6 Wine Trends to Watch in 2018
1. Dry rosé and sparkling wines keep shining
"Rosé all day" isn't just a saying. No matter the weather, season, or occasion, an increasing number of wine lovers are reaching for bottles of rosé, with sales rocketing by 40 percent in 2017.1 Likewise, sparkling wine, such as approachable prosecco, is no longer restricted to celebrations and big–day events. With their food–friendly profiles, both wine styles are embraced as everyday sippers.
2. Boxed and canned wines make a splash
Winemakers are taking a cue from their microbrew brethren and ditching bottles for more
portable—and more shelf-stable—single-serving boxes and cans. With convenience and sustainability in the wine's favor, more consumers are shedding the big–box mentality and reaching for high-quality wines in low–cost packaging.
3. The time is ripe for merlot
Merlot is moving back into the spotlight with wine–lovers gaining a renewed appreciation for its well–rounded flavor profile. As the second-most-planted grape worldwide, after cabernet, it's poised to move beyond Bordeaux and California blends. And younger wine drinkers in particular don't associate merlot with the Sideways stigma—they just taste a versatile red with balanced fruit.
4. Big love for red blends
While single varietals, like cabernet and pinot noir, aren't going anywhere, the thirst for red blends keeps gaining ground. Typically full–flavored and juicy, these approachable blends pair well with a variety of foods, making them easy choices for weeknight meals and casual gatherings. As winemakers continue to refine their blends, look for even more easy–drinking offerings.
5. Wonderful Washington wines
Only California grows more grapes than Washington State, so it's no wonder that the Golden State's Pacific Northwest neighbor's wines are stealing the spotlight across the US. With its diverse microclimates, Washington grows red and white grapes with ease, producing a high–quality lineup that runs the gamut from delicately floral riesling to bold cabernet sauvignon. With more Washington winemakers getting in the game, wine lovers are sure to take notice.
6. Rolling out bourbon–barrel–aged wines
Bourbon and wine are frequently aged in oak barrels, so why not see what happens when the two come together? Barrel–aging brings out vanilla, caramel, and spice notes and boosts richness in wines that are full–bodied-such as zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, and chardonnay. Wine drinkers looking to savor a more intense flavor profile seek out these new bottlings and embrace the experiment.
1Frost, Peter. "Crispin Rosé Hopes to Take a Bite out of Booming Sales of Pink Wine," Behind the Beer, December 20, 2017. millercoorsblog.com/news/crispin-rose-hopes-catch-wave-booming-sales-pink-wine.
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