In the year 2048
Will Brazil be the new Argentina?
By Tim Protzman email@example.com
Oh, shudder the thought.
2047. A crowded elder facility. Five tanned and youthful 90somethings gather for an afternoon snack. Saltines, organically synthesized fruit, farm-raised venison and a trippy little mourvedre/pinot sauvignon blend from Scotland, the new hot wine region. The talk turns to Social Security, which the oldest ones remember clearly. Afterward they take a five-mile run.
Science fiction? Maybe not. Today there’s new evidence from a well-publicized Massachusetts Institute of Technology study that a chemical in red wine, resveratrol, may slow the aging process. Up till now it’s only been done in lab mice, but some doctors and scientists see it as the newest discovery in the search for eternal youth. Wow!
Eternal youth? What would that look like? A 34-year-old with the body of a seven-year-old being carded when she tries to buy a Cotes du Rhone? A 136-year-old complaining about the arthritis that’s plagued him for the last 72 years? And what about wedding gifts? What would you give someone celebrating a 129th wedding anniversary? A parrot? A redwood, a 10-carat diamond? Now I’m sitting here remembering those times I’d OD’ed on resveratrol. Overindulging.
A magnum of Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, which when over-consumed by me gave me a headache so fierce I almost went for a CAT scan. A tempranillo that turned me into a restroom version of a cuckoo clock. Up and at ’em every 15 minutes. I guess the key is to NOT overindulge. And it’s the alcohol, not the resveratrol, that left me hungover. Plus, resveratrol, if it really is the new fountain of youth, will be available in pill form, without the tannins, sugar content and alcohol. All very Jetsons-like.
But what will wine be like in 40 years? Could someone like Paul Masson have accurately predicted the shape of today’s wine world? I think so, and there are wine experts today who are forecasting trends, fads and market and weather conditions 10, 40, 100 years from now. Those are based on science. My predictions are based on hopes and wishes and comedy and my own sense of all-knowingness. But one thing: there will be wine!
I really hope in 2048 the wine will be made almost the same way it is now. I can see concentrators and ageing machines that bend time and make a 2042 Pauillac taste 20 years old the day they release it. That would be cool. But how about taking seaweed and converting it to wine, say a slightly smoky shiraz with a black pepper and grape Kool-Aid flavor notes and a finish of tar and plum. Would it still be wine? Or do we have to come up with some new term like faux wine? Whatever, I’d probably still drink it. But who am I kidding? If I drank just wine I might, with a strict regimen of resveratrol, make it to 2039, but there’s no scientific evidence that measures the anti-aging properties of vodka. If someone is studying it let me know — I’m interested.
I predict that 40 years from now:
• Northwest Africa will produce wine for export to the U.S. Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco have a small number of vineyards that produce wine for European and domestic consumption. Climate changes and the removal of trade barriers will increase their output.
• China will be the world’s largest producer of mass-market wines.
• Romania will seem like part of the Cote de Nuits.
• Chilean and Argentine wine will grace the world’s finest and most expensive tables.
• Italian wine will remain delicious, but will continue to be plagued by scandals caused by greed and archaic DOCG classifications.
• Good German wine will be more available, but it will not bend to market influence and it will remain “stubborn.”
• Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay will be the new Argentina.
• India will consume one third of the world’s wine production and will offer passable vintages.
• New York State will continue to produce wine and it will be in the top 10 wine-producing countries, although most of it will be exported to the United States.
• Canadian ice wine will become even more expensive and Canada will garner a lion’s share of the mass market, with an animal-themed wine called Poley Fuisse, with polar bears on the label.
• Long Island will produce less wine; most of its vineyards will be sold to condo developers.
• All wine from Napa will be sold by exclusive mailing lists only.
• Lake Tahoe will be surrounded by vineyards.
• Mexico will be a renowned exporter of fine wines, especially in the mountains and the Baja.
• Austria will produce fine wines, just fewer of them as climate changes shorten the growing season.
• Most of the wine consumed in America will be consumed by the same 10 percent that consumes it now. They will be really hung over.
Here’s what I sampled this week:
• Champagne Deutz ($34.99) Non-vintage. Crisp with a quick finish that I liked but Justin thought was too short. No leaden taste. Tasted of caramel, cream and unsweetened ginger beer.
• Heidsieck & Co Monopole Brut Champagne ($44.23) Very nice with flavors of lemon, toast, a crisp sauvignon blanc and sour apple pop rocks. Another satisfying adult soda pop.
• 2003 Chateau Flaugergues ($12.99) From France’s south in the Languedoc region. Spicy and tannic, not a monster, but unruly. A few years and this will slow down and be more approachable.
• San Vincente 2002 Rioja ($45) From Rioja. A terse wine ready for long-term aging; still tasted great. Flavors of beef au jus, tar, bitter chocolate, pepper and wood smoke. Lately I’ve been re-sampling some old favorites. This and the Deutz are definitely on my list for re-sampling.