Ever since Paul Giamatti waxed poetic about Pinot Noir in the 2004 film 'Sideways', wine trends have occupied a place in the mainstream. Thanks to Giamatti's character's snobbery, sales of Merlot, which had been enjoying huge popularity, dropped significantly. Meanwhile, Pinot Noir became the bottle of choice for everyday consumers. Even guys who knew nothing about wine were buying Pinot Noir because they had heard that it was a trendy grape.
Wines to know now
That was six years ago, and chances are you're still buying Pinot Noir because, in the back of your mind, you remember what Paul Giamatti said. We asked Elyse Lambert, the spokesperson for the Salon des Vins, a wine exposition going on in Montreal from March 25th to 29th, about the wines to watch in 2010. The Salon des Vins is open to the public, and will feature producers of the wines mentioned in this article among the 250 producers who will be on hand to pour and discuss their wines. Here are the wines to know in 2010.
Pinotage from South Africa
South African wines in general are getting a higher profile than ever, and Pinotage is one of the red wine grapes that South Africa is best known for. "Pinotage is a pretty particular varietal," said Lambert. "It has an unusual flavor profile. Pinotage can have some tar notes, some smoky notes. It's a powerful dark fruit profile."
Lambert recommends the Pinotage made by the South African producer Graham Beck. Like all wines of this kind, it's a good red meat wine, and pairs well with anything off the barbecue.
Pinot Noir from New Zealand
According to Lambert, "The Pinot trend still has a lot of legs. You have way more people producing and more and more people asking for it. The price of the grapes is going up." During the early part of the Pinot Noir trend, the bottles getting the most buzz tended to be from the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., but in 2010 the buzz is shifting to New Zealand. "The quality and price relationship among the New Zealand Pinot Noirs is unbeatable," says Lambert.
Torrontes from Argentina
Argentina is known for its big, punch red wines -- perfect for pairing with the country's main food group, red meat. Torrontes is Argentina's signature white wine. It's a fresh, aromatic wine made in the northern regions of Argentina's wine producing country, and it's a definite challenger to Pinot Grigio for fans of a fresh, dry white.