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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016!

John Tilson • 12/29/15        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share

 

happy new year 2016

It’s always hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again. The New Year 2016 is almost here. Beginning in 2011, after our first year as an online publication, I published my reflections on the past year and fearless wine forecasts for the upcoming year. Many things did occur and most trends were intact, but I again found that things sometimes just do not happen as fast as we expect. After all, so far, no one has perfected the ability to predict with certainty! So last year I did a review of the initial forecast. And, going forward, I will continue to update the forecasts. Below, in chronological order from the most recent, are the annual reviews and forecasts which you can click on to read:

12/30/2014 Happy New Year 2015
12/30/2013 Happy New Year 2014
12/30/2012 Happy New Year 2013
12/30/2011 Happy New Year 2012

Last year’s article basically updated the wine predictions of previous years. And, what I will also say is that I still believe that wine is evolving and gaining popularity in this country and that over time we will continue to see change. That’s good.

But, I want to emphasize that The Underground is exclusively a wine consumer publication. I am a consumer and what I care about is finding the best traditional food friendly wines and reporting as accurately as I can. Along the way, an important part of the Underground is to alert wine consumers what to look for whether it is wine fraud or unknown ingredients being added to wine.

In the first Happy New Year article, I published The Wine Consumer’s Bill of Rights and since it is the heart and soul of what The Underground is about I am reprinting it here as I have each year:

The Wine Consumer’s Bill of Rights

  • The right to know all the ingredients in each bottle of wine available for sale.
  • The right to have full disclosure of all ingredients on the back label of every wine available for sale.
  • The right to question anything that is presented which seems inaccurate or not understandable (including wine descriptions).
  • The right to know how wines are tasted and evaluated by wine publications and wine writers.
  • The right to know if the person tasting the wine is also writing the evaluation.

The first two are the most important and impact everyone who drinks wine. The last three only impact those who are addicted to numbers for their wine purchases. However, in all instances the issue is clarity, truth, transparency, and, of course, the consumer’s right to know.

And, as so far as the other predictions are concerned, those involving wine fraud are the most important for those who are interested in or own, buy, cellar, and drink old wines or expensive wines. And, also troubling is the issue of Premox which is something that should concern everyone involved with White Burgundy and perhaps even those who are aging expensive high alcohol low acid red wines (to read about Premox and why you should be concerned click here). Unfortunately, after nearly 20 years Premox still seems to be with us and maybe in other wines was well as White Burgundies. Finally, the predictions and information regarding what ingredients are going into wine and wine ingredient labeling should be of utmost importance to everyone who drinks wine.

These two subjects: wine fraud and wine ingredient labeling are the two major wine consumer issues and The Underground is squarely focused on them.

the road behind 1

So, very briefly, let’s focus on the year now passing and look at the 2015 articles which you can click on to read. And then we will take a look at the year ahead.

My 2015 Underground Wine Line articles focused on traditional wines and the issue of ingredient labeling and additives in wine. The Back To The Future article is particularly interesting because it features an association of growers and producers who are dedicated to producing only traditional wines.  Also, there were articles on the attraction of rosé wines, Premox, wine ingredient labeling, packaging for inexpensive wines, and a report of what to expect from the 2015 Burgundy vintage. Click on each title to read the article.

BACK TO THE FUTURE
A VIEW OF THE 2015 BURGUNDY VINTAGE IN ADVANCE OF THE ANNUAL UNDERGROUND WINELETTER TRIP TO BURGUNDY TO TASTE THE 2014S
I HATE TO TELL YOU “I TOLD YOU SO” BUT “I TOLD YOU SO!”
WHAT’S IN YOUR WINE GLASS?
MORE ON BIB WINE
THE JUDGMENT OF MOSCOW
ROSÉ WINES AND THE GREAT ROSÉS OF PROVENCE
A SHOT OUT OF THE BLUE: WE HAVE A NEW ENTRY IN THE WINE INGREDIENT LABELING DERBY
PREMOX: “WHEREFORE ART THOU?”

Featured Articles included many of my favorite wines and wineries. There are lots of great wines and wine values in these articles including a report on what look to be some of the best wines ever produced by Ridge.

RIDGE VINEYARDS & THE DROUGHT YEARS 2012-2015
BONNY DOON VINEYARD: A PIONEER PRODUCER WHERE OLD IS NEW
VISIT TO CALERA & NEW AND OLD WINES
DIAMOND CREEK VINEYARDS
TYLER WINERY
MARIETTA CELLARS
CHANIN WINE COMPANY & LUTUM WINES
MASSICAN WINERY
DOMAINE BALLOT-MILLOT

DOMAINE SAUMAIZE-MICHELIN
ALONG THE BURGUNDY TRAIL – VINTAGE 2013

Distinctive New Wines featured many new wines including rosés, California wines from some great producers, wines from Burgundy and a wine surprise in a box! This is a very good shopping list as these are some of my favorite wines.

SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAIN VINEYARD AND QUINTA CRUZ
2014 ROSÉS – IS IT THE SEASON OR THE END OF THE SEASON?
TABLAS CREEK VINEYARD

2014 FRENCH ROSÉS

MORE 2014 ROSÉS

WINE IN A BOX?

RIDGE VINEYARDS – SPRING 2015 RELEASES
DOMAINE FRÉDÉRIC ESMONIN
NEW RELEASES FROM THE CENTRAL COAST – CALERA AND TABLAS CREEK VINEYARD
ROSÉ TIME?

TABLAS CREEK VINEYARD

Cellar Notes featured an article on great old Mount Eden Vineyards magnums of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

MOUNT EDEN VINEYARDS

Food and Wine featured some wonderful food and lots of great old wines as well as an article on iconic chef Wolfgang Puck who has provided so much pleasure to all of us over some 40 years. Also, there is the article covering every vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon made by Mount Eden Vineyards from the beginning in 1972 to 2012. This is the first time all these wines have ever been tasted together. The Cabernets are just amazing and belong in the cellar of everyone who loves California Cabernet.

A GRAND WINE & FOOD DINNER IN VANCOUVER
MOUNT EDEN VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 41 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE
VANCOUVER RARITIES DINNER FEBRUARY 3, 2015 FEATURING BURGUNDY

AN APPRECIATION OF WOLFGANG PUCK

RARE VINTAGE PORT TASTING 1927–1963, FEATURING QUINTA DO NOVAL NACIONAL

A GRAND FOOD & WINE EVENT FEATURING OLD CALIFORNIA CABERNETS FROM INGLENOOK AND DIAMOND CREEK

LEROY TASTING

Wine Press and Wine Notes provided information on 2015 charity wine auctions and a report on early arriving 2014 Provence Rosés.

CHARITY WINE AUCTIONS ANNOUNCE EXCITING EVENTS FOR 2015
2014 PROVENCE ROSÉS

crystal ball 2
My view of the 2016 wine industry includes the following things:

  • More California wineries will continue to focus on and promote their traditional winemaking. This will hopefully include more wineries who adopt ingredient labeling.
  • More stories will appear about things that are being added to wines.
  • Wine price trends will continue to show pressure on many ultra-high priced wines with Burgundy being perhaps the sole exception.
  • Expect to get lots of information about the 2014 Burgundy wines with a lot of noise about the 2015s which may diminish the interest in the 2014s. Our visit to Burgundy in November will shed more light on the quality and consistency of the 2015 vintage.
  • We will receive more news on wine fraud as the ball of string continues to unwind. And, while I expect more information to come out, I do not think that we are at the end of the road for wine fraud. There is simply too much money to be made and people still are not well educated as to what constitutes fraudulent wine.
  • We will learn of more incidences of Premox in White Burgundies with a possible link to Premox in some alcoholic and low acid red wines.
  • The rosé band wagon will continue to add a lot of new comers as the wonderful 2015s start to come to market.
  • More and more information on Champagne will appear with lots of new small grower Champagnes continuing to find their way to the US market.
  • The wine dialogue focusing on the differences in wine from the heavy extracted wines to the more food friendly and balanced wines will continue.

And, as for my new years resolutions for The Underground here they are:

  • I have been drinking a lot of my older Champagnes and hope to publish an article on old Champagnes. I also hope to buy, taste, drink, and write about more new Champagne releases.
  • I plan on drinking and publishing more articles on old wines.
  • I will visit more of my favorite California wineries; and, hopefully, a few new ones, for information on new wines.
  • And, of course, I will make my annual trip to Burgundy to taste the 2015s with possible side trips to the Jura and Switzerland.

In closing, let me take a moment to present my 2016 New Year’s message with a focus on the road ahead and a brief nostalgic look back at the beginning of The Underground Wineletter:

the road ahead 5

The New Year 2016 is the road ahead. This is our 7th year as an on line publication and the 37th year since the first Underground Wineletter debuted. When the online Underground first appeared I spelled out the history in the article below (click to read): THE UNDERGROUND IS BACK! And, when the original print version of The Underground Wineletter appeared I wrote in Volume I, Number 4 (to read that issue click here) the following article which was reprinted as we started the online Underground: WHY THE “UNDERGROUND” WINELETTER? ARE WE TERRORISTS?

So it has been a long road, but one filled with joy and satisfaction. This is primarily a result of the great people I have met as well as the great wines I have discovered. So, once again, I would like to take a moment to thank all of you who have joined the on line Underground to pursue the wine road ahead. Also, I would like to encourage all of you to please pass along The Underground Wineletter to your friends and encourage them to subscribe. The wine road is never ending and there’s always something new just around the bend. We are always learning and the journey is a lot of fun. That’s a win/win! Happy New Year!!

new year champagne bottle

In Vino Veritas,Sig

John Tilson

 

 

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4 comments for “HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016!”

  1. John, thank YOU! Your articles are so practical and causing me to evolve a whole new perspective on wine – and in fact life. Trusting my ‘own’ taste and judgment, and not relying upon scores and thinking about ingredient labeling what we could be ingesting are bold ideas and it seems that the industry is finally catching on. And ironically a parallel that can be applied to many other things in life.
    Keep up the good fight and please keep the articles coming, I find each one to be a new revelation!
    Happy new year and best regards,
    Matt

    Posted by Matthew Kravitz | December 30, 2015, 9:02 am
  2. “A Simple Explanation of Burgundy”, a few years ago, was clear, concise and altogether magnificent.
    Bordeaux is much easier, perhaps not requiring a “simple” explanation, but Bordeaux doubtless comprises many charming refinements most of us don’t know. Maybe 2016 will bring a “Not so Simple Explanation of Bordeaux”. I live in hope.
    Thank you for your wonderful wine commentary over the decades.
    Bonne Annee,
    Bill

    Posted by Bill Tisch | December 30, 2015, 12:46 pm
  3. Thanks so much Matt. Your comments are much appreciated. So long as I am able I will continue on the wine road and share my findings as best I know how. Please share The Underground with your friends.
    Happy New Year! Tonight it is Champagne and Ridge Monte Bello for us – a mag of Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle and a mag of 1985 Monte Bello. And, yes there will be more than just the 2 of us.
    In Vino Veritas,
    John

    Posted by John Tilson | December 31, 2015, 1:44 pm
  4. Thanks Bill for your kind comments.
    I must confess that my knowledge of Bordeaux is confined to the classified growths and certain producers in Pomerol and Saint Emilion. And, I have not bought Bordeaux in many years. My attention for some time has been focused on Burgundy. I guess I am following some of the old English wine writers in that respect. And, at least for sure I am now old! What I do have is a lot of old Bordeaux from the period of the 20s into the 90s. These I love and drink when ever the occasion arises. We will be having a birthday function for our old friend Ed Lazarus here in a couple of weeks and will be drinking old Bordeaux including a magnum of 1947 Mouton Rothschild from Ed’s cellar. We do this every year and it always seems to feature old Bordeaux. Last year amongst other things we had a phenomenal magnum of 1929 Rausan Segla. It was amazing since almost all 1929s have been tired for some time. That’s the thrill of the hunt!
    Happy New Year!
    In Vino Veritas,
    John

    Posted by John Tilson | December 31, 2015, 2:00 pm

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