Decade review

With the first decade of the 21st century in the books, let’s examine wine world-changing events of the past 10 years.

• Texas becomes a player. The Texas Hill Country AVA is the second-most visited in the U.S. There are more than 350 wineries in Texas, more virtually every week. The Texas High Plains AVA—thanks to its elevation above sea level and other climate pluses—emerges as a significant quality grape production area. Fasten your seat belts wine world, here comes Texas.

• Rise of rosé. Provence in France is the heart of rosé. In 2000, the U.S. imported 123,000 cases of its rosé. In 2018, the figure rose to more than two million cases. The ascendancy of pink pours over every metric. By 2017, one of every 36 bottles Americans drank was rosé. It no longer is a summer wine. The hip press calls it “Hamptons water”—referring to tony Long Island enclaves. When you combine delicious wine that is superbly food friendly, excellent quality-price ratio (QPR), and association with high end sophistication, you have a decade winner.

• Apothic ascendancy. Once there was disdain for sweet wine. Then came Galo’s Apothic. A red wine with alcohol plus a dose of residual sugar and a price point around $10, it proved again Gallo—the largest family owned winery in the world—knows the pulse of the market. The brand exploded in the past decade, consistently adding variants. Yes, Americans like high-alcohol, semi-sweet wines.

• Premiums ascendant. Wine drinkers enjoy quality. There was a time when any wine would do for a lunch or supper sipper, but the past decade persuaded many that for a few dollars more you could enjoy a superior wine. For some, spending a few dollars more reinforced their ego. For others, it pleasured their palate. Whatever, a few dollars more makes a difference, and wine buyers realized this in the past decade.

Tasting notes:

• Alamos Malbec Mendoza 2016: Fresh, firm, clean, delicious easy drinker with great balance. $10-13 Link to my review

• Llano Estacado Texas Tempranillo Cellar Reserve 2017: Nice, affordable, widely available expression of a premier Texas red grape. $14 Link to my review

• Marchesi de Frescobaldi Tenuta Perano Riserva Chianti Classico DOCG 2015: Impressive depth and complexity, checks all the boxes for a quality Chianti. $27-30 Link to my review

• Two Hands Angels’ Share Shiraz, McLaren Vale 2018: Rich, fruity, lush, silky easy drinker. $33 Link to my review

Last round: Wine. Usually cheaper than therapy. Often more effective.