The dust is still settling on Vinexpo 2017, the nineteenth edition of the prestigious wine trade fair in Bordeaux where over two thousand wineries, wine buyers, sommeliers, Masters of Wine, Michelin starred chefs, trade bodies and media descended. In temperatures of 37⁰C, for four days, they worked tirelessly by day at the fair and partied equally so by night at the stunning Bordeaux Chateaux who willingly flung open their doors for the historical fair.
One of the largest and most lavish of international wine fairs, the great and the good of the wine world met at Vinexpo 2017 to do business, taste, attend seminars and consider subjects from climate change to Brexit. They are there to network, educate and be educated, see and be seen and perhaps most importantly of all, to discover. To rummage the halls, prospecting for the cutting edge, the noteworthy, the chic and the very latest innovations in wine, that’s what it’s all about.
Three Colours, Three Trending Styles
For white wines, trending styles for this year are the unoaked crisp and refreshing; Albarino, Gruner Veltliner and Godello are good examples – heavier fuller styles of white are out unless it’s from Burgundy, of course.
Rose continues to soar, with countries such as France growing sales year round and not just during the summer months. In terms of Rose colours, the paler and more Provence-like the better.
For reds, Malbec holds its position of interest capturing the imagination with its ripe, approachable fruit driven style – Argentina is still out in front but France, Chile and Uruguay have new and interesting styles on offer.
Its notable on my own rummage through the halls, that wine packaging formats continue to evolve and that wine comes in many shapes and sizes from pouches, plastic glasses to cans and boxes and of course the traditional 75cl glass bottle.
However, this year without doubt it is clear that the latest innovation is in wine labels. A contemporary retro vibe on wine labels was apparent at every turn, with an increasing number of wines in the traditional bottle adorned with a far from traditional label.
Wine Labelling Design Gets a Makeover
With such a profusion of funky new wine labels, one could be forgiven for thinking that a marketing guru somewhere had given the same “get down with the kids” advice to wineries worldwide.
However, apart from having fun designing the labels, the wineries I met have their own specific and interesting reasons for their message on the bottle.
Highlighting the international interest in indigenous grape varieties, the Cave-Cooperative, Les Vignobles Foncalieu who are based in the Languedoc in the South of France have launched Ensedune.
The range is made from local grape and the name of the person who grew the grapes and his image are all given pride of place on the front label.
Export and Marketing Director, Alexandra Ladeuil, wanted to emphasise the philosophy of cooperative working on the label by “showing authentically – that this is real wine made by real people”.
Liberté Ēgalité Fraternité, recently quoted by French President Emmanuel Macron, is the motto from the French Revolution – Freedom, Equality, and Fraternity.
A new wine range developed by Gerard Bertrand, owner and wine maker of twelve wine estates is clearly on-trend.
The red, white and rose labels are in the colour scheme of the French flag and sport images from the French Revolution, Gerard states “for the times in which we live, this range is aligned to French, international and human values.”
Craft & Origin, with its hip imagery, sold in a dumpy 50 cl bottle and sealed with a crown top looks not like wine but like the latest trendy craft beer to hit the shelves.
With the objective of attracting a new type of wine drinker it offers a less traditional and intimidating look and feel.
The wine style is very accessible made from the ever popular fruit-driven Shiraz and a refreshing crisp Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa.
There is no doubt that this trend for contemporary retro wine labels could suggest that winemakers are not taking wine quality as seriously as they might, but my extensive tastings in Bordeaux in the name of research indicates this is not the case. You can test my theory for yourself with these three to try:
A Vaca Cuca Albariño 2016
12.9% ABV – Galicia, Spain
€19.95 – Available at O’Briens Wine
From Rías Baixas, this wine is named after the local village cows, historically called Cuca, not to be missed is the faux cow hide label.
The wine has a greengage fruit character with a hint of peach mid palate, it is a benchmark Albariño – crisp and refreshing with a suggestion of saltiness.
Norton Porteño Malbec 2016
13% ABV – Mendoza, Argentina
€14.95 – Available at O’Briens Wine
Porteño takes its name from Fileteado Porteño, an art form that originated in Buenos Aires at the start of the 20th Century.
This is a bright summery Malbec with intense red fruits and a touch of plums. It is an ideal BBQ wine as along with its lifted fruits there is a touch of savouriness.
Romeo & Juliet Passimento Gargenega 2015
€17.95 – Available at O’Briens Wine
The graffiti laden lovers wall under the balcony of Romeo and Juliet in Verona is the inspiration for this wine label.
There is an initial richness with some exotic fruits due to the partial drying of some grapes during the wine making, this is then balanced by a clean fresh lemony finish.
Lynne Coyle MW is one of less than 355 Masters of Wine worldwide who have undertaken and passed the gruelling Master of Wine examinations.
Starting her career in the hotel and restaurant industry, she is still a passionate foodie as well as being a member of the Champagne Academy and is Wine Director for O’Briens Wine.
Lynne has consulted for wineries in Chile, Spain and Italy, judges at international wine competitions and regularly hosts tastings and talks on wine.