Wines of the Future? Grapes that could be contenders

Slide show:

A native Armenian red and a white variety from the Peloponnese could be the “next big things” in wine according to grape geneticist and Wine Grapes co-author José Vouillamoz.

Speaking during May’s MW Symposium in Florence, Vouillamoz pointed out that throughout history certain grapes have gone “from oblivion to flagship”, before revealing a selection of varieties that he believed could become famous in the future.

Initially, however, by way of example, he said that the Tribidrag grape had evolved from a little-known native grape of Croatia to become the Primitivo of Puglia as well as the Zinfandel of California.

If this photo had been taken in the Southern USA [anywhere from Wilmington NC clear across to Los Angeles CA], then the yellowish orangeish brownish discoloration on that “Maturana Blanca” leaf would be Pierce’s disease:

Speaking of which, if the UC-Davis/USDA program for breeding vinifera with Pierce-resistant native American strains ever proves fruitful, then watch out.

Harumph…it reads like an article from some pie-in-the-sky/head-in-the-clouds scientist in academe, rather than an actual winemaker. Which it is.

Having an Areni out there to sell would drive any marketing type to drink. …but probably Cabernet rather than an Areni.

But his one point is correct…we have no idea whatsoever what most of those grapes could do in Calif, or Chile, or China, or NewZealand. And, alas,
we’ll probably never find out. Though we do know that Lagrein can make awfully good wine in Calif.
Tom

Hey, our most popular wine last month was an organic frizzante Ortrugo, who can say what will be?

Well, Roberto…I hope you didn’t buy a pallet of the stuff. Sound like something only a Mother would love…or a TomHill.
Tom

No, it’s become the go to for everything from picnics to sushi to just sipping with friends for a wide demographic, basically anyone who enjoys either Prosecco or Vinho Verde. I may have to find a couple more so we can start a section.

Yup…that would be our WineExpo, Roberto. Happy hunting!!
Who is the importer for this wine??
Tom

But his one point is correct…we have no idea whatsoever what most of those grapes could do in Calif, or Chile, or China, or NewZealand.

Because we don’t care!! [dance-clap.gif]

We’re happy with what we have. We know that Cabernet Sauvignon is the best grape and if we’re independent thinkers, we know that it’s Pinot Noir. WTF do we want with anything else? We’re happy. [dance-clap.gif] [dance-clap.gif]

That certainly makes absolute sense.
There were probably a lot of folks dockside grousing about why the Queen was spending all those $$'s when ChristopherColumbus
cast off & headed West. “We’re happy w/ Europe. WTF do we want with anything else??”

Fortunately, there are a lot (well…a few) of winemakers in Calif (and elsewhere) who can make perfectly fine Pinot, but are challenged and stretched
to see what they can do w/ Teroldego or Trousseau or Fiano or GreenHungarian. Power to 'em, I say.
Tom

That’s true Tom but every time you talk about a Teroldego or Nebbiolo from California, you’re more likely than not to hear that it’s “true” expression is only in north Italy. Even Pinot Noir, which is popular, gets compared to Burgundy. If it’s sweet and ripe, it’s not “Burgundian”. If it’s “Burgundian”, it’s not the real thing.

I’ve had some surprisingly good Sangiovese and Aglianico from California recently, and because I like that kind of stuff, I was happy to see them done. But they were considerably more costly than something of comparable quality from Italy and neither is likely to replace Cab any time soon. It’s probably fair to say that Napa Valley can produce very good wine from many grapes. There’s good Zin from there and good Syrah and I’m sure many other possibilities, but economically, if I owned land there, I’d plant Cab. As you know, lots of grapes that were once found in California made their way into jug wines. Now that Americans buy by variety, those grapes aren’t really viable economically. Green Hungarian being a case in point.

I’m sure you realize that I was being facetious earlier. More seriously, I might buy some of the wines made from those grapes, and you might, but that’s not much of a market!

But they were considerably more costly than something of comparable quality from Italy<<<<<

Bingo!

But Bob, in a way that’s the tragedy. Even after paying importing fees, customs duties, taxes, etc., you can still get a pretty decent Chianti for $20. And Aglianico for even less.

I really want to support the guys in the US who are trying to expand the US palate beyond Cab and Pinot Noir, but why would I pay $35 for a Sangiovese when I can get a really nice one, say Felsina, for $20? Italy has crazy good prices for really nice wines to have with your dinner. Ditto France and Spain.

What is it about the US that prohibits us from making those wines? Chateau St Michelle is one of the few producers putting out zillions of bottles of better than passable quality. So they produce Pinot Gris and Gwertz, but those aren’t particularly unusual and I bet those are supported by the Merlots and Cabs.

ESJ does a Gamay. Ironically, instead of that being a nice weekday wine that other people can do, it makes him so unique that he’s practically a cult producer! I totally support Steve and the wines he makes and I have for many years. I’ve even aged a few and they’re wonderful, but Joe Average wants a “Merlot” or a “Pinot Noir”. So the Charbono that ESJ made in the 90s is no longer with us.

Even more ironically, Pax is making Blaufrankish. That’s something that they’re actually doing pretty well in Michigan of all places, and something that they should look at more closely in other cool-weather places. But partly because there’s so little demand for it, you can even get Austrian versions at relatively good prices. Hungarian versions aren’t imported for the most part, but they do it even better.

Sadly, we can probably count the people on our two hands who’d be interested.

A real shame actually.

Absolutely, Bob…it makes no sense to buy a Ridge Geyserville @ $35 when you can buy a Caleo Primitivo for $8.
So I’m bailing off the Carlisle & Bedrock lists right now.
Tom

The answer may be among the most complex of all answers in the wine world, but I have a strong suspicion that cultural bent has a lot to do with that answer, including the way we view wine as a society, the way we treat wine as a multi-governmental revenue stream, and the way we place value on land and celebrity.