Wines Missing From Our Shelves

at the Wine Rack

With Christopher Reckord

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The feedback from last week's look at Wine Trends for 2012 provided food for thought and much discussion on the topic of wine service in local restaurants and also on the issue of availability of wider choices of wines on the market.

As suggested last week, most restaurant patrons are looking for new experiences during every visit, this includes better choice of wines and improved wine service - a topic that we will explore more in the near future. While we have increased quality and quantity of wines on the market, I do believe that some importers need to open their minds a bit more as it related to the variety of wines that they select for their portfolio.

More indigenous varietals needed

It seems that whenever an importer is approached by a new producer they select same varietals over and over , Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. These seem to be the standard wines varietals, that are ordered. I am suggesting that importers broaden their horizons a bit and look at some of the lesser known varietals especially from countries that are become know for certain varietals.

For example, I think we should have a few more offerings of Carmenere from Chile. Chile is also making some really good Malbec these days, more Torrontés from Argentina should be on the island, and the importers would be shocked by how they would fly off the shelves. Zinfandel from California (not white Zinfandel) should be more popular here but not much is available. Really great tasting and very affordable Merlot hail from Washington State. Oregon State produces excellent Pinot Gris (French style of Pinot Grigio). No one wants to experiment, but we should be trying Tannat from Uruguay - big bold wines.

Some very nice Chenin Blancs (originally from Loire Valley, France) are being produced in South Africa. Chenin Blanc's styles range from very dry to medium-sweet, and intensely rich. The full-bodied wine has a fruity palate and a long finish, with orchard and citrus fruit, spring flower and earthy notes.

This is the same grape that makes Vouvray.

Just to test my theory, I reviewed the Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys 2010 and 2011 and a few issues of Wine Spectator and Decanter Magazine to see if I could find wines made by producers that were already represented in Jamaica, but the award winning or listed wine was not sold here. I did not have to look too far. See a few bottles shots of what I found -- peeping in just four magazines for 15 or so minutes.

New wine drinkers like sweet wines, red or white, so importers should consider reducing their orders the basic Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, I suggest they choose something new and exciting, bring a few cases for trial and then go and work the market with it, don't just place it on the shelves.

1. KJ Avant Chardonnay is still the most popular white wine. We should be able to try new styles like this product from Kendall-Jackson. Wine Enthusiast: Rated a “Best Buy” and as Excellent, extremely well made and highly recommended. “A new category of Chardonnay introduced in 2011 by Kendall-Jackson. The wine is slightly sweet in pineapple, orange and vanilla honey flavors, with the crisp acidity that comes from coastal grape sourcing. The wine has better structure and is somewhat more minerally and elegant than the Vinter’s Reserve.”
2. Terrazas Selection Torrontes won the top international trophy at Decanter world wine awards 2011. The Decanter World Wine Awards, the most prestigious and trusted wine competition in the world, are scrupulously judged by over 200 of the world’s Masters of wine, top sommeliers, wine critics and wine writers alike. Terrazas de los Andes, Selection Torrontés, Salta, Argentina 2010: A heady, exotic nose with apricot fruit and lush floral characters. Broad, weighty and creamy palate with balancing acidity that sustains the persistent finish.
3. Marqués de Cáceres Rioja is listed in Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys 2010. Really great for our hot climate.
4. Hogue Gewürztraminer is listed in Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys 2010 — Jamaicans will love this wine; yes, it’s slightly sweet.
5. Korbel Sweet Rosé listed in Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys 2011.
6. Mirassou Riesling Bottle Shot was listed as one of the Biggest Bargains in Wine Spectator. Mirassou is already sold in Jamaica, just not this wine. 
7. Robert Mondavi
is listed in Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys 2011.
8. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Blanc is listed in Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys 2010.

Chris Reckord - Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to Follow us on




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