Buyer’s Guide to VINTAGES April 30 Release

John Szabo’s Vintage’s Preview April 30: “A Meal without Wine is a Bit Sad,” and Classic Regions

By John Szabo, MS with notes from Michael Godel and Megha Jandhyala (David and Sara are away)

A Meal without Wine is a Bit Sad

Despite ongoing worldwide disruptions to economies and supply chains, skyrocketing production costs caused by fuel increases, rising “dry goods” costs such as bottles, corks, labels, and cardboard, and ballooning shipping costs, and a dreadfully challenging 2021 vintage, among other alarming happenings, the European wine industry is showing remarkably strong resilience, supported by consumers, voters and politicians across the EU.

Perhaps most crucially, the European parliament voted in late February to reject recommended cigarette package-style health warnings on wine labels, which, had they been accepted, might have triggered the end of EU funding for industry promotion upon which the industry is heavily reliant (along with countless thousands of PR companies around the world).

In France, incumbent president Emmanuel Macron, who famously said, “a meal without wine is a bit sad,” defeated Marine Le Pen in the run-off election in late April. Unlike some of his predecessors, like Nicolas Sarkozy who preferred Coca-Cola, and Jacques Chirac who was fond of Corona, Macron is a staunch defender of drinking wine, openly admitting to drinking two glasses a day (who doesn’t under-report?). Earlier this year, La Revue du Vin de France (the country’s most significant wine magazine) named President Macron “personality of the year” thanks to his industry support, the first for a French President. The closely watched election victory has been called by some observers a victory for the French wine industry, the world’s second largest producer and third largest exporter (2020 stats). Despite strong urging by winegrowing unions across France, however, citizens in parts of Champagne, Provence, Languedoc, Corsica and Alsace still voted for Le Pen. Of course, non-winemakers are voters, too.

In the fine wine arena, UK-based Sotheby’s auction house netted a record-smashing total of $132-million (U.S.) in sales in 2021, up 44 percent on Covid-affected 2020; and 12 percent ahead of 2019, thanks mainly to the reopening of wine-and-spirits auctions in France. Liv-ex, the London-based global marketplace for the wine trade, reported recently that its “Fine Wine 50” index has remained stable over the past quarter, and has outperforming the major markets, such as the FTSE100 and Dow Jones.

So, while you should expect to pay more for all wine in the near future, there are signs that the industry is strong and here to stay, at least for now. After all, a meal without wine is quite sad indeed.

Introducing WineAlign Understudy Megha Jandhyala

Megha Jandhyala has a doctorate in law and is WSET 3 certified. She is currently enrolled in the Advanced Sommelier program. She writes about wine and, though she is passionate about wines from all over the world, she is especially interested in emerging wine regions, such as Valle de Guadalupe in Mexico and Nashik in India. She explores the relationship between wine and food in her writing, with a focus on cuisine from the Indian subcontinent. She hopes to highlight the ways in which wine and different expressions of subcontinental regional cuisine can enhance one another, sparking new conversations in the process.

Many of you will have already noticed her reviews on WineAlign and you’ll be seeing more in the future.

Vintages Buyer’s Guide April 30: White & Rosé & Sparkling

Medici Ermete & Figli Arte E Concerto Lambrusco 2020

Medici Ermete & Figli Arte E Concerto Lambrusco 2020, Emilia Romagna, Italy
$20.95, Profile Wine Group (VinVino)
Megha Jandhyala – Perfectly ripe raspberries, strawberries, sour cherries, and fresh wildflowers abound here, while silky tannins, zesty acidity, and a refreshing effervescence make this a versatile and food-friendly wine.
Michael Godel – Re-tasting the Concerto as often as possible is a really prime idea because it reveals new elements each time. This occasion brings about an aromatic whoosh that makes your eyes go wide and sets up for a fresh view of flavours on display. Blackberries never assembled so vividly in Lambrusco and here they do so with power, accent and grip.

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That’s all for this report. See you around the next bottle.

John Szabo, MS

Use these quick links for access to all of our Top Picks in the New Release. Non-Premium members can select from all release dates 30 days prior.

Szabo’s Smart Buys
Megha’s Mega Picks
Sara’s Selections
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New Release and VINTAGES Preview

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