Top Five Wine Trends of 2020
1. 2019s from Burgundy.
Rumors have been simmering for a few months now, even though very few people have actually tasted the wines because of travel restrictions during COVID.
But we now have several reliable reports giving a very firm "Buy" recommendation on 2019 Burgudy – most conspicuously from the Burghound, who suggests that these are the greatest Burgundies since the 2010s, and that “it would be a significant mistake to pass on them.” Perhaps best of all, he highlights as top villages the often over-looked Nuits-Saints-George and lowly Marsannay! In other words, unlike 2010 or 2005 before it, the most compelling 2019s might be wines you can actually purchase and afford. Watch out for our offers, because with press like this, the 2019s will come and go fast!
Sign up for our Newsletter so you won't miss this once-a-decade vintage.
2. “Edgy” Regions: Hungary, Greece, & Sicily.
At Flatiron we are devoted wine adventurers, always looking for new corners of the wine world to explore and bring to light. Some of the regions we come across remain mere curiosities – worth trying, for the adventure, but not really a whole world of wine that will make you completely re-think your weeknight wines.
But in the last few years, we’ve seen other regions move from curio to consistent favorite. Hungary, Greece and Sicily, especially, have so much to offer that they have moved beyond the status of curiosity and now really belong in the pantheon of great wine regions that deserve a lot of attention. We expect even more new wines to reach the U.S. in 2021 and this is the year to start taking advantage.
3. Loire Valley Reds & 2019 Sancerre.
This is now around the fifth year in a row that I’ve made a list like this and it has included wines from the Loire Valley, for a few very good reasons. First, after a funky period of uneven vintages, the Loire Valley has had nothing but winners since about 2014. Second, prices have remained stubbornly low! Sure, Clos Rougeard created a bubble of excitement, but it’s been so narrowly focused that even Saumur producers making wines that are 99% as good continue to sell for just a fraction of Rougeard’s price.
So what from the Loire to focus on this year? Well, 2018s and 2019s are across the board great for red wines (so Saumur, yes, but also Chinon and Bourgeuil where the values are, if anything, even better). And for white wines we are loving 2019 Sancerres – not just for simple bistro sipping but also, from the right producers, of course – cellaring!
4. Brunello di Montalcino 2016s.
The great 2016s of Italy have been arriving in waves: first, with every-night wines, then Chiantis, then Barbarescos, and then Barolos. In 2021, the wave will be Brunello di Montalcino. It will be just about the last chance to stock up on this great vintage, and the wines are amazing: Brunello with all its majesty and elegance, and none of the weird international oaky ripe flavors of some past vintages.
I have seen the prices, and they continue to remain very favorable, barely up or not at all up from recent vintages. I wish I had stocked up when the 2010s were released six years ago, because those wines are amazing to drink now; I will not make the same mistake with 2016s.
5. West Coast Chardonnays.
Remember the ABC movement? Yeah, that’s Anything But Chardonnay. It was the predictable outcome of a pernicious trend from the 1990s and later: factory-made California Chardonnay flavored with oak chips and other crazy interventions, and served at every airport lounge in America.
Well, guess what? Chardonnay is coming back, and this time the movement is being led by artisans, no oak-chips added. And it turns out that California – and Oregon – can produce incredibly fine Chardonnay when the grape is treated with seriousness and respect.
With white Burgundy prices at an all time high, the timing is perfect, and I find myself increasingly reaching for a $30 Chardonnay from the Willamette Valley or Santa Barbara on nights when it used to be Chassagne Montrachet.
And don't forget, the easiest way to stay up to date is by getting our indispensable newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.