As 2019 continues to unfold, it’s fascinating to find out from wine experts which wine trends they expect to see this year. In this blog, we’re looking at French wine trends for 2019 in particular, and finding out which grape varieties, wine styles and regions will be successful.
Consumer concerns impact French wine trends
With an increasing focus on the environmental impact of the wine industry, we can expect to see fairtrade, organic and responsible farming to increase. Nicolas Emereau, director of Alliance Loire says: “People are concerned about wine’s environmental impact, and also additives. In 2019, we should rediscover the wines from the cool French regions: Burgundy, Alsace and Loire Valley have their role to play. The main thing, in my mind, will be the reds. With the 2018 vintage, we could change the ideas that many people have about reds from northern regions.”
White French wines popular in the UK
As well as an increased interest in reds from northern France, the love affair between UK consumers and French white wines will continue. British wine lovers are turning more towards lighter, more expressive whites.
Deputy director of Central-Loire Valley Wines, Edouard Mognetti, says: “British consumers love white wines, and especially Sauvignon Blanc. I’m confident this love affair will continue in 2019. What is changing, however, is that they are no longer just looking for a wine: they are looking for stories, for expertise, for terroir.”
Mr Mognetti says that Sauvignon Blanc wines from the Centre-Loire region fulfils this: “As British wine drinkers increasingly turn to lighter but expressive wines, they will also enjoy exploring single varietal Pinot Nor and blends of Pinot and Gamay.”
Higher altitude wines more popular
According to Gabirle Meffre’s export manager, Anthony Taylor, varieties of wines in the Côtes du Rhône region are becoming more popular. He says: “Clairette is enjoying renewed interest, and also Bourboulenc, thanks to its brisk acidity. The Rhône Valley will become more popular, with a focus on higher altitude wines, such as those from Dentelles, Ventoux and St Péray.He also expects to see a shift towards “elegant, crisp whites with good minerality”, and for reds, trends will include vibrant, fresh and juicy styles.
We can also expect an upsurge in high quality pale rosé wines throughout 2019, according to the chief agronomist at Foncalieu, Gabriel Reutsch. He expects… “single varietal Versant Grenache rose from the IGP Pay’s d’Oc or the Piquepoul rosé, which uses the forgotten grape variety Piquepoul Noir to make a modern style wine” to be popular.
The importance of sustainability
Whether consumers are buying wine online, or heading to taster sessions at wine makers, there is an increasing focus on sustainability. The director of Domaine Grand Mayne, Mathieu Crosnier, goes as far as to say that sustainability is more important than the vineyard’s name.
He says: “The time when the quality of the wine or the name of the vineyard were the most important thing is over. Now, consumers want to drink quality with the assurance of sustainability. The finesse, the freshness, the balance of the wines are a lot more important than the varieties of the grape.” For Mr Crosnier, character and identity are vital for consumers. He points towards the south-west region of France as popular due to its identity-driven vineyards.