1966 and all that

wine

If early reports of a good Bordeaux harvest are not exaggerated, expect considerable clamour for the 1996s, especially the Medocs, when wine merchants offer them in the spring. The excellent, if expensive,1995 red and white burgundies, will also be in much demand with offers spanning the next few months.

Few regions will match the south of France for affordable red and white vins de pays. At the same time, syrah-influenced reds from Faugeres, St Chinian, Costieres de Nimes, Roussillon and the Coteaux du Languedoc will give the Rhone a run for its francs.

A millennium-fuelled run on vintage champagnes from the excellent 1988, 1989 and 1990 trio of vintages is a possibility. Beware of sharks milking scare stories of shortages though. And resist apparently unmissable offers of vintage champagne and port, not to mention whisky casks, from shady operators.

The plentiful 1990 vintage is only now appearing on the market with1990 Pommery, Bollinger and Roederer already showing considerable class, while Duval-Leroy Blanc de Blancs and Jacquart look like good bets in the value for money stakes.

Italy has largely weathered the storm of its new price structure although frascati and soave look set for further price rises and chianti will also be dearer. The peninsula's somewhat sparse middle range will at least be fleshed out with some good Puglian reds from the native negroamaro and uva di troia grapes and affordable Sicilian rosso.

Except in Rioja, which enjoyed a third successive quality harvest, Spanish prices should ease. Navarra, Somontano and high quality dry whites from Galicia's albarino grape will be names to watch in 1997.

On Germany's twin track of quality and quantity, estate Mosel riesling will continue to sell, albeit to the converted. Mass market lieb though is likely to be gradually replaced by cleaner, drier "new-wave" German styles such as Asda's Wild Boar Riesling and the ubiquitous Devil's Rock. Austria's revival should see long overdue recognition for its high quality dry riesling and native gruner veltliner.

Eastern Europe has suffered from the long-term neglect of its vineyards and lack of incentives to plant, but Hungary's whites should continue to improve with good value sauvignon, chardonnay and wines from the native harslevelu and furmint grapes.

Thanks to a superabundant 1996 harvest, Australia's recovery from the 1995 blip looks assured with quality chardonnays such as Lindemans Bin 65 and Penfolds Koonunga Hill committed to sticking at under a fiver. Due to worldwide demand, however, expect increases of pounds 1 or more on premium Aussie reds.

Kiwi whites, Marlborough sauvignon blanc especially, will once again make an impact with the 1996 vintage, and the world will wake up to its world-class pinot noir, albeit made in homeopathic quantities, from the likes of Fromm, Giesen and Dry River.

American demand is the likely key to Chilean wine prices. Even if they do increase, Chile will continue to make waves with brilliant value merlot and classy cabernet sauvignon. With names such as Norton and Catena, Argentina too is getting hotter by the hour.

South Africa's producers will continue to respond to the opening-up of markets overseas. Premium reds, however, are in perilously short supply, while the demand for the Cape's cheap white plonk is dwindling. The Cape badly needs to improve its image by fleshing out its scanty middle range.

With a mostly generous 1996 vintage tucked under its belt, and a stronger pound, there is no reason why the wine trade shouldn't keep prices competitive this year. At the same time, clear signs that Britain's wine drinkers recognise - and will pay more for - quality can only trickle back down the supply chain in the most positive way.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Recruitment Consultant (Trainee), Finchley Central, London

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    Day In a Page

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn