Each year, Wine Spectator releases its highly anticipated Wine Lover's Guide to share their favorite wines from the year before — and what to look for in the year ahead. And this year's Wine Lover's Guide, with tips and a buying guide from Wine Spectator's editors, is no different; it includes a look at the rising wine regions in Oregon and the Finger Lakes, "hyperaged" whiskies, a 2012 vintage report, and more.
We asked the executive editor of Wine Spectator, Tom Matthews, in an email more about the wine guide, what he and his team are excited about for 2013, and what we should be looking for.
The Daily Meal: What trend for wine and spirits in 2013 most surprised you when you and your team at Wine Spectator were researching the 2013 Wine Lover’s Guide? What did you expect to see that you did not?
Tom Matthews: As we compiled our editors’ picks, I was surprised and impressed by the diversity of the wines our editors recommended. Grenache from California. Riesling from Australia. Godello from Spain. Assyrtiko from Greece. While classics such as Napa Valley cabernet and vintage champagne were also praised, it’s clear that wine lovers can find quality and value all around the world today.
TDM: Are you at all surprised that the U.S. is expected to surpass France as the world’s biggest wine market? What about the rise of China’s wine?
TM: France has a population of 65 million, and per capita wine consumption has been declining for most of a generation. The U.S. has a population of 312 million, and per capita wine consumption has increased every year for the past decade. Sooner or later, the trend lines had to cross, and it looks like that will happen next year. Americans still don’t drink that much wine as individuals, but it’s clear that wine has become an integral part of our lifestyle.
China is really not a factor at this point, except for the very high end of the trophy wine market. We’ll have to watch closely to see if wine consumption there is more a fad than a true cultural movement.
TDM: After your features on the Finger Lakes wine region and Oregon’s wine region, are there any other U.S. wine regions that you are excited about for 2013?
TM: Wine Spectator continues to be enthusiastic about the developing potential of California’s Central Coast. Specifically, the pinot noirs and chardonnays around Santa Barbara, and the syrahs and other Rhone varieties from the Paso Robles area. Elsewhere, we are seeing promising results from Virginia, Texas, New Mexico, and Idaho.
TDM: The whiskey and Scotch feature definitely showcases the trending spirit of 2013. Are there any other spirits readers should be trying in 2013?
TM: Our readers tend to gravitate toward the brown spirits, perhaps because their traditions of aging in oak gives them some of the character and complexity of fine wines. Bourbon is developing in exciting ways, and cognac and armagnac are reliable standbys. One exception is gin, which is showing increasing complexity and diversity.
TDM: What are you most excited to drink in 2013? And are there any wine and spirits trends of 2012 you hope to see fade away?
TM: I am very open-minded when it comes to wine, and enjoy sampling widely and learning new grapes and regions. I am exploring Greek whites, for example, and red wines from Southern Italy as good bets for food-friendly, reasonably-priced discoveries.
As for "fading away"? Not really. You never know where quality might strike. Remember when Portuguese rosés like Lancers and Mateus were all the rage, and then fell completely out of fashion? Well, rosé is very trendy now and there are great examples from everywhere — including Portugal. So I never count any wines out.
You can look for the Wine Spectator's 2013 Wine Lover's Guide on newsstands today.