Vol. 1, No. 13, April 12, 1999
© Copyright 1999 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.
Who'll have the first Vintage Y2K?
It's a sure bet that there'll be an international race to be first. No one knows who'll win, but here are a few safe assumptions about the first "Nouveau Y2K":
* It will certainly be grown in the Southern Hemisphere. The seasons south of the equator are "upside down," with summer in December and winter in June; so autumn, the harvest season in grape-growing climates, may start as early as February, when we in the north are still waiting for spring.
* It won't come from an equatorial country, as the climate in the tropics won't support wine grapes. The major wine-producing countries in the Southern Hemisphere are Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and Argentina, with limited wine production in places like Uruguay, Brazil, Peru and Zimbabwe. Your first wine of 2000 will be from one of these countries, I'm sure.
* It won't be a hearty red wine or heavy dessert wine. These wines require substantial aging in tanks, vats, barrels and bottles before they come to market. The quickest wines to market are the "nouveau" styles akin to Beaujolais, and very light and fresh whites.
My best guess? Someone in one of the hotter regions of Australia will crank out a "Nouveau Beaujolais," a light, fruity red, made from the first red grapes they can harvest. If they are able to get the grapes picked in February, they could have a Vintage 2000 wine on the market by April. (On the other hand, don't count out a savvy North American mass-market winery with properties in South America, such as the huge Canandaigua Wine Co., which produces a jug wine called Marcus James from grapes grown in ... Brazil.)
Many thanks to Greg Ciosek for posing this question. If you have a theory about the first Y2K wine, I hope you'll write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, as always, please don't hesitate to drop us a line if you'd like to comment on our topics and tasting notes, suggest a topic for a future bulletin, or just talk about wine.
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Pale straw color. Appetizing musky melon and citric aromas, fresh and full, lead into ripe, juicy fruit flavors that follow the nose, structured with steely acidity. Robust and complex, a wine that my wife declares "is a white trying to be red." She's right! U. S. importer: Seagram Chateau & Estates Wines Co., NYC. (April 10, 1999)
FOOD MATCH: Perfect with fresh spring asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and baked with fontina and sharp provolone cheeses.
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