Lambrusco circa 1996 anyone? What’s that, you ask. You’re adorable. Remember when drinking le piat d’or seemed sophisticated? No shame. I know I’ve got a story or two in my attic. Alright, let’s be nice and call them nostalgic wines. Like berets in France and selfie sticks in…everywhere, the best of the oldies have either slipped into the popularity afterlife or evolved to suit the new a la mode.
Bad Chardonnay is still out there and Moscato is today’s white Zinfandel with whatever’s next fast approaching. However, with the boom in premium wines (if wine had a social class, think middle to upper-middle) in the US and abroad, more producers now look center. Glance two rows up and you can grab a reasonably priced bottle of choice wine in the same store where you buy milk and paper towels. Lots of boutique and eco-trendy retailers are in the premium wine game, too. Located in hip urban and suburban areas, these sellers seem to be leading the pack in accessibility. Whole Foods hires sommeliers. And a somm somewhere in the world just opened up a contemporary wine bar across from a H.I.I.T. studio. While Trader Joe’s will gladly sell you a throwback bottle of Blue Nun, the store now sports a growing selection of internationals from South Africa to Argentina. Co-ops are getting a makeover, too with 6 foot tall natural wine towers sparkling under the brightness of a showroom-lit entry. Boutique wineries scatter the countryside and downtown. Even chianti grew up. Instead of chubby fiascos for $5.99, sleek bordeaux-bottled premiums stand in formation, shoulder to elite shoulder, like an alumni association magazine cover. Chardonnay finally graduated from cliché to more diverse offerings. The back labels proudly disclose a judicious – as opposed way too freaking generous - use of oak. R.I.P. ABC*! Big ups, internet. I see you. And so does everybody else apparently since wine reviews are all over the web. While your standing in the checkout line, don't forget that rack of lifestyle magazines to your left. Thanks to glossies like Food and Wine (or Cuisine et Vin if you're in France) positioned next to People magazine (Match in France), wine collecting has gone mainstream and consumers are more discerning than ever.
With so much sophistication in reach, it’s a superb time to drink wine, my love.