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Wine: Bright Note in a Bleak Economy?

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Here's an interesting news story from AFP that I meant to post a little ways back. It discusses how worldwide demand for wine is apt to keep increasing despite the economic doldrums we're all in, largely thanks to the rapidly growing Russian and Chinese markets.

This follows on the heels (the somewhat rapidly receding heels, as it was a couple of weeks ago) of a Wine Market Council presentation I went to on consumer wine trends, where among other things I learned that wine was actually up last year, somewhere around 3.8% for the  thirteen weeks through December 15, and up 4.8% over the 52 weeks preceding that date. Not exactly boom times, but this was a substantially better performance than most of the other categories that Nielsen tracks (though not flour and dry vegetables/grains, which were up about 35% each—lots of people staying home to cook these days).

Anyway, unsurprisingly, the parts of the wine world that are growing fastest at the moment are the under-$10 realm (the $0-$2.99 segment is booming, though I'm not sure exactly what wines besides Two-Buck Chuck live in that world). The over-$20 zone? Hm. Not so good.

There were other hot-not notes to the presentation—Argentina? Hot. France? Not. Pinot Noir? Hot. Syrah/Shiraz? Not. I also learned that—and this is just in the channels that Nielsen surveys, which leaves out a lot of small, boutiquey wine shops—there are 13,698 different wines floating around out there on store shelves. 

So here's one of those 13,698 that I liked when I tasted it recently: the 2007 Gai'a Nótios White ($13, find this wine). Yes, it's Greek, but don't worry—if you haven't explored Greek wines recently, you should, because particularly for fans of crisp, focused, seafood-friendly whites, Greece has become a terrific resource. This bottle, a 50/50 blend of Moscofilero and Roditis, smells of spiced stone fruits and shows lots of lemon-lime citrus backed up by mouthwatering acidity. It would be great with this recipe for shrimp saganaki, created by my pal Grace Parisi in the F&W test kitchen.

 

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