The 2020 wines are now [January] being offered en primeur but 2021 was a short vintage and with producers feeling the pinch of having far fewer full barrels in the cellar this is likely to have an impact on prices and availability of the 2020s. “The worst I heard was a St Aubin producer who would normally make 40 barrels and has made four [in 2021],” says Jason Haynes of Flint Wines. And how are the 2020s? Burgundy expert and resident Jasper Morris says, “Even though the growing season might not have suggested it, it’s turned out to be a really textbook vintage in the whites.”
Wine growers work closely with the land and are more mindful than ever that it needs to be looked after. You might not notice it, but the wine in your glass is increasingly likely to be produced according to sustainable principles. Producers are even taking a good, hard look at traditional packaging: a debate at Wine Paris Vinexpo Paris 2022, an international wine trade fair is (somewhat provocatively) titled “Is it the end for glass bottles?”
Zero alcohol is the biggest trend in drink right now and has been for three or four years, and restaurants are set to tantalise our palates with ever more imaginative no and low drinks. There has been a wave of zero alcohol spirit substitutes; drinks like Jukes Cordialities made from cider vinegar and fruits; low-alcohol beers and some very successful no-alcohol takes on Italian bitters. But low and no is branching out; low and no is going ever more epicurean. Saicho has just launched the first sparkling tea in its new rare tea series. Saicho Eight Immortals is a rare Dan Cong oolong tea Phoenix Mountain in China and more rare teas are planned for 2022. Meanwhile more and more restaurants will be offering carefully developed ‘soft pairings’ menus, like the one at Māos in East London where seasonal ‘living juices’ flavoured, for example, with lychee, myrtle branch and Japanese quince, are prepared to match the food.