The trend scouts reveal their personal opinions on the topic of trend themes - and give you, as a ProWein visitor, direct recommendations along the way. Take the opportunity to be inspired by the experts!
The New Road to the Far North There’s no imposing wall of ice rising to mark the winegrowing boundaries of the ‘Far North’. The truth is much more mundane – an academic distinction between what is “inhospitable” and what is merely “cool climate.” And that line is constantly moving. But the general public, and even many members of the wine industry, have yet to really notice. The only wall is in our heads, and it’s high time to tear it down.
During the 20th century, common wisdom recognized 50° North as the effective northern limit of experimental and commercial viticulture. The border has now migrated well to the north, and not just because of climate change. Winemakers now possess the technology to better understand factors like ripening times, and cultivate hybrids better suited to severe conditions making winegrowing reliably viable closer to the 55° North (England) and 58° North (Denmark). It seems likely to continue rapidly on towards 60° North (Oslo/Norway) as well.
Behind the front lines, classic cool climate regions such as northerly France and Germany now find themselves picking consistently ripe vintages (the last German harvest with widespread green flavors was 1987!). In North America commercial winemakers exist in all 50 states – even the snow-besotted ones that we see through movies and TV shows like FARGO. Below are a few examples of regions seeing successful plantings that a mere 20 years earlier seemed impossible.
ENGLAND Grapevines respect geological borders far more than political ones. Thus one of the keys to understanding emerging wine regions is to consider what is happening beneath the soil as well as on top of it. In the case of Great Britain, the same geological basin that gives Champagne its characteristic chalky soil extends across the channel to form the famous white cliffs of Dover, and nearby south-facing slopes in Kent and Sussex. With improving technology and temperatures in the south of England that now mirror those of Champagne in the 1980s, the longer growing season has allowed the UK to rise as a real player on the quality sparkling wine market.
According to the English Wine Producers (EWP), the UK has experienced 135% growth in the number of vines planted in the last 10 years (current total 1821 ha), as well as a steady increase in sales of English wine both at home and abroad. “2017 will see the largest number of vines ever planted in a single year in the UK,” said Stephen Skelton MW, regional chair at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2017. While the larger, more established players such as Nyetimber and Ridgeview continue to produce excellent premium sparklers, a growing number of newcomers are making a name for themselves as well. Take for example: the honeyed stylings of Cornish-based, Camel Valley or the floral intensity of Hush Heath estates prized Rosés. Taste for yourself the diverse range of one of England’s largest vineyard, Denbies Wine Estate (Hall 9, Stand B39). And if you need still further convincing, renowned French Champagne house Taittinger (Hall 12, stand E07-15), among others, has been investing heavily in English land (40 ha) with the first vines planted in 2017.
POLAND Poland’s winegrowing tradition stretches back to the 9th century, but a number of political and environmental events throughout the 18th century conspired to bring it to its knees. Thankfully, a thriving renaissance in EUs coldest winegrowing region (A) has emerged in the last decade with hundreds of amateur plantations and a robust 197 officially registered commercial wineries (compared to just 6 in 2008).
Much of the recent success in this harsh continental climate can be attributed to disease- and frost-resistant hybrid vines such as Solaris and Seyval Blanc, rising temperatures and a growing expertise as winemakers freedom to travel exposes them to modern winemaking advances across Europe.
While there remain a number of challenges – the severe climate and expensive cost of production for starters – the stars are aligning for Polish wines to soon move beyond the niche and curiosity market and become a real player in the New North. Winnica Turnau (Hall 15, stand K62) is a good candidate, working 28 ha of predominantly Solaris and Johanniter vines in the northwest of Poland to produce wines of fruit purity and elegant harmony. In central Poland, Winnica Plochocki has long been the benchmark for what Polish wines could achieve. In recent years, however, they have given a resounding voice to varietals and methods unique to their region.
DENMARK Denmark was the first of the Scandinavian countries to start producing wine, with over 100 vineyards now pursuing frost-resistant hybrids such as dark-skinned Cabernet Cortis and blueberry-redolent Rondo. Oernberg in Sjaelland for example bottles with masterful sweet wines often compared to a German Auslese, and the tropical fruit aromas and considerable power of its dry Solaris.
Yet accepting the concept of a New North may demand a certain open-mindedness to traditional assumptions, down to even the most basic of definitions of what wine is. Denmark and the other Scandinavian countries have actually traditionally focused on fruit-based wines, and the past fifteen years have given rise to an impressive new breed.
Fruit wines from Cold Hand winery (Hall 7, stand D15) for example routinely demonstrate sophistication and balance with a distinctly Danish flair. “There’s a lot happening here,” says Billy Wagner, proprietor of Nobelhart & Schmutzig (1 Michelin star), and an early advocate of the new age of fruit wines. “In large part because the region’s agricultural tradition and resources make it so worthwhile. Advances in fruit grafting have benefitted not only grape cultivation, but also rhubarb, quince, apple, cherry and pears – with a watchful eye toward quality plantings that continue to honor the Nordic heritage and countryside.”
The effect is not limited to Europe. Countries where it is possible to plant vineyards ever further in the polar direction like Chile, Argentina and New Zealand are looking to be amongst the major winners of climate change, and those unable to do so like South Africa face serious challenges in the coming years. It is no coincidence that the cooler corners of regions like the Côte Chalonnaise in Burgundy/France (Domaine Faiveley (Hall 11, stand J36)) and the Saar in the Mosel/Germany (Weingut Van Volxem (Hall 13, stand C110) have flourished in recent vintages such as 2015 and 2016 where good ripeness and stellar quality have replaced the green aromas and tart (malic) acidity of only a generation earlier.
Even so, the rise of the New North is mirrored by a crisis in the Old South. Traditionally ‘warm climate’ regions such as Bordeaux and Chianti are more likely to be fighting drought and sky-high alcohol levels than the low ripeness level issues of 40 years and more ago. ‘Hot’ regions like La Mancha in Spain are at real danger of slipping out of viability due to both climate change and changing markets (demand for cheap dry whites from the traditional Airen grape has sagged). Adapt with temperature-resistant varieties or perish. And consider popping open a wine from the New North while you wait for the vines to grow.
Shahzad Talukder Head sommelier bean&beluga GmbH/Dresden
Saxony: A toast to regionality or trapped in the valley of the unsuspecting? The winegrowing region Saxony in its present constellation looks back on a very short history. While winegrowing in the Saxon Elbe Valley can be traced back to the 12th century, weather extremes, phylloxera and planned economy, expropriations and the reunification have changed the entire region more than once. This is the reason that even though today's winegrowing landscape relies on historical vineyards and soils, the distinctive characteristics of the Saxon winegrowers are still mostly in the "teenage mode": The goal is clear - the path is unclear.
Around 2,300 vintners and winegrowers are estimated to roam about in the region. 2,220 of which are listed as amateur winemakers, of the remaining 80, only a handful are represented at the qualitative top. From my point of view, there is disagreement at this comparatively tiny tip when it comes to the route to the future. Will it be to concentrate on the region or to finally enter the world stage? The big players of the region (Saxon’s State Vineyard Schloss (Castle) Wackerbarth and Weinhaus Prinz zur Lippe) have, each in their own way, at least managed to make the region perceptible again as a winegrowing destination.
In 2002, Schloss Wackerbarth decided to continue on its path as Europe's first "adventure wine estate" - with success. On up to 400-year-old steep slopes, wine is now being cultivated again; dry-stone walls are being extensively renovated, and the baroque castle and gardens invite visitors to stroll around and experience a versatile range of events. More than 190,000 day visitors a year spread the name Schloss Wackerbarth (Hall 14, Stand C 70) and Saxony into the world. Focusing on its own location, the share of the export market at Schloss Wackerbarth is less than 1%. "Weinhaus Prinz zur Lippe" (Hall 14, Stand C 70), supported by the enthusiasm and ambition of Dr. Georg Prinz (Prince) zur Lippe, has focused from the outset on retailing and gastronomy as multipliers. Most recently in 2017 with a rejuvenation and at the same time with a strengthened market orientation of its product range. Furthermore, both product lines are available for HORECA. With its modern design, "Weinhaus Prinz zur Lippe" is now clearly consumer and retail orientated. The wines of "Weingut Schloss Proschwitz -Prinz zur Lippe-" (Hall 14, Stand E 31), with their high-quality locations, are looking for their perfect match to gastronomy.
What is the most unusual in the winegrowing region of Saxony? Certainly the fact that the region's top winegrowers, Klaus Zimmerling (Hall 14, Stand C 70) or Martin Schwarz, are still considered to be an insider's tip. Klaus Zimmerling (one of only two VDP vineyards in Saxony) is more than just well-known to many wine connoisseurs, but a foreign word to the masses. Fortunately! In terms of quality, absolutely uncompromising and unchallenged at the top, great wines with a strong character and unlimited potential are produced here by just one man. The few bottles are much sought-after.
As restaurateurs, we are fortunate to be able to exploit the entire portfolio. Wines of all these and many other Saxon winegrowers are represented on the wine list of the restaurant bean&beluga. It was just that my awareness of the diversity of the wine-growing region Saxony needed to be awakened. Thus, even though the "Everything from the region" section of my wine list is the youngest category, it is also the fastest growing one. Despite all this regionalism, the winegrowing region of Saxony must not neglect its external perception. Commitment and self-confidence are called for; otherwise it will be sneered at in the future as well.
Peter Eichhorn: Creative beer boom
"Only our four-legged friends drink water. Men prefer beer," said Heinz Erhardt, the great philosopher of everyday life. And at last, we are now experiencing a time when beer can indeed be regarded as something delicious, diverse and culinary enriching. We have lived far too long in an everyday situation where a guest enters a pub and yells at the bartender: “A beer, please!" Imagine the same situation if it were wine. Inconceivable, because it is absurd.
It is always good to have a choice and to experience variety. However, price wars and consolidation in the market have led to numerous closings of breweries over the past decades and a rigorous reduction in the diversity of varieties. Only Franconia remains a constant beer paradise in Germany. With brand loyalty and price-consciousness, the local pilsner drinker there has always been pleased about the special offers of his regular brand in the beverage market.
But now everyone is talking about craft beer and a jolt is going through the world of beverages. At last, gastronomy is finally allowed to rediscover beer as a delicious indulgence and exciting food companion. A young generation of brewers is dealing with yeasts, malt and especially hop varieties in a completely new way. Dry-hopped ales with aroma hops exude aromas of fruits and herbs for the nose, while the tongue is stimulated by bitterness in India Pale Ale, sweetness in Doppelbock beer, powerful acidity in young Lambic or saltiness in Leipziger Gose, all of which culminate in a completely new beer experience. The archives are being thoroughly scoured and historical and regional beer styles are being rediscovered and interpreted in a modern way at the brewing kettle. New craft beer breweries and creative breweries from near and far are experiencing a veritable boom in metropolises such as Hamburg, Frankfurt and especially Berlin with almost 40 new brewing project start-ups in the past three years.
In 2018, this diversity can also be superbly explored at ProWein, particularly in Hall 7.0. The aim is to discover the superpowers of aroma-hopping in the ales of Craftwerk and Vulkan, to try one of the most delicious porter beers in Germany with "Landgang Dunkle Macht" (Dark Power) and to get to know the beer genre, which comes closest to the enjoyment of wine, with Barley Wine from Crew Republic.
Regionality plays an unmistakable role in contemporary gastronomy and so the brewery Brlo helps to rediscover the almost extinct Berliner Weisse. With Citrilla, the Maisels Brewery from Bayreuth adds a completely new dimension to its proven wheat beer style with aroma-hopping. And the Stiegl brewery from Salzburg proves with Max Glaner Wit how delicious orange peel and coriander taste in beer and that the German purity law sometimes means a creativity corset rather than a seal of quality.
Also fascinating are those specialities from the countries that are known more as wine countries. The brewers in Italy and France have been brewing their complex brews for beverage aficionados and wine connoisseurs for quite some time now. What this means and how it tastes is shown by brands such as Birra Antoniada, Meteor and Brasserie Alaryk. In addition, there are glass manufacturers with corresponding glasses that round off the beer enjoyment.
The time has come. An open-minded generation of restaurant managers and sommeliers no longer dismissively turns up their nose when it comes to dealing with barley juices, but instead it finds a new product to innovatively stimulate the discerning palates of the guests. Be it as an aperitif, as part of the accompanying beverages or as a refreshment.
In addition, a true sommelier should see himself as a comprehensive beverage consultant for his guests. These days, this ranges from gin & tonic to cold drip coffee. It should be both an obligation and a pleasure for every aficionado of drinks to become more intensively involved in the beer culture. Just as Heinz Erhardt advises!
Paula Redes Sidore and Stuart Pigott
Natural Disobedience: The Success of Natural Wines Outside the Limelight Natural wine’s moment-in-the-sun has ostensibly come and gone, but natural wine is very much still present. We’re encouraging you to give this trend renewed attention at ProWein 2018, because it will inform what your nose and palate are telling you at stand after stand this year: many crucial insights long-championed by natural winemakers are finally seeping into the decisions of more mainstream wine producers.
Any discussion of natural wines needs to start with a definition of terms. Unlike ‘organic,’ ‘biodynamic,’ or even ‘orange,’ there are no legally binding rules or agreed restrictions here. ‘Natural wine’ is instead an umbrella label meant to imply wines whose focus lies on an uncompromising expression of a time and a place using minimal intervention and zero technological manipulation. Put poetically: liquid expressions of authenticity, with the hand of nature, not the winemaker, shining through.
A few years back a number of leading wine journalists predicted that natural wines would indeed achieve a major breakthrough into the mass market. With sexy monikers like “naked,” the journalists’ reasoning was understandable. These wines, such as the cool, concentrated stylings of Italy’s Azienda Agricola Elisabetta Foradori in the Dolomites (Hall 13 / C64), or the clarity and precision of Austria’s Weingut Claus Preisinger (Hall 17) radiate authenticity, typically in an organic package, and carry a name that at least in the West suggests the holy grail of healthfulness -- all factors that score big with today’s consumers.
The boom never quite materialized as expected. Natural wines are never simple, and are often divisive. The flavor profiles tend toward the wild, challenging and thought provoking. What some might champion as “vibrant, alive and …. full of emotion” (Isabelle Legeron, MW) are condemned by others as mousy, cloudy, muddy and flat. There were other factors as well, including limited quantities and a rising backlash against expensive hipster-friendly ‘movement’ products.
There is another plausible explanation: the failure to break big may simply be an inherent byproduct of the natural wine ethos. This style inherently involves risky, expensive production with low yields; any attempt to mass produce these products counteract their own argument for existence. It is truly a genre that thrives on a smaller stage and it would be extremely challenging to try and produce wines of this kind for the 9.99 €/US$ price point, never mind lower.
There’s an instructive comparison to draw from a comparable movement in a different medium: grunge music. Its dissonant 90s harmonies were derided as “noise” by some, yet celebrated as “raw” by others. It flaunted the tenets of popular music and according to one critic, favored “energy and lack of finesse over technique and precision.” It was the punk music of an earlier generation, but with an introspective bent that suited Generation X.
Unfortunately for fans of the genre, flannel was cheap, and so was hype. Record labels pushed all their acts to “go grunge.” Even Lollapalooza -- the genre’s equivalent to RAW -- began booking acts for their audience reach, not their artistic contributions. Grunge failed to live up to its own ethos. When asked: “Can you be pure enough, day after day, year after year, to prove your authenticity?”, Grunge reached for the dollars and ultimately died.
Natural wine has thankfully taken a different path.
Life on the fringe has given its producers a certain artisanal freedom to experiment. And many of its ideas have in fact proven successful -- and are being incorporated outside the boundaries of the scene itself. For example, many mainstream voices now speak of their respect for the health of the complete vineyard ecosystem, and openly debate the influence of additives and technology on taste. There is also a dawning understanding of the value of distinctiveness over homogenization.
Yet because there is no certification, identifying natural producers can be a bit like trying to find the unmarked door of an NYC Speakeasy during prohibition. So here we’ve identified a few regions and producers to give you a head start. Start with Georgia, whose producers have rediscovered many of the country’s ancient traditions, oxidized styles and seductively wild reds. Move on to Slovenia, where a variety of estates have embraced skin-fermented natural wines with their complex, savory aromas and complex, brooding textured flavors.
Western Europe is part of the trend this way. In fact Beaujolais is certainly accepted as the cradle of Natural Wine thanks to Jules Chauvet, as well as more modern prophets such as Marcel Lapierre and Guy Breton. However, for many wine professionals the wines of Eric Texier in the Rhône and Catherine and Pierre Breton in Bourgueil hold high the torch for unadulterated, minimal sulphur beauties with a joyful, vivid and aromatic complexity. Then there’s the new generation in the Loire Valley where Virginie Joly has taken the reins of the Coulee de Serrant estate (Hall 13 / C64) from her father, the Natural Wine prophet Nicolas. Many German vintners can be found at the collected stands of German importer Vinaturel ( Hall 13 / C64) or Ecovin (Hall 13/ C80-84). Individual producers can be found at the Wein Salon Natürel in Cologne on the Saturday before ProWein. Be sure to check out Pfalz vintner Andreas Durst with wines equal parts tension, challenge and clarity; the brilliant, sulphur-free red wines of Weingut Lay in Baden and taste the inner harmony of Mosel estate Weingut Melsheimer. Don’t stop at our recommendations; ask each of these winemakers who they’d suggest you taste next…
You too may observe that the movement has achieved an impressive stylistic diversity -- melting pot or petri dish, depending on your viewpoint. Certainly the technical standard of the winemaking has taken a major leap forward in recent years. But ultimately, living in the industry slow lane means inherent internal checks and balance, a compromise that has sustained the trend without forcing it to contradict its own moral imperative. The impact is real. It’s time for the skeptics to take the field more seriously.
Emmanuel Rosier Restaurant Schwein, Berlin
The regionality of food and its wines is in my eyes beyond a trend. It's going through a revival! We are rediscovering the essence of our passion and of our inspiration in our work. This is not a trend. This is going back to our values, our identity. Travelling to Sicily, to Crete, to Burgundy or to Minho, you'll hardly find any wines from outside Sicily or South Italy, Crete or the Greek mainland, Bordeaux, Vinho Verde or Northern Portugal... This hasn't changed in the slightest! On the other hand, you can wonder where the regionality in food and wine is in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Berlin or London...
This is where the fun starts!
Those metropolis have access to the world of wine. The world of flavours. They have re-invented the concept of culinary arts, combining authentic, avantgarde, traditional and natural! Look at what Rene Redzepi from Noma or Christian Pugliusi from Relae and Manfred's have achieved in Copenhagen for example, transforming an entire Capital, an entire country, an entire nation more aware of what they eat, what they drink and how they do it and why... This is where the classics will be featured along the "New kids on the block" - the new generation of winemakers willing to save the planet and showing that wine has a different sense in life than restricted rules of appellations!
In my mind, the classics will forever remain! As a sommelier I always look for the most daring, most outstanding as well as the most obvious and the most comfortable drop for the list, for the concept of my kitchen chef, for my identity, for my guests' pleasure! Older vintages of classics are on way back - 1964! 1949! 1976! 1982! 1990! 2003! Dream! Any wine lover would die for the opportunity of any Burgundy (e.g. Emmanuel Rouget at the booth „Wein am Limit“/Hall 13, booth F 33), Bordeaux, Barolo, Champagne, Rioja (e.g. Marques de Riscal at Reidemeister & Ulrich GmbH/Hall 13, booth C 40 or Lopez de Heredia at „Ravensborg pan y vino Dr. Thomas Ravensborg/Hall 10, booth G 211) available by the glass... This is a new trend! Thank you to this French invention called Coravin. You made my job even more thrilling and interesting!
The "newest" trend of organic and orange wines is now so yesterday! That was the best thing in town the last 2-3 years. It has unfortunately become the norm! Every descent wine list should have his share of Organic, Natural, Orange wines – e.g. Domaine l’Horizon at „Alles Wein“/Hall 13, booth B 46, Matassa at „Vinaturel GmbH“/Hall 13, booth C 64, Gernot Heinrich in the Austria Hall 17, Tschida at „Wein am Limit“/Hall 13, booth F 33 to name a very few. The winemakers and the Sommeliers promoting those wines have been raised to the status of Rock stars! Celebrity Chefs made room unwillingly for #sommlife stardom... The status of Sev Perru @ Ten Bells in NYC, Andreas Wachter @ Artisanal in Copenhagen, Billy Wagner @ Nobelhardt & Schmutzig in Berlin (to name a few) have radically changed since being the faces of natural wines in their metropolis!
More will hit the market and I can't wait for this new normality of organic winemaking to be integrated to the rules of AOP!
The main thing here is, always has been and will remain the idea of terroir! The land, the soil, the people, the product, the know-how, the harmony with nature! This is why I always offer to my guests the opportunity to try classic alongside unusual matches with the food...! The result is far greater than people think! Wine drinking hasn't been as "cool" as it is today. The amount of wine bars and new concept restaurants being approachable to Joe Block is remarkable. I never was happier than now being Sommelier. This is our Golden Age and it is our responsibility to guide the classical winemakers to the world of tomorrow!
Paula Sidore and Stuart Pigott
Wine boasts 6,000 years of documented history and a reputation woven in tradition and mystique. It’s an unlikely candidate for wholesale change. Yet the developing face of what we like to call The New Freshness is surprisingly dynamic and truly shaking things up. Young consumers are leading this break with the past, seeking out wines with a focus on fun and relaxation, unfettered by complex rituals and the hierarchies they serve. And as a result, many winemakers are now actively optimizing balance and drinkability; and emerging brand identities are choosing to prioritize elegance over power.
The New Freshness is all about wines which taste lighter and more lively thanks to their bright aromas, moderate alcoholic content, crisp acidity and/or softer tannins. And while there have been a number of prophets over the last decade signaling the new direction, in 2018 we find a sea change occurring in everything from harvesting times to viticultural techniques all the way through to marketing. The result -- beyond a more refreshing taste -- is a more authentic expression of the grape variety/varieties and often a clearer sense of place. In a nutshell, the rising influence of region and culture of origin have become the twin columns that support wine brand identity.
It is now apparent that the shift from conventional viticulture willing to deploy chemicals where necessary to organic and biodynamic viticulture in recent years was often not only about respecting the environment, but also a tool for changing wine styles. Look to the dry white wines of renowned Austrian producer Fred Loimer (Kamptal/Austria) of Weingut Loimer whose transition to biodynamics brought about a stylistic transformation toward crisper yet correspondingly more complex flavors. Moving to biodynamic cultivation, says Bernhard Ott of the eponymous winery in Wagram/Austria, reduced the alcoholic content of his Grüner Veltliners an average of one full degree and increased their acidity content by a corresponding amount. “I much prefer my new wines, because they’re so much fresher and more precise in character.” The wines will be presented in hall 17 of the Düsseldorf fairground, which is the the Austrian hall at ProWein 2018.
Like every other truly global wine trend before it The New Freshness is partly a reaction to the previous mega-trend. We call that The Old Heaviness and it’s now clear to us that it peaked just under a decade ago. Massive body and high alcoholic content, scant acidity and a jammy fruit character were the hallmarks of wines that made a bold statement, but were often difficult to drink more than a glass of. These supposedly hedonistic wines were actively promoted by the most influential wine critics of the last generation, but were also routinely lauded by countless wine experts, importers and consumers in markets around the world.
When The Old Heaviness was at its peak, it seemed that a new wine couldn’t have too much alcohol, taste too sweet, or contain too much oak aroma. At that time some expensive “dry” reds tasted like they belonged in the liqueur cabinet rather than on the dining table. Now, the mood of wine professionals and consumers has shifted dramatically and all that opulence seems so very late 20th century.
The story of this new style begins with the grape grower striving for vineyards with a healthy balance between vigor and fruiting. German winemaker Gesine Roll of Weingut Weedenborn in Rheinhessen (hall 14, booth A 40) says that in pursuit of a clean, fresh and more drinkable style, she has shifted the focus in her vineyards on achieving fully ripe – but never overripe – fruit. “This counts not only for harvest but throughout the whole year. I’d rather be a day too early than a day too late. It can make all the difference.” What a contrast to the days of The Old Heaviness when vineyards were often deliberately stressed to increase flavor intensity and concentration in the drive to achieve ever higher scores from influential critics. For wine production at the lower end of the price scale, vineyards bore large crops and were harvested late so that the grapes would ripen enough to give the rich flavors that were in fashion at that time. Both these strategies frequently resulted in wines that tasted over-ripe and flabby; the opposite to the hallmarks of the new wines!
This transformation for the global wine industry isn’t only about the move away from such dubious production methods though, and we see parallel changes both in the fields of marketing and in new patterns of consumption that are rapidly developing. The new wines can be opened on release, with or without food, and are ideally suited to the new young urban middle classes of the BRIC countries and many other emerging wine markets. Think a hybrid Prius lined up next to the Mustangs of yore -- a different beast entirely from the over-ripe and over-concentrated wines typical of The Old Heaviness, also a world away from old guard consumers and their status-orientated drinking patterns.
This reaction to the old order began in earnest just after the turn of the last century and it spread steadily around the world. The first prophets of The New Freshness seemed like a motley crew of freethinkers obsessed with cool climate wine regions ranging from Germany to New Zealand where growing conditions tended to naturally deliver lighter and fresher wines. They included producers as diverse as Roland Velich of Weingut Moric in Burgenland/Austria, Dominik Huber of Terroir al Limit in Priorat/Catalonia and Steffen Christmann of Weingut Christmann in the Pfalz/Germany (hall 14, booth E 30).
While they were dismissed at first as eccentrics, their importance and influence grew as the new movement rapidly gained momentum from 2010. Five years later the wine industries of even a number of warm New World, and traditionally even very warm Old World regions in Europe had recognized and embraced this metamorphosis taking place on Planet Wein and switched their collective goal from the The Old Heaviness to The New Freshness. Some Spanish regions with climates normally regarded as warm are building reputations based on the vitality and liveliness of their wines. The steely precision and cool clarity of the dry whites of Rueda producers such as Finca Montepedroso and Finca Caserio de Dueñas, for example, have set a high and welcome benchmark. And in Madrid, Bodegas Maranones is giving new life to fresh, bright garnachas. With vineyards in Rioja, Navarra and Valencia, Spanish wine producer Artadi has stylistically reoriented itself to reflect a transparency of fruit and finesse. The new spirit can also be found in regions stretching right across Australia, from the traditional cool climate strongholds of Margaret River in Western Australia to Mac Forbes Wines in Yarra Valley in Victoria. Even in Napa Valley, producers are pulling back from the opulent style that the Cult Cabernets made cool in the early years of the century.
All of this has implications that reach far beyond the technical fields of wine production and marketing. In today’s globalized, interconnected world every wine has a story to tell. Yet when the flavors are too loud, lush, or all taste the same then the real story is lost in the noise. Listen closely, for the stories these new wines have to tell is clear, distinctive and entirely their own.
Nikki Restel Guest and Wine House „Zur Krone"
Regionality Would you like an aperitif? Hugo, Aperol Spritz, Campari ....?? I must confess to you: “I never really want to see another Hugo, Aperol or the like..." At the same time, the guests are thinking that should they want to have an aperitif and also drink one or two glasses of wine, this could be very critical when they drive home. The consumer also attaches great importance to regional food – so why should this not be possible with an aperitif!?
My tip: “Veräppelt & Verperlt“ (pearly apple wine) from the vineyard “Alte Grafschaft” (Vinissimo GmbH/Hall 16, Stand C 31).
A very nice regional cider, which comes from hand-picked apples of old trees from the orchards of the "Alte Grafschaft" with only 6.9 % alcohol volume. The apples are pressed promptly and with care. Vinification does not differ from the procedure used for a great white wine. The must is floated and purified from its coarse cloudy sediments; fermentation at approximately 16°C takes place in stainless steel. After the second bacteriological fermentation, the new cider becomes creamy and soft. The colour is a light golden gold, the fragrance is reminiscent of apple blossoms and fresh, juicy fruits. On the palate it is refreshing and lively with a fine acidity in the finish. The absolute, light summer aperitif - and mixed with sparkling mineral water, it is ideal as a thirst quencher not only on hot days. As an aperitif or with a lamb's lettuce salad with walnut potato dressing and smoked duck breast, or simply as an accompaniment to a snack.
Classic wine - revived
Müller-Thurgau wine was frowned upon for years and was no longer popular to drink, because it was mass instead of class - however, it is back in full swing. And I am extremely pleased about this, as the grape variety is a very good, fruity, easily combinable and above all well tolerated grape variety. We also owe this to the winegrowers of Frank & Frei. 14 renowned winegrowers from Franconia have joined forces to give the somewhat dusty Müller a new image. And they have also managed to create a Müller-Thurgau by means of mutually strictly monitored quality controls, which brings the highest quality for every day on the table in an uncomplicated way. Fresh and dry - simply a wine that has again become a lot of fun. It is bottled in "Schlegel" bottles and by some of the winegrowers in the new "Bocksbeutel". PS - truly Franconian.
At stand “Frank & Frei“ (Hall 14, Stand E 40), wine estate am Stein, wine estate Rainer Sauer, wine estate May as well as wine estate Max Müller (Hall 14, Stand D 86) are particularly convincing.
The wines are food companions to:
Mixed herb salad in a basket with smoked trout fillet / apple horseradish mousse
Warm spaghetti salad / rocket salad / shrimps
Aspic from prime boiled veal with Frankfurt green sauce / fried potatoes
or simply wonderful as an aperitif on hot days!
"Regionalisation in gastronomy & the appropriate wines" Especially if you are a restaurateur or hotelier in a wine region that may not be so well known, it makes sense to rely on a strong regionalisation. Many guests are happy when they can smell and taste their surroundings on their plate or in their glass - and thus get a more authentic travel experience.
This also applies, for example, to the Restaurant Pavillon in the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich. From the very beginning, the wine list has not only featured top international wines, but also a large and representative selection of the wine country Switzerland.
At the beginning of 2017, the concept of the gourmet restaurant was changed to offer a Swiss wine accompaniment alongside the international wine accompaniment to the tasting menu. The guest thus has the opportunity to discover the variety of different climates and styles of this small but fine wine country. Furthermore, the guest also acquaints himself with one of the greatest treasures in Switzerland: Autochthonous grape varieties such as Petite Arvine, Amigne or Cornalin. Of course, all these wines can also be ordered by the glass - also for business lunches. The accompanying wine changes several times a year and makes you want to delve even deeper into the Swiss wine world - for example at the Swiss Wine Promotion stand at ProWein 2018.
"Classics revived "- from the classic wine-growing areas such as Burgundy, Bordeaux, Barolo or Rioja to the original wines such as" orange wine ".
Never before has the world been as dynamic and constantly changing as it is today. This leads to the fact that, in addition to many current trends, more and more people are relying on all that is tried and tested, established and traditional, and which is constantly being rediscovered. Some positive things have been forgotten and are now back in focus.
In the world of wine, this is done above all through three things. After a long period of technological development, the focus is now on returning to old production methods. Some wineries produce "orange wine", others revive Rudolf Steiner's biodynamic teachings. And some simply call their wine "tradition", such as the Grüner Veltliner and the Riesling from Schloss Gobelsburg, which can be tasted in the Austria Hall (Hall 17). These two wines are produced according to the records of the cellar masters of the 19th century, for example, by moving the wine from barrel to barrel, fermenting it spontaneously, naturally regulating the temperature and maturing it with great patience. A veritable poem.
The second trend of recollection is the focus on traditional, autochthonous grape varieties, which are often hardly known beyond their original provenance. More and more guests and customers are now looking for these alternatives, and find them in Valdeorras with Godello. A grape variety that thrives on an exciting interplay of exotic fruit, minerality and spicy aroma. Try the As Sortes of Rafael Palacios (Deuna Handelsgesellschaft, Hall 16, Stand H 81) in the Spain Hall, for example, which has made a major contribution to the new flourishing of this grape variety.
A third trend is to try out new wine estates in established areas. One area that has been subject to considerable criticism for a long time is Bordeaux, for instance. Despite the large vineyard area, it was often perceived in the wine scene as uniform, stuck in the past and not very dynamic. However, this picture is changing rapidly again, as many young winegrowers are making themselves be known with new styles and methods. In Saint Emilion, for instance, the Château Sansonnet was recently elevated to the status of a Grand Cru. A small dash of Cabernet is added to the Merlot, which gives the wine structure and spice together with the full fruit. A great example for a small (7 hectare) plot on the top of the limestone plateau of Saint Emilion. Try this and other exciting Bordeaux wines in the France Hall.
Torsten Junker Chef Sommelier in the Hamburg Hotel Louis C. Jacob
No, I do not want to be the next sommelier to pick up and reinterpret the theme of orange and natural wines. Rather, I would like to take these very heated discussions on this subject as an opportunity to provide some fresh food for thought.
What exactly was it that revived the natural wine scene? Our desire for ever new wines and products in the world of beverages? Probably. I once was a young sommelier myself, who was not that much into Bordeaux or Burgundy - always on the lookout for the great new wine that nobody had ever experienced before. Wines from the natural wine scene came just in time here.
But to be honest - and I really think this is the case for many of us, even though we are reluctant to admit it: I have never drunk any wine from this scene that really convinces me - or that makes me forget everything around me for a moment. Maybe it is not my taste either - that may be true. But in my opinion, wines for great culinary delights are usually not. Indeed, I see these vines as a kind of rebel - perhaps comparable to the daughter of a conservative family who is eager to improve the world - in this case the world of wine - and who takes every means to draw attention to herself. And please do not get me wrong: I am not talking about the winegrowers who work in harmony with nature and produce clean wines that are typical of the grape variety or origin.
Nevertheless, despite all the hype surrounding these wines, we should not forget that the great wines from the traditional winegrowing areas, some of which are still grown conventionally, are the plants that have given wine the status it enjoys today in society. Does a winegrowing region like Bordeaux really need to continue to develop - and if so, how? Or should the winegrowers in Burgundy now vinify the Montrachet in the style of a natural wine? This - I think - is rather difficult on the international wine market.
What worries me most, however, is the fact that the fronts between the two camps have hardened considerably. As so often, I find that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. As a wine lover, you are welcome to find both great. But this scene has only become popular again in the last few years - and I wonder what exactly those lovers and sommeliers have sold before or drunk at home? Have the fans of the natural wine scene only been drinking wine since it was first available in a larger selection? There is nothing wrong with that. Only if this is the case, they should hold back their opinion on conventional viticulture. Because then there is no real comparison, which is absolutely necessary for a discussion on this subject.
Here is a small selection of winegrowers who produce natural wines:
Christian Tschida-Illmitz, (at Wein am Limit, Hall 13, Stand F33) Gut Oggau, Neusiedlersee, (at Wein am Limit, Hall 13, Stand F33) Weingut Meinklang, Burgenland (at Vinaturel, Hall 13, Stand C 64) Andreas Tscheppe, Steiermark (at Vinaturel, Hall 13, Stand C 64) Sepp Muster, Steiermark (at Vinaturel, Hall 13, Stand C 64)
More wines, with the main focus on organic wines, can be discovered in Hall 13.
The world is constantly changing, trends come and go. While a few years ago, we still indulged in the pleasure of French cuisine in the gourmet temples of this world, completely different creations are appearing on our plates today. Gone are the days of butter, sugar and opulence. The new avant-garde of the kitchen guard focuses on lighter and fresh aromas. There is hardly a chef who does not cultivate his own herb garden or does not have a local organic farm that he places his trust in.
New influences such as the increasing popularity of Asian cuisine from Japan, Thailand and Vietnam are bringing new ideas and ingredients to the restaurants. Added to this is the wave of New Nordic cuisine, which is shaped by restaurants such as Noma and Geranium. And it also reinforces South American recipes, such as Ceviche. All this, coupled with a new awareness of sustainability and regionality, has led to a newly found lightness. As a sommelier, wine merchant or winemaker you cannot escape these trends. We need to rethink. Opulent wines with high alcohol and glycerin values are conceivably inappropriate companions to the new culinary orientation. We need wines that support the fresh and linear aromas as equal partners in taste and philosophy.
Riesling Kabinett, in the scene called "Kabi" for short, is the new joker card of the sommeliers. A wine that offers a lot of fun to the layman with juicy fruit, while it challenges the expert with precise acidity and minerality. And in doing so, the new Haut Cuisine specialities are skillfully accentuated. "Wait a minute," some will ask, "Kabinett is nothing new, it is the entry level of predicate wines, measured by degrees Oechsle of must." This is basically true, but the new appetite for light wine is more than that. It is the quest for the perfect Kabinett. A high quality wine, which cannot rely on alcohol as a flavour carrier, but may only draw its structure, depth and aroma from physiological maturity.
This required a change of mindset and needed visionaries, because the production of the top quality "Kabis" already starts in the vineyard. Kai Schätzel from Nierstein is one of the masterminds behind this new wave. A few years ago, he was still known as an enfant terrible of the German wine scene, but today many people have to admit that he simply was a bit ahead of his time. His Kabinett wines are full of flavours and spices, possess incredible appeal and complexity. In order to achieve this, much and proper foliage work is necessary. Sun protection is essential. Whereas the sun still shines softly in the morning, it is too warm at midday and evening for direct contact with the grapes. Therefore, leaves are plucked by hand from the leaf wall in such a way that it is opened to the east, as it provides shade to the berries from midday onwards. In order to avoid unnecessary photosynthesis and the associated development of sugar, the vine is pruned very vigorously once. This slows down the growth of the grapes. The soil also plays a role. While limestone can make the wine too full-bodied, slate tends to provide a sleek elegance, ideal for the new style. This is why Schätzel has chosen the Nierstein "Red Slope" with its red clay slate as the perfect location.
With that, he is not the only one. Other wine estates such as Gunderloch and probably Germany's most prominent winegrower Klaus Peter Keller also make their best wines in Kabinett style from the grapes of the "Red Slope". The Moselle winegrowers join them, of course. Here, where slate and steep slopes are predominant and the aromatic residual sweetness is cultivated, Kabinett was always to be found in the product ranges anyway. All the more reason to be happy about the new enthusiasm of the consumers. Success proves them right. German top "Kabis" are sold exclusively via the VDP auction and achieve incredible prices. If you would like to taste this newly found delight in light wines, you can visit Kai Schätzel at his stand at the VDP-Rheinhessen (H14/E60) or Dorothee Zilliken (H14/E66) from the Moselle.
Viktoria Kniely Herz & Niere Restaurant, Berlin
An idea, passion, love for detail & gastronomy. These are the basic building blocks that we live by at "Herz & Niere" every day and set an example for our guests. It is all about respect, nature, living beings, plants. This is our daily incentive. Our motto is all or nothing. That is why we process everything from head to toe, from leaf to root. We do not put industrial products on plates or in glasses. In addition to the products from our own fields, on which we grow vegetables, there are only juices that we press ourselves. We cook exclusively with our own fermented vinegar resulting from this. A cycle that we determine and influence ourselves. Accordingly, we create the daily changing surprise menu.
We pay particular attention to the processing of regional and seasonal products. Personal contact with our farmers and producers is especially important to us. We want to know where the vegetables and the animals we process come from, where and how the animals grew up. This personal contact is not only important to us regarding our farmers, but also concerning the winegrowers we work with. For this reason, we obtain as many wines as possible directly from the winegrowers. On our wine list, we want to demonstrate the competence of the winegrowers, present the different quality levels (from estate wine to individual locations) and wines from young vintages to mature rarities. When we put a winegrower on our list, we want to show all of this. Sometimes we have up to 20 different vintages and locations of a wine estate on our wine list. The winegrowers we work with come mainly from the German-speaking winegrowing regions of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
For me, these are suitable, individual wines that reflect a region and its wine culture:
Weinfamilie (Wine Family) Fendt (Hall 13, Stand C 96): Both lateral entrants from the gastronomy sector have turned their passion into their profession and built up a small wine estate of about 3 hectares of vineyards in Ortenau in Baden-Württemberg with very individual Rieslings and Pinot Noir from residual granite soils. The result is very mineral, ethereal wines from vines, of which some are over 30 years old. The wines are fermented spontaneously, without any fining agents and have enough time to mature in the barrel and in the bottle.
2014 Riesling Mauerwerk: Spontaneously fermented in large wooden barrels, vineyards in Neuweier, matured for 12 months on full yeast and another six months on fine yeast, bottled unembellished and unfiltered and matured for another six months in the bottle.
Wine estate K. F. Groebe (Hall 14, Stand E60): A wine estate with tradition, family history since 1763. The wines are distinguished by the best locations in Westhofen, which have been owned by the family for centuries. Very robust Rieslings from the heart of the Westhofener Kirchspiel and Westhofener Aulerde.
2016 Riesling Kirchspiel GG: Spontaneously fermented in a barrel (containing 1,200 litres) in a 500-year-old wine cellar, more than 40 year-old-vineyards. Intense minerality meets juicy yellow-fleshy aromas. A wine with a lot of storage potential.
Wine estate Georg Schmelzer (Hall 14, Stand E60): A biodynamic wine estate with a long tradition, wines from typical, regional grape varieties such as Frühroter Veltliner and Zweigelt. Wines with a long maceration time and developed with fine, delicate varietal character. A family that has been living and scrutinising biodynamic viticulture for generations.
2014 plain and simple, orange–frühroter Veltliner: Biodynamic cultivation, mash-fermented, matured in small wooden barrels and bottled without the addition of sulphur. Pure nature but not random, however, with a lot of character.