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By sarahhowe, also posted in News on 02/12/15
It seems only the other day that I was quoting that ‘A day without wine is like a day without sunshine’. It was, in fact, in last December’s letter! Well, since then, it turned out that here in Southwold we have had plenty of days with wine as well as with sunshine – but not necessarily always together! I hope that you at least had one, if not both, to ease you through the year.
2015 was very much a year of vinous ups and downs, but with a strong pound giving us price stability, which combined with the lack of a great vintage to overheat the market, left the classic region of Bordeaux selling us decent wines at modest prices. Eastern Europe never really moved beyond delivering decent wine at great prices, and we may have to wait another half decade before a £20 wine from the likes of Moldova excites the palate. On the plus side, the retrenchment of the range of wines sold in the run-of-the-mill supermarkets, left them selling big brands, and gave a new lease of life to hundreds of small, independent UK wine merchants, who rushed in and made their wine-scape a little more interesting.
It is good to look back, but peering forward and guessing what is coming down the road towards us is distinctly more fun. There are a couple of developments that I can be fairly sure of in 2016; quality fizz from the UK’s south coast will continue to grow in volume and popularity, and quality wines from Australia will make a modest come-back. This hardly needs great powers of divination as there is a mass of new UK vineyards about to come on-stream, and the £/Australian Dollar exchange-rate has much improved recently. Requiring a bit more faith, however, is my belief that Beaujolais, because of the open, friendly nature of its wines (and people), will experience a revival of fortune.