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:
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.
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 
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.
- 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 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!!
In Vino Veritas,