A couple of weeks into the new year, and I am still seeing wine columns on what to expect for this year! Well, let me turn that on its head a bit, and write about four things I would like to see in wine in 2014 – BC wine in particular.
1. Lower prices
This one could probably lead the list every year, but that doesn’t make it any less important. As readers of this blog know, I strongly believe that BC wine prices have gotten way out of hand. It is rare to find a good wine for under $20, and there are way too many going for $40 (and more).
Now, don’t get me wrong – I am all for free enterprise, and winery owners making as much money as they deserve. But the fact is the quality is just not there to justify those prices. So give everyone a break and keep the prices reasonable.
2. Talk about style
Fortunately, there is less and less bad wine made in BC. Overpriced, yes, but not bad.
What we do continue to have, however, are two major differences in style, particularly with red wines. There is the “big red wine” syndrome – as I call it – which promotes fierce tannin and strong herbal/cedar/oak over fruit, in imitation of Bordeaux. And then there are those (unfortunately still too few) who emphasize the fruit in their wines.
Because of these differences in style, I would love to see wineries be more clear on the labels and in their marketing information. Don’t be putting a bunch of “fruit” descriptors if there isn’t that much there, or if it is covered up by wood and tannin. Similarly, if it is going to sear your palate, let folks know.
I always urge people to find out the style of wine they like and then go find others like it. But they need to know what wines are like before they buy them, and winemakers can help with that.
3. More fruit, please!
Yes, this is my style bias…but it is also my blog, so I can promote it! We need more BC red wines that emphasize fruit, not wood. Tannin is fine, but there has to be enough ripe fruit underneath it to survive the time it takes for the tannin to subside.
It’s not like it can’t be done, and done well. La Frenz has been doing it from the beginning with its Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots, as have Pinot Noir producers like Blue Mountain, Kettle Valley and Eau Vivre, and Syrah makers like Nichol and Marichel. And it can also be done economically – Cassini Cellars has proved that with it’s under $20 Merlot and Pinot Noir. So come on, everybody else!
4. No more label marketing
Finally, let’s stop with the wine label marketing. Whether animals, comic book characters, drawings or rock bands – just forget it! Wine should be about what’s in the bottle, not on the outside. I have personally taken a stand against these kinds of labels (on BC wines and others from around the world).
So there you go…four simple things I wish for in 2014 from wine in BC. Will I get them? Well…I guess we will just have to wait and see!