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Vinexpo news - varietal wines find favour in UK

Published:  23 June, 2011

Varietal wines are perceived as the "most dynamic sector" in the UK drink's market, according to findings revealed at Vinexpo in Sopexa's 2011 Wine Trade Monitor.

The study found the grape varieties considered by the wine trade as having the greatest potential for success were Sauvignon Blanc, followed by Malbec, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Pinot Grigio.

These five grapes were tipped for growth in the coming year, with Chardonnay noticeably absent. "In the UK, Chardonnay is not in the top five varietals that our operators consider most dynamic for 2012," said Sopexa's wine director Francois Collache at a major conference this week.

The results suggest that retailers should "divide up categories of still wines on their shelves by varieties", rather than country of origin, according to Collache, who believes an overhaul of how retailer's present and categorise their wines is long over-due.

Remy Gresser, president of the Alsace Wine council, called for wine labels to be transparent and clearly show varieties along with information on terroir; something he described as "part of the DNA of France".

"Terroir wines are complimentary to varietal wines," he said, adding "we have got to be hot on the truth that's printed on labels".

Jeremy Arnaud, marketing manager for the generic body representing wines from Cahors, agreed that information on varieties and terroir are "not incompatible". He also urged producers to have clearly understandable labels that "stick to the facts".

Varietal wines can help consumers and people who write about wine, such as bloggers and journalists, to understand a particular style or tatse, according to Collache, with information on varities being a "way in to the world of wine".

Journalist David Cobbard went on to highlight Languedoc-Roussillon as a region that is "strong in varietal wines".