- Posted by The CorkGuru
Do you change your wine menu seasonally? If you change your food menu each season to utilize fresh and timely ingredients, you can really elevate the guest experience at your restaurant by pairing new wines with your new food menu. The most innovative and exciting restaurants always consider how to create a cohesive experience for their guests. Rotating your wine menu is a great way to do this. Here are some of the big wine trends that we are excited for this spring, which will be here before we know it!
American wine tastes have been shifting for some time now. Expanding beyond heavy weights that lead with bombastic fruit notes and drowsy chardonnays full of butter and oak, restaurants are getting adventurous by playing it subtle with white wines on their menus.
One trend that’s worth noting is the growth of floral and aromatic white wines. The scent of these wines blossom in the glass, and light notes of mineral and citrus cleanse the palate. Here are two floral whites you should consider placing on your wine menus this spring.
Wine Folly dubs Geürztraminer as the “grown-up version of Moscato.” The grape originated in Alsace, a famous wine producing region that borders and finds influence from Germany and Switzerland. This wine is considered off-dry (sweeter) and has prominent tropical fruits flavors like lychee and pineapple, and stone fruits such as peach. These fruit notes are complemented by floral bursts of rose and orange blossom. The wines can also contain spice notes like cinnamon.
Similar Wines: Muscat, Riesling, Torrontés
Food Pairings: The natural sweetness pairs well with spicy foods. Especially Asian cuisine and Asian inspired dishes.
Müller-Thurgau is the result of a mad scientist cross-breeding Riesling grapes with Madeleine Royale. The hybrid grape originated in Switzerland and is grown predominantly in central Europe.
You can also find fantastic productions of this wine from Alto Adige, a northern region of Italy on the Swiss border. An Italian food revival in American kitchens has chefs exploring Italian cuisine outside of the red-sauce heavy southern regions, including northern food that will pair wonderfully with Müller-Thurgau. Like Pinot Grigios from Alto Adige, this wine will have higher acidity, and trades fruit flavors for more floral notes.
Similar Wines: Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Grigio
Food Pairings: Northern Italian food, cheese plates, light seafood
Bright Wines from Spain and Portugal
Wines from Spain are gaining a big footing in the U.S., as Spain has grown it’s wine exports.
This wine hails from the Basque country in Spain. Txakoli, (pronounced chock-oh-lee) or txakolina, as it’s called at various wineries, or chacoli, as you’ll occasionally see it spelled, was traditionally made and consumed at home, and only recently became a wine that you see regularly in the U.S
Similar to Vinho Verde, with a precocious fizz, bright acid, and fleeting minerality; the Basque Country wine has crept across the Atlantic and found a home on wine menus in tapas bars and Spanish restaurants. The wine’s difficult pronunciation may be the biggest hurdle to clear if it is to become a summer sensation, but it could also be a fun tool for FOH employees to entice guests.
The rosé from Txakoli is a drier, mineral driven wine that is a great sipper all year round, but will really find fans looking for a refreshing pour during spring and summer. This rosé also has a tart quality that is absent from many rosés
Similar Wines: Tempranillo rosé, Provence Rosé
Food Pairings: Seafood, Salads, Light fare
Like Txakolina. wine geeks love Vinho Verde. There is a growing following for the youthful and effervescent Vinho Verde. Nearly synonymous in the States with the brand Broadbent, the wine’s underripe fruit and slight sparkle recommends it as the perfect summer darling for sipping on shaded patios.
Vinho Verde is a wonderful addition to any wine list because it is so unique. Its slight bubbles will appeal to drinkers looking for sparkling wine, while it’s green fruit and brightness will appeal to Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc drinkers. It’s a populist wine style that’s unique because of it’s small production and budding reputation.
Similar wines: Dry Prosecco, Albariño, Pinot Grigio
Food Pairings: Shellfish, Charcuterie
Another trend on wine lists is the growing popularity of light body reds. Pinot Noir from Oregon, with less fruit than their Californian counterparts, is just one example of a lighter, earthy wine that is finding a home on more wine menus.
Pick a Cru, any Cru and you can find something to love. The Gamay grape and its growing region, Beaujolais, both have the right blend of idiosyncrasies, quality, and nuance, to amass a cult following and fervent love for the light wine. Gamay is a lighter bodied red wine, and the wines grown in the following Crus (or villages) are meant to be enjoyed soon after their vintage: Brouilly, Régnié, and Chiroubles. Look for more Gamays from these regions to be on your by-the-glass list this year. Gamay is also a good wine to chill before serving.
You can find something to love from any class or subregion of Beaujolais. But the one that we have seen appearing on more wine lists is Cru Brouilly. This is a perfect red wine to serve slightly chilled, though it does not need it. Cru Brouilly offers affordable pricing so these wines can be placed on glass pour lists, and make for easy suggestions to pinot noir drinks.
Similar Wine: Oregon Pinot Noir, Burgundy Pinot Noir
Food Pairings: Light pork dishes, Chicken, Fish
If you still don’t know what to drink, maybe just download CorkGuru!