Wall Street Journal wine columnist Lettie Teague has a good piece this morning suggesting that this may be one of the best times ever to enjoy wine.
There are, she says, four reasons:
• For a variety of reasons, there seem to be far fewer bottles of wine contaminated by cork taint.
• Screw-top bottles are ascendant: "Screw-capped bottles reliably deliver wine that is fresh and contaminant-free (see cork taint, above). They are also easy to open and close. And in my experience, an open bottle of wine outfitted with a screw cap will stay fresh a bit longer than one closed with a cork."
• The embrace of the unfamiliar: "Today, I see open-minded wine drinkers - many of them younger and perhaps less fettered by convention - embracing grapes whose names they might be unsure how to pronounce. They are crazy for Carricante from the Etna region of Sicily and Alvarinho from Portugal’s far western edge; for Mencia, that fragrant red grape from Galicia, or Torrontes, the quixotic white grape grown in the same high-elevation vineyards of Argentina that produce that country’s more-famous red grape, Malbec."
• The acceptance and versatility of low-alcohol wines: "Increasingly, wine drinkers are seeking out wines that are naturally lower in alcohol - lightly sparkling pétillant-natural ('pet-nat') wines, for instance, and wines from cooler climates—many of them highly food-friendly. I’m thinking of Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley in France and Pinot Noirs from the Anderson Valley in Mendocino, Calif., as well as glorious Mosel Rieslings from Germany. These are some of the lower-alcohol wines I love, and more and more oenophiles are discovering them, too. Of course it doesn’t hurt that drinking a lower-alcohol wine with your dinner tends to leave you feeling better the following day."