LOOKING FORWARDS, BEFORE I GET LEFT BEHIND….
Trends, trending, trendy? So what’s trendy nowadays anyway? With the Cereal Killer Café on Brick Lane where you can get milk and cereal for a fiver and apparently Danger Mouse is back saving London on the CBBC, crikey, I’m getting all muddled up between what’s new, retro or just plain old. For drinks; is it fashion, is a trend in rosé wine spurred on by Brangelina or is it simply a matter of changing tastes? I’m not sure, but I’m going to take a look at a few up-and-coming wine and beer trends, a few that I hope are here to stay for a while.
Starting with rosé, much more recently than the much maligned Mateus Rosé from Portugal, there’s been a welcome shift away from the fad of sickly sweet, almost synthetic pinks from the USA, towards a drier style, namely from the Provence region in France. Now, although I’m not totally convinced that the trend lies solely on the shoulders of Brad and Angelina’s vineyard and their Château Miraval Provence Rosé, it certainly has helped. Or, possibly, our sophisticated palates have miraculously realised that this style of wine is delicious. Provence rosé is usually dry, subtle and delicate with a restrained red fruit character but, interestingly, made from grapes with all of the opposite traits such as the robust and heady Grenache, earthy Carignan and opulent Cabernet Sauvignon. Adnams predicted this trend for a drier style of rosé, and just in time for summer added a Provence Rosé to their
Adnams Selection range and it proved so very popular throughout our stores that we have had to ship every last drop the winery could let us have. It really is superb, and even though rosé is perfect as a summer apéritif wine, I think this will see you through the winter and spring too, as a delicious alternative food pairing with wintery Moroccan influenced fish or chicken dish or salads with spring lamb.
Equally, I can’t see an end to the ever-growing trend for Prosecco! It’s a global obsession now; Italians and Americans are just as mad about Prosecco as are us Brits. I’ve already heard possibly ‘enhanced’ reports of harvest shortfalls and increased demand, but I’m sure we’ll all do OK. Adnams, always on the ball, added a Prosecco to their Adnams Selection range two summers ago. You can actually get a range of styles and qualities in Prosecco, from the lighter, fruitier ‘frizzante’ style which has slightly less fizz, to the classier, drier style with concentrated fine bubbles. Cleverly, the Adnams Prosecco sits firmly in the middle ground and is perfectly popped as a crowd pleasing fizz for all occasions, be it for Friday evening telly-dinners or big, celebratory bashes with friends and family; it also comes in a magnum sized bottle if you’re that way inclined.
My greatest eye opener, in terms of wine, was a recent trip I took to Argentina. The country is currently experiencing a massive boom in sales here in the UK, boasting a massive increase of over 30% in the past twelve months. Why? The short answer is probably Malbec. The silky, juicy wine from South America’s signature grape, hits all of the right notes with red wine drinkers, ranging from the big and brash with lots of oaky, spicy/toasty flavours, to the perfect party ‘quaffer’ when the wine is kept simple and drunk fresh and young. This range in styles, but absolute consistency in quality, means that Malbec is reliable, and, I think, fairly priced. Shrewd and skilled winemaking and lots of investment in state-of-the-art kit by the wineries has certainly paid dividends. Our Adnams stores stock a range of six Argentinian Malbec, from £6.99, through to £16.99 and all of them have the typically bold flavours with varying levels of oak and spice to suit your palate. Look out for more than just ‘Malbec’ on the label as more wineries try and showcase the many sub-regions of Mendoza such as the Uco Valley and Lujan de Cuyo regions, each with their own distinct styles of Malbec. When I was there and talking to the winemakers however, I often found them enthusing more about their blended wines. They are justifiably very proud of their winemaking skills with Malbec, but often feel that this grape is still a little one dimensional on its own, and that blending the wine with Cabernet Sauvignon, or the local grape variety Bonarda (one to watch out for, I promise…), opens the possibility for more and more complex and interesting wines that retain the plump and ripe Malbec character, but take on an extra layer of complexity that the winemakers think should be embraced! As yet, they don’t seem to export very many of them, so finding these blends can be tricky, but well worth a go if you can find one.
Sticking with the theme of trends, trending and trendy, it has been interesting for me as a beer lover and working for a brewery-led company, to observe the booming ‘craft beer’ market in America, where there are now over 4000 craft breweries. The trend there is to ‘bottle’ their beer in cans; beer in cans is back – and better than ever! Aluminium is readily recyclable, lighter to transport, cheaper to produce, quicker to chill down in the fridge and you don’t need a bottle opener! The list of environmental and consumer pro’s goes on and on. Coupled with the super-quick rise of craft breweries and the massive increase of all beer sales which, like the Prosecco boom, has also been a global trend, has meant that finding a retro and cool way of defining ‘craft’ beers was needed. Lots of craft beers are now bottled in the 330ml format, partly to differentiate themselves from the more traditional 500ml bottles.
Add to that, the quality of canned beer no longer has that ‘tinny’ taste; the small format 330ml can is an obvious choice. In my opinion, no-longer should canned beer have a bad rep; some of the best new beers on the market are sold solely in cans; some of the UK’s favourite breweries now only sell cans, no more bottles. I think the Adnams ‘Jack Brand’ range is the perfect example of modern thinking from a traditional brewery. Our interpretation and production of a modern craft beer in cans has already won us awards. We now sell the ‘Jack Brand’ Crystal Rye IPA and award winning Dry Hopped Lager in 330ml cans and they are as good as ever. The move for Adnams was sparked by the popularity of the canned version of our Ghost Ship Pale Ale – which recently won gold at the inaugural Indie Beer Can Festival, which is actually ‘a thing’ now – apparently!
So it seems that whichever way you move or whatever trend you follow, you – like me – will probably catch up, albeit, eventually.
Adnams Selection Provence Rose, 75cl £8.99 or £8 when you buy 6. Adnams Selection Prosecco, 75cl £9.99, 150cl Magnum £19.99. My favourites from our range of Argentinian Malbec; Adnams Selection Malbec £8.99, Ben Marco, Uco Valley, Malbec £16.99.
Adnams Ghost Ship in 440ml cans are 4 for £5 or £26.99 for a case of 24. Adnams ‘Jack Brand’ Rye IPA and Dry Hopped Lager are available in 330ml cans at 4 for £5 or £26.99 for a case of 24.
Dan manages Adnams Cellar & Kitchen Store in Holt, north Norfolk. Born and brewed in Suffolk, Dan is a performer, song- writer and lives in Norwich.