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Part three of food, drinks and design writer, Douglas Blyde’s report for 2014, revealing predictions of trends and themes from a heaving wine rack of England’s most marinated men and women from various vintages…

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‘Wine from the Balkans, Scottish pubs, and cocktails on tap.’

William Drew, Editor – Restaurant Magazine (www.theworlds50best.com)

‘Port is going to do a sherry and become the drink of choice for trendy folk everywhere. Port bars will spring up in Dalston and Peckham where the beautiful people will sip 20 year-old tawny and snack on Stilton puffs. This will lead to an epidemic of drunkenness in the so-called creative industries and as such there will be a lot less start-ups, pop-ups and general cross-pollinating as everyone will be in bed with a headache worrying that they might have gout.

‘The mania for all things fizzy will show no sign of abating in 2014. Restaurants will start listing good quality bottle-fermented English sparkling cider such as Gospel Green or Ashridge in place of Prosecco or Cava. Sadly the fizz mania won’t stop at least one English sparkling wine company going bankrupt.’

Henry Jeffreys, Henry’s World of Booze (http://worldofbooze.wordpress.com)

‘The growth of Prosecco increases with restaurants seeking quality and vintage and single vineyard wines. Melon de Bourgogne and Garganega to be sort after.’

Tim McLaughlin-Green (www.sommelierschoice.com)

‘Places that insist on only serving natural “wine” which, for me at least, destroys the joy of eating out. There are few greater culinary tragedies than having exciting and innovative cuisine when you are forced to consume completely undrinkable, thin, flawed alcoholic grape juice.’

Bruce Palling, Head of Food and Wine, PCC and food commentator (www.gastroneophile.com)

‘Aged beers.’

Andy Lynes, Metro (www.andylynes.com)

‘I predict big things for cocktails in 2014. With London at the epicentre of innovation, the trend for savoury cocktails will continue to evolve, championed by the likes of the London Cocktail Club and Tony Conigliaro at The Grain Store through creations like the Pumpkin Bellini and Green Tomato Margarita. As the calibre of cocktails improves at restaurant bars such as Jason Atherton’s Berners Tavern and Pollen Street Social, increasing efforts will be made to integrate cocktails throughout a meal, rather than them being used solely as bookends.

‘Expect to see more of the likes of bacon-infused, mustard and horseradish vodka being used as a base spirit in cocktails, while spices will also weave their way into mixed drinks to add heat and interest without the unwanted calories.’

Lucy Shaw, Deputy Editor, Drinks Business (http://finewineandthecity.blogspot.co.uk)

‘The magnificent Aviation sour goes mainstream.’

Douglas Blyde.

‘The Italian Renaissance will continue throughout 2014 and collectors will seek to take advantage of momentum from the great 2009 and 2010 vintages into 2011, which looks to be another formative vintage. Italy offers tradition, diversity and winemakers pushing the boundaries of technology and winemaking, we expect price rises to continue and the cachet of the great wines from Piedmont and Tuscany to grow.’

Paul Hammond, Partner, IG Wines (www.igwines.com)

‘Influenced by new wave wine bars like Sager & Wilde and lists like Zucca’s which don’t work on %, increasingly savvy customers look for more transparency over pricing/value.’

Stevie Parle, Restaurateur, Dock Kitchen, writer and TV presenter (www.dockkitchen.co.uk)

‘Looking back at my predictions for 2013 I am pleased to observe that, although London’s Pisco Revolution is taking longer than I anticipated, I was otherwise absolutely spot on. At least regarding the deflation of Bordeaux bubble, rise of Oz Chardonnay, improvement of restaurant lists and fact that “some industry magazines used stats to show Champagne sales are up; some… use(d) others to show Prosecco is actually improving its market share. People… continue(d) to buy Cava to take to parties of people they don’t know very well.” Natural wine carried on polarising opinions and there was no shortage of them informed or otherwise, but the battle lines are now well-established and like the Somme, it seems combatants are dug in for the long haul.  I’m looking forward to Christmas Day 2014 when Robert Joseph and Doug Wregg emerge cautiously from their opposing trenches to swap Capstan Full Strength and kick a football about in the mud.

‘Other things I’m expecting this year are: Greater interest in Chinese wines, genuine or feigned for ulterior reasons, likewise Brazilian “wines”; Every wine bar and their dog madly trying to emulate Sager & Wilde; Greater interest in the Loire and Northern Rhône as disenfranchisement with Bordeaux and the exclusivity of Burgundy push Francophiles elsewhere; Excitement around the top 2010 vintage releases from Italy; The nature and content of wine writing will continue to evolve/devolve/dissolve (according to POV) and will be continue to be largely ignored by the majority regardless. Now grown-up former UK ravers are holidaying with their families in increasing numbers in the Balearics, the wines of Ibiza, Mallorca and the Spanish South-East mainland will become more prominent talking points at West London dinner parties.  Whilst we wait for Pisco to take over the world, Tequila will be 2014’s artisan spirit of choice and God help us – this could be the year “Skinny Girl” range of beverages crack the UK market, so hastening (a refreshingly low calorie) Armageddon…’

Tom Harrow, Wine Chap (http://winechap.com)

See last year’s predictions here: www.storypr.co.uk/blog/2013/01

 

 

 

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