Predicting the Next Big Thing in wine is a mug's game. If you'd told me a decade ago that two of the coolest things to be seen drinking around town in 2021 would be cloudy, preservative-free sparkling wine that tastes like kombucha (hello, pet-nat) and "wine" made by re-fermenting leftover grape skins with water (oh, hi, piquette!), I would have said you were crazy.
But here we are.
So, I feel I have nothing to lose (and everything to gain when I can say "I told you so" in 10 years' time) by predicting the Next Big Thing in wine will be … cabernet sauvignon. That's right. Cabernet sauvignon.
One day soon, a bunch of influencers will cotton on to the fact that this daggy old variety – one that your dad loves but nobody else you know drinks – actually makes delicious red wines. Not only that, but they'll also realise that because cabernet's so out of fashion, it's also great value. And then, mark my words, the cabernet comeback will be upon us. Remember, you heard it here first.
Wine with none
What's the wine equivalent of eating humble pie? Just after last month's Wine Rant was published – in which I moaned about how all alcohol-free wine was boring and watery – I came across the 2020 Plus & Minus Langhorne Creek Shiraz ($15). It tastes more like a juicy, fruity pinot than a shiraz, but at least it tastes like wine. Hallelujah! fourthwavewine.com.au
Wine on film
Blind Ambition, a new documentary from Australians Robert Coe and Warwick Ross (Red Obsession), tells the story of a group of sommeliers, refugees from Zimbabwe, who enter the World Blind Wine Tasting Championships in Burgundy. "Heart-warming" is an over-used term, but it's entirely appropriate here: you don't even have to drink wine to be moved by the story. It's due to screen as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival and will be released in cinemas in 2022. miff.com.au
Wine from Aotearoa
EarthGarden is a new range of $25 certified organic wines from leading New Zealand producer Villa Maria. All the wines in the range – including a savvy blanc (of course), rosé (ditto) and pinot noir – are good, but my pick is the 2019 merlot cabernet: perfumed purple fruit, elegant, fine tannins, really lovely. Imported by House of Fine Wine. hofw.com.au; villamaria.co.nz
Wine casks 2.0
Hey Tomorrow is a new range of upmarket, carbon-conscious two-litre cask wines developed by the team behind restaurants Bomba, Anada, Nomada and Daughter-in-Law. The wines have been supplied by some of Victoria's top boutique producers – Lethbridge, Valentine, Philip Lobley and Syrahmi (so you know what's inside the box is top notch) – and 50 per cent of the profits will be donated to The Carbon Farming Foundation, which helps farmers reduce emissions and draw down carbon. The two-litre boxes cost between $50 and $75 each. heytomorrow.com.au
Who Champagne Louis Roederer
What Collection 242
Why Because it's even more delicious than the already very good Roederer Brut Premier it's replacing.
When As soon as it hits shops in mid-August.
How much $85
Where Imported by redandwhite.com.au
Max Allen is an award-winning journalist and author, who has written about wine and drinks for close to 30 years.