Surprising wine blends. A penchant for citrusy, limey aromatics. And the unquenchable thirst for Pinot grigio. These are some of the wine trends that have been identified for 2011 by a gang of oenophiles and their crystal-gazing wine goblet.
At this year's London International Wine Fair, which starts Tuesday, May 17, organizers and wine experts will highlight five different themes where the buzz is strongest: aromatics, Pinots, Rhone varietals around the world, natural, organic and biodynamic and surprising wines.
It's where attendees will sample ‘surprising wines' not normally accessible in generic, mainstream liquor stores, said show spokesman Naomi Broadfoot. Wines like the Rotgipfler from Austria, a grape variety used for white wine that's been described as a zesty and intensely fruity wine.
Wines from Hungary and Germany with different indigenous grape varietals will also be sampled.
Zevenwacht from South Africa is also being featured as a ‘surprising wine' for its unusual blend of grapes: 40 percent Sauvignon blanc, 34 percent Viognier, and 26 percent Chardonnay.
"To lot these grapes together is unusual," Broadfoot told Relaxnews. "Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay aren't usually blended together because they're so different but it will be very interesting to taste."
Meanwhile, the show will also be tapping into the British love affair with Pinot grigio -- "Everyone goes mad for it," -- by featuring a variety of Pinot noirs from New Zealand and Alsace France, she added.
Aromatics are also evolving. In the world of white wines, Rieslings and Gewürztraminer have become increasingly popular for their limey, citrusy notes and for being ‘approachable' wines. Flinty, metallic characteristics reminiscent of 'pencil shavings' are also being detected in popular consumer choices.
"People are definitely moving away from the pure fruit and moving towards more restrained, elegant characteristics," Broadfoot said.
The same reasons could be attributed to the ever-growing popularity of Prosecco, the cheaper alternative to champagne.
"People find the style of Prosecco more approachable than champagne, which can be too heavy and too dry," she said.
The London International Wine Fair starts Tuesday, May 17 and runs through May 19.