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Calling time on flavourless wine

By Richard at Great Grog

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I was reading an article from long-standing Scottish wine writer Tom Cannavan (wine-pages.com) about how rubbish restaurant wine is.

This set me wondering about the state of wine drinking in the UK at the moment.

We’re in the midst of a gin boom, albeit quite a pricey one. There’s also a huge rise of craft breweries, also served at a hefty price. And when the sun shines the ubiquitous Aperol Spritz is seen on every street corner with outdoor seating.

Where does wine sit within all of this?

The average wine struggles to compete. The real problem for me is that an average wine these days isn’t even that – I mean it isn’t even average quality. That’s partly due to supermarkets racing to the lowest possible price with a resultant crash in quality.

Labels look good but flavour is lacking – exactly the same problem that afflicts tomatoes in my opinion. Supermarkets are now chasing sweeter styles of tomato, but are they confusing sweetness with flavour?

The lower priced, lower flavour infection has also contaminated restaurant wine lists.

Wine seems to be driven to the lowest possible price point whereas gin seems to get more and more expensive. Where is the logic in that?

Nothing is ever new and particularly in the drinks trade everything goes in cycles.

Lager almost killed craft ales 30 years ago and yet now there are more craft breweries in Scotland than ever before (100 plus on the interactive map on VisitScotland.com).

I’m rather hoping current restaurant wine lists are hitting the low point in their cycle and wine lists will start to get more interesting and varied soon.

I’m getting pretty bored of wines from made-up names. I can often recognise the grape, the country and maybe even the region, but the actual producers are often made-up. I came across one example which has Merlot from South Africa, Chardonnay from Australia and Pinot Grigio from Moldova. Is this the lager of the wine trade?

Little wonder people are turning away from wine and are seeking more flavour and are happy to pay for it.

I may be sounding doom and gloom, however Oddbins may have gone bust (again) and Majestic may be closing branches and rebranding into Naked.

But I feel quite optimistic for the future of wine. Every time I host a wine tasting and people try a wine and get excited about it, my life is fulfilled! I may be swimming against the tide, but I’m quite a good swimmer.

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