The world is rapidly evolving around us, and wine is no exception to that. There are new varieties, grapes and processes being created constantly, bringing new wines to the market. Here we’ve listed our top 3 wines to look out for in 2022.
Croatia recently joined the European Union, and with that came access to and assistance with, the development of their wine regions and promotion of their wines. Like many eastern European countries, Croatia has some fascinating native grape varieties. Though often hard to pronounce, grapes like Žlahtina & Plavac Mali produce top quality, characterful wines capable of ageing. Also, did you know that genetic profiling placed Zinfandel’s ancestor not just to Primitivo in Italy, but even further back in history to Croatia’s Crljenak Kaštelanski and Plavac Mali?
As Croatian wines begin to emerge on the export market, look out for them being stocked in your local merchant at very attractive prices compared to their more well known European counterparts in a whole range of styles- white, red, rose, sparkling, sweet and dry.
New categories and styles in Rioja
In a bid to both protect the proud heritage and quality of the Rioja name, whilst embracing new trends and tastes in wine, the Rioja designation recently authorised a revolutionary raft of new grape varieties, single vineyard designations and a brand new category of sparkling Rioja wines. Though the launch of these were typically modest of the Riojanos, post pandemic they are very keen to promote these exciting new wines.
Look out for exceptional fresh whites from Garnacha Blanca, Maturana Blanca & Tempranillo Blanco as well as age worthy reds and interesting rose from Maturana Tinta, Mazuelo & Graciano. Many producers are also forcing a rethink of the abilities of Garnacha Tinta with superb old vine single vineyard bottlings. Though currently only a small number of sparkling wines are labelled under the new Rioja designation (many parts of Rioja are also entitled to use the term Cava), this will no doubt be a growing category. Many of the aged categories exceed even Champagne’s strict minimums!
It’s no secret that fortified wines are not en-vogue now with many wine consumers. In an effort to expand the potential of the Sherry region and avert a catastrophic decline in sales, the most radical reforms for the past 50 years were brought in. These included a wider use of grape varieties, some not seen for centuries, and the practice of ‘fortifying’ (adding neutral alcohol to the wine to increase %abv) no longer being required if the natural sugar ripeness in the grapes allows for an alcohol level of 15%abv or above. There are more changes being discussed, including dropping minimum ageing requirements. We may start to see lighter styles and table wines appear once again from the region.