With the fall “wine crush” around the corner, we talk to a winemaker and researchers to find the latest trends in this beverage category that’s seeing a resurgence.
FE&S: What are some of the trending white and red wines as of late?
JW: Chardonnay continues to be the most popular white wine varietal, but Moscato is becoming extremely popular, and a lot of new wine consumers are introduced to wine this way. Moscatos are typically sweet with notes of peaches, tangerine and white flower, particularly jasmine. They have a richer texture with a little Co2 so they are balanced on the palate, very approachable and pair well with spicy food.
FE&S: What's the winemaking process for the refreshing wines?
JW: We pick the fruit in the middle of the night to make sure the berries are cool and firm and won't become macerated from the heat during the day. Then we make sure the fruit remains cold during fermentation. White wine grapes go into fermenters as whole berries and clusters and we remove the skins to prevent bitterness. Whereas champagne grapes go through a second fermentation process, with the refreshing wines, we arrest — or stop — the fermentation when we hit the 9 percent target alcohol level rather than let them go to the normal 13 percent. This also helps retain a little residual sugar, and we add a hint of Co2 prior to bottling in order to balance out the acidity and get that refreshing characteristic.
FE&S: How do you determine wine and food pairings, other than the well-known white goes with fish and red goes with steak?
JW: I'm a not traditionalist in my wine and food pairing advice because I think people should drink what they like to drink. But generally, creamy chardonnay pairs well with several creamy cheeses and appetizers as well as with salmon, salads and chicken. Moscato pairs well with fruits because of their fruit flavor intensity, but they also go great with salads featuring candied nuts, and they pair well with anything spicy, even a pepperoni pizza. Pink Moscato champagne goes great with desserts like raspberry topped cheesecake, fruit tart or sorbet.
FE&S: How should restaurants choose their wine list?
JW: This is the job of a sommelier. But as a winemaker, I think it's good to have options that include the most popular varietals offered by the bottle and by the glass. These days it's also great to have a sparkling selection, though restaurants have usually been hesitant to include them because they might sell one glass and throw the bottle away. That's why we offer some single serve bottles of our pink Moscato bubbly.
|Domestic Table Wine||68.1%|
|Imported Table Wine||21.3%|
|Domestic Sparkling Wine||3.1%|
|Imported Sparkling Wine||2.2%|
Source: Technomic's 2014 WineTAB Report
Beer has been served from kegs for years. Now, manufacturers are developing taps for wine to boost profit margins on pours, improve quality and reduce waste. Wine taps, in addition to preventing spoilage, allow operators to offer more wines by the glass because they don't have to worry about selling an opened bottle within a day or two. One wine tap model uses a temperature- and humidity-controlled enclosed system to preserve opened wines for up to 60 days. Others allow customers to pour their own wines during special events. Most taps have separate temperature settings for white and red wines.