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A darkness is descending. Bridges have been burnt, promises broken (350 million of them) and walls have been built (well maybe, not quite, perhaps... actually just a nice picket fence will do).

After all the surprises of 2016, I predict this for 2017: that nobody can predict what is going to happen this year. I firmly believe that this is one thing we can all be absolutely sure of. The financial experts don’t know. The political experts don’t know. Likewise, predicting what might happen in the wine world this year would be a grossly foolhardy and totally pointless act of idiocy. So here I go.

  1. The wine experts will continue to tell the general public that they should be drinking more Riesling and Sherry. They always do. The general public will continue to spurn these drinks in favour of Sauvignon Blanc and Prosecco. That way the wine experts can still feel smug that they know best, whilst the general public don’t have to worry that they might accidentally end up drinking Blue Nun or Harveys Bristol Cream with their Friday night curry.
  2. The reinvention of Shiraz as... Syrah and Syrah as… Shiraz. This has been happening for a while, but worth a mention. The gap between the styles of the old world and the new is shrinking. And if we needed any more evidence that the world has gone barmy Australian winemakers talk terroir whilst Rhone winemakers are taking to labelling their wines as Syrah. And who knows, if Theresa and Donald hit it off we might be inclined to get our British teeth into more Californian Syrah, the kind of wine that once depended on remortgaging your house just to enjoy a sniff of the stuff. Terroir driven Grenache should also see a rise in popularity.
  3. Whilst organic and biodynamic wines continue to thrive 2017 could see the steady decline of the natural wine revolution. Though there is still mileage in the movement to enthuse the truly devout wine geek, most sensible people’s ethics suffer a serious malfunction when faced with the consequence of drinking something with the aroma of your grandad’s socks and flavour of horse manure.*  (*disclosure. Not all natural wines display these characteristics; some are much, much worse.)
  4. The craft beer industry will continue to boom as enthusiastic brewers continue to push the boundaries of what ludicrous ingredients they can squeeze into those funky little 330ml aluminium cans. Also, young men will continue to sport carefully coiffured beards and wear skinny jeans in the belief that it will make them better at brewing or indeed drinking craft beer. It will not, it will still make them look like a collection of numpties wandering about Shoreditch talking about alpha acids.
  5. 2017 will be declared the greatest ever Bordeaux vintage. Robert Parker will give Chateau Pavie an unprecedented 101 points and Hugh Johnson’s head will explode.
  6. As soon as the British see the slightest hint of spring, grown men who should know better will start terrifying the world by wearing shorts and women who should know better will start drinking Pinot Grigio blush by the metric litre, so long as Boris Johnson keeps his pie hole shut (see below).
  7. Boris Johnson will plant a vineyard of Prosecco vines on the outskirts of Henley-upon-Thames in the shape of a large V-sign pointing directly towards Italy.
  8. In response, the Italians will press for a new EU directive banning the consumption of Spaghetti Bolognese by anyone from a non-member nation.
  9. It will remain to be seen if the effects of a soft, hard or slightly squidgy Brexit will have any great effect on the wine trade. If the cost of importing wine from the EU does increase beyond the effects of a weak pound then we will all be losers. With the exception, of course, of  ex-Oxbridge Tories with a penchant for Bordeaux, buggery and Beerenauslese whose cellars are already rammed full with the best of European wines. Hang on, are these not the very folk who got us into this mess.  Do we sniff a conspiracy? I doubt it. To be conspiratorial means to having some sort of plan or at least a vague idea of what it is one is conspiring to achieve. It is all a bit depressing really, but we can all console ourselves with the one thing that we can hold constant. A nice glass of wine.

Soft Brexit recommendation:

Rene Bouvier Cotes de Nuits Villages, Burgundy, France 2014 As the price of Burgundy will doubtless continue to escalate, gems like this are few and far between. Lots happening here for a CDNV.  Cherry coke, liquorice and oriental spice. Svelte with depth of flavour and finesse. £27.95  

Hard Brexit recommendation:

De Loach Heritage Reserve Pinot Noir, California USA 2013 The Heritage Reserve (whatever that means) range from De Loach offers good value across the board but particularly in the guise of this pretty Pinot. Wild strawberry and mint give the wine a bright, summery demeanour. Polished with a lingering finish. £13.95

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