My 2016 Wine Predictions

Almost as ubiquitous as the annual wine awards schtick peddled by wine writers are the predictions for the year ahead. Such pontifications rarely have any bearing on the actual course of events, but I do often wonder whether more attention and column inches are afforded to particular subjects throughout the year to make writers look like the re-incarnation of Mystic Meg.

So instead, I propose to, predict something I have a modicum of control over – my own wine year (with some beer and gin thrown in for good measure).

The vast majority of my wine buying will be consumed by Nebbiolo. The 2008 and 2010 vintages were my first proper plunge into the serious Barolo buying market (Bartolo Mascarello, Giuseppe Rinaldi, Giovanni Canonica, Cavallotto, Giuseppe Mascarello, Cappellano and G.D. Vajra), so this year I’ll backfill on earlier vintages of Barolo and Barbaresco where possible. My Barolo purchases tend to follow the perceived wisdom for Burgundy – producer over vintage and quality over quantity, although the post 2010 price hikes mean some of the producers above have already ascended further out of my price range. Even still, my Christmas present to myself was a few bottles of 2005 Cappellano Pie Rupestris, so I’ve started as I mean to continue.


Dublin will get its own sherry supper club in 2016. (Watch this space…)

This will be my year of Barbacarlo – Ever read about a wine and have an almost insatiable urge to try it? Yeah. That. This is one prediction I’ll ensure comes true.

I’ll drink more Chianti Classico than any other wine. (I’ll have to keep count of this one for you.) As I’m merely a spectator in the #dryjanuary craze, 2016 has already seen me Coravin a couple of bottles of Chianti Classico. Both Monteraponi  Chianti Classico Riserva Il Campitello 2009 and Riecine Chianti Classico 2013 tested my restraint – OK, I’m lying, I pulled the cork on the Riecine the very next night.

London trips might be few and far between in 2016, but it seems that I’m really missing out by not yet visiting The Winemakers Club. This will be rectified.

Despite continuous experimentation with my Negroni recipe, by year end I’ll still be concocting my aperitivo with Sipsmith Gin, Campari, Carpano Antica Formula, ice and orange peel. I recently came across this brilliant quote in the book The Life Negroni by Leigh & Nargees Banks:

The Negroni person is someone who has good taste, who knows the best drink, the best suit, location…they know how to have a nice life. 

I would not recommend the Negroni to people from outside this club… 

– Mariano Rubinacci, master of bespoke Neapolitan tailoring

Galway Bay Brewery’s 200 Fathoms will be the best beer I drink all year. A beer in such demand that it requires strict customer allocation? Well not quite, but not far off, with many off-licenses limiting the quantities available per person for last year’s release. This barrel aged imperial stout is a collaboration with Teeling Whiskey and comes in at a whopping 10% alc. In such rarified alcoholic air, it’s not something to sip regularly, but even still, my attempts to appropriately ration my six bottles throughout last year proved futile. This year’s release will likely hit shelves in February. Fill your boots.



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