full-bodied red got its start in France and is known for having plump fruit flavors with a smoky finish. It never really gained much popularity while growing in France since the vine didn't really like the region and was known to rot, proving to be a risky investment for winemakers. According to VinePair, Its recent uprising is mostly thanks to some Argentine winemakers who took some cuttings home from France and plated them in Mendoza, where the Malbec thrived in the high altitude and hot climate. Argentina now leads with over 75 percent of Malbec acres in the world.
Wines from Spain have seen an uprising lately, with the northern part of the country having some fantastic porous soil that allows vine roots to dig even deeper to grow heartier grapes. Plus, Spain is so large that the area sees several different climates, even tropical, getting a lot of different varieties. Part of the boom is apparently thanks to the Millennial generation in the United States, says Fox News. With people always wanting to impress their friends with something no one knows about yet, Spanish wine has been the preferred choice for many, helping to make the region one of the biggest producers of wine in the world last year. "Around 30 years ago, Spanish wine was considered cheap. That idea no longer exists, but rather that at whatever price, it offers more quality that its competitor from Italy, France or California," says Katrin Naelapaa, director of Wines from Spain, a division of the Spanish Trade Commission.
Natalie Sanz, the sommelier at New York City's Tio Pepe, told Business Insider that since the Spanish wine trend is still beginning, there's a good chance consumers can find some really great vintages without too much trouble. So what should you order? Sanz recommends that beginners try a "verdejo from Rueda or a mencía from Galicia." Or if you're a little more adventurous, you can go with an "alta expresión from Rioja or a Priorat wine, which is a powerful red."
According to Vinus, Tasmania is one of the hot regions to keep your eye on. Around 36 wineries in Tasmania score five or more stars at the 2015 Wine Companion Awards, which is pretty impressive for the small Australian state that only accounts for .5 percent of the country's overall wine production (half of which the island apparently keeps). The area is known for its Chardonnay, sparkling wine, and Pinot Noir (though it's also building its Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Sauvignon catalogue), and can attribute its success to the mild summer climate and long ripening period. If you're in the area, try Derwent Estate for Chardonnay and Domaine A Stoney Vineyard for Pinot Noir and Fume Blanc.