Anthony Rose: Will 2012 be a good year for wine?

Imagine it's a year from now. The turbulent events of 2012 seem so obvious with the benefit of a rear-view mirror. True, we'd already seen wine sales starting to spiral downwards, but isolation from Europe coupled with yet another above-inflation tax hike brought gloom if not quite doom to what was left of the high street. The new Oddbins and Wine Racks clung on. George Osborne riffled greedily through our pocket but failed to spot the gaping hole in it.

Chinese investment in Bordeaux real estate led it to be dubbed the new Chinatown. But after two great vintages in 2009 and 2010, Bordeaux flopped with 2011. Châteaux fell over themselves in the stampede to sell mediocre wines without reducing prices enough. Burgundy was France's star in 2011. Selling the fine 2010 vintage just as the Far East sent in the nose patrol to sniff out its finest wines highlighted its excellence and popularity.

Released from the crushing weight of Bordeaux and Burgundy, France's South-West took wing. We saw some stunning malbecs from Cahors, discovering the native Len de l'El grape of Gaillac and the gros and petit mansengs of Jurançon. In France's south-western corner, Roussillon found its voice with robust reds and whites made from ancient grenache. German pinot noir came of age, while Andalucia spread the briny pleasures of manzanilla and fino to the tapas bars of England.

Peace broke out in the Middle East as Israel, Lebanon and Turkey shared the spotlight on the international wine rostrum. England exceeded expectations with plaudits for its award-winning fizz, from, among others, Gusborne, Ridgeview and Camel Valley. And we toasted Croatia's accession to the EU with Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Malvasia Istriana and Tesco's Finest Plavac Mali.

We began to make out the contours of some exciting New World regions. In Australia, Victoria's Mornington Peninsula came into focus as a world beater for pinot noir and chardonnay. Beechworth and Heathcote hove into view. Argentina's Uco Valley showed new levels of refinement with the malbec grape. Chile's forgotten Maule Valley was suddenly remembered for the greatness of its old vine heritage.

As the hype surrounding natural wine abated, the natural wine movement acquired a sense of humour, even endorsing the ongoing trend towards more natural, less processed wines. A £100,000 prize was offered for anyone who could tweet an intelligent term for terroir, minerality and sustainability, but no one could do it in 140 characters, so the competition was dropped.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
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

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Day In a Page

    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
    The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

    The ZX Spectrum is back

    The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
    Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

    Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

    The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

    If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
    The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

    The quirks of work perks

    From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
    Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

    Is bridge becoming hip?

    The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
    Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

    The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

    Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
    The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

    The rise of Lego Clubs

    How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
    5 best running glasses

    On your marks: 5 best running glasses

    Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
    Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada