The Financial Times is not publishing anything by either Nick or me today but that will not stop us all at JancisRobinson.com from wishing you the happiest of New Year celebrations and sending you very best wishes for 2017.
This year has certainly served up its fair share of surprises, has it not? And I feel that our little puddle of life, the world of wine, has been equally unpredictable.
In my 41 years writing about wine I have never felt wine production and consumption to be in so much flux. Until relatively recently, wine producers all seemed to be going in roughly the same direction: copying French classics, wherever they were in the world, often with lashings of oak and alcohol. But the communication and social-media revolution has knocked the old critical behemoths off their perches (including me perhaps – see What future for expertise?) and there is room for so many more variations on the theme of fermented grape juice.
Today in virtually all corners of the wine world there are new movements and aspirations. A younger generation has new gods and ambitions. Oak and alcohol have been replaced by amphorae and acidity. Cabernet by Cinsault or Ciliegiolo. Even the old guard among producers profess themselves guided by new lights, and some of them are finding it hard to resist having a go at some of the (often ultra-traditional) techniques espoused by the bright young things. If you are really bored over the New Year holidays, you could listen to me making these points at more length in this recent interview by Geoff Kruth MS of the Guild of Sommeliers.
There is no single archetype; producers are gently experimenting with doing their own thing while consumers have more power than they have ever known – even if we British ones will have our own challenges in 2017 thanks to our battered pound.
But at JancisRobinson.com we’re not going to let that deter us from serving up an ever-improving diet of wine recommendations in 2017, starting off with a week-long report on Australia and then a seriously detailed look at the often-magnificent 2015 vintage in Burgundy – all the while continuing Tam’s great book reviews and many inspiring entries in our wine writing competition.
We hope to serve you even better in 2017. Please don’t hesitate to suggest how we could improve.
Happy New Year.