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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Salt & Vine's Mattie Jackson Discusses the Hottest Wines in 2017


salt and vine nashville
Mattie Jackson, Salt & Vine | photo: Hannah Schneider
Y'all. I love love love wine, but often can be intimidated by the sheer amount of selection when heading to pick up a bottle at my two favorite stores in Nashville, Salt + Vine bottle shop or Woodland Wine Merchant. 

Thanks to sommelier and Salt + Vine owner Mattie Jackson, I have a list of the hottest wines in 2017 -- not only can you show up to your dinner parties in style, but also impress your friends with your abundance of wine-expertise. Cheers!

Hot Wine + Trends to Look for in 2017 

Non-Champagne Sparklers – With sparkling wine at a near 40% increase in sales in 2016 and Millennial consumers surpassing Boomers as the primary demo for wine consumption, value bubbles will be the name of the game in 2017. Frothy French crémants and boutiquey Proseccos will continue surging as the younger crowd brings bubbles out of the celebration only category and onto their daily tables. 

Recommendations: Simonnet-Febvre Brut Rosé & Sommariva Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut.

“Alt Whites” – The ever disparaged “Altnernative Whites” category that I hate on lists but love in my glass. This ubiquitous catch-all for white grapes other than the big 4 – Chard, Pinot Grigio, Sauv Blanc, Riesling – proves vastly over-looked and undervalued. Not only does it tend of unveil value to big boys can’t, but the breadth of styles here is endless. Txakolina from Spain. A spunky, edgy white born and bred for sushi lovers. Gruner Veltliner. A vegetarian’s dream that makes the most bitter brussels taste sweet.  Roussanne. Chardonnay with flavor. 

Recommendations: Saline Txakolina, Gobelsberg Gruner Veltliner, St. Cosme Cotes du Rhone Blanc.

Unoaked Chardonnay – In the wake of the 90s gargantuan Chardonnay trend, modern consumers are now saying, “I’ll take the Chard, hold the butter.” Despite much common assumption, the creamy, buttery, rich experience is not inherent to Chardonnay itself, but simply to how and where it’s made. For bright, clean, mineral driven styles, seek out French Macon Cru or Macon Villages as well as select stainless steel versions from California. 

Recommendations: Henri Perrusset Macon Villages & Riverbench Bedrock Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley).

Low-Alcohol Domestics – It’s hard to speak low-ABV domestics without sharing the story of Broc Cellars. This young Berkley-based producer preaches the ultimate antithesis of loud, boozy California style wines with a movement toward delicacy and balance that the younger market is thirsting for. Gentler alone and a more gracious partner to food, watch for a cleaner, “hands-off” winemaking movement to sweep in 2017. 

Recommendations: Broc Cellars Zinfandel.

Loire Valley – Red, white, sparkling. Lusciously sweet to bone dry. France’s Loire Valley offers a variety of styles equally as wide as the 170 miles of vineyards that snake along the banks of its own Loire River.  Whites of Muscadet show a light, spritely Summer wine. Sancerre and Pouilly Fume, the edgy, mineral face of Sauvignon Blanc. And Vouvray a dynamically plump but refreshing white, not to be missed during fall root veggie season. Cabernet Franc and occasionally Pinot Noir lead the bright, tart, food friendly reds of the region. Value and versatility is the name of the game in Loire. 

Recommendations: Michel Brégeon Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine, Reverdy Sancerre, Charles Joguet Chinon.

Beaujolais Cru – Beaujolais, the historical bastard of Burgundy, will continue to gain market speed in 2017 as one of the wine world’s best kept secrets. Pinot Noir lovers of both French and New World affinity seem to find common ground in this fruit driven, playful red with its subtle mineral backbone. The 10 Cru, or premiere village sites, for Beaujolais’ Gamay grape, range between $18-30 with equal if not greater depth than Pinots at comparable price points. 

Recommendations: Domaine Chanrion Cotes de Brouilly.

Vermouth – While some may project the nation-wide cocktail resurgence as a bridle for the wine industry, ancient fortified wines and wine based cordials should expect a consequential resurrection. And vermouth may be this category’s dark horse.  Whether classically bittered with Piedmontese wormwood, or sweet and barrel aged to counter smoky mezcal or scotch-based cocktails, vermouth will be this year’s chameleon cordial

Recommendations: Bèrto Ross da Travaj (red) & Baglio Baiata Alagna Bianco (white).

Thanks, Mattie, for all the info!

salt and vine nashville
Interior of Salt & Vine | Photo: Josh Gilmore

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