The Drinks Blogger NI

The 2017 Vintage

by Ciaran Meyler

The marketing department are always getting at me about never having this article in on time. The magazine editor tells them this is always the last feature to be finalised.

Well I’m happy enough with that, “save the best to last I always say”.

Except of course when you are talking about wine, I always find you should serve the best somewhere in the middle. Not too soon, as people’s palates haven’t warmed up sufficiently, and not too late as they may not be in a position to appreciate it.

You always need to season your taste buds, just like an nice amuse bouche, this helps stimulate your digestive juices and prepares your taste buds for something more exciting. I like to call it wine foreplay; it’s just a wee tease before the main event. Yes indeed, wine and food can be very sexy!

However the next piece isn’t so sexy. All across Europe the feedback from our viticulturists and oenologists is very worrying. 2017 has been another very difficult harvest, with some regions in Italy reporting the smallest harvest in 60 years.

Prosecco and most major French wine producing regions are down as much as 17%. Chablis in particular has experienced three very poor vintages. A very dry summer in Spain reduced the yields but increased the quality. This can only mean one thing, higher prices.

So what are we going to do, drink beer or gin? I don’t have a problem with you doing either of these as long as the beer is Heineken and the gin is Caorunn or Whitley Neill.

On a serious note, we will see more increases in Jan/Feb next year; this coupled with a predicted duty increase in November’s budget could see as much as 50p on a good bottle of wine.

So drink better quality but consume less, that’s my message this month.

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