August 15, 2016

This Is the Year for New World Wines.

In every wine country, vintners anxiously scan the skies all year, hoping weather challenges will still let them make great, or at least good, wine.

So far, 2016 has been a very rough year for Europe’s vintners, with one weather catastrophe after another. Hailstorms in Barolo. Spring frosts, then mildew, in Champagne, and equally disastrous weather events in Burgundy, Chablis, and Beaujolais. In some instances, 70 percent of the crops were lost. Some tiny growers may go out of business.

Which all means the inevitable supply vs. demand result of fewer grapes and therefore less wine, no matter what the quality: Expect prices for the 2016 vintage of your favorite wines to go up, maybe way up. Right now your best bet is to hunt down French wines from the great 2015 and very good 2014 vintages (especially in Burgundy and Beaujolais) that are already on shelves.

But for 2016, it’s the New World’s turn to shine. Martinborough was New Zealand’s star region; with a perfect growing season, it’s a paradise on the country’s North Island for pinot noirs that rival Burgundy. The names to know are Craggy Range Te Muna Road and Escarpment.

by Elin McCoy

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Te Muna Road Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
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