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.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
Life and Style
i100

Latest stories from i100
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

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week