June 12, 2008


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In the year 2048
Will Brazil be the new Argentina?
By Tim Protzman letters@hippopress.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.

6/5/2008 Tea, the original infusion

5/29/2008 Hello old friends
5/22/2008 Ancient in the new world
5/15/2008 You are the expert
5/8/2008 The must-drink list
5/1/2008 Gaming wine futures
4/24/2008 Chronos and me
4/17/2008 Getting lucky
4/3/2008 The daquiri's of spring
3/27/2008 Germans play well with others
3/13/2008 Complain yourself happy
3/6/2008 Operatic wine tasting
2/28/2008 Everything must go!
2/21/2008 His & hers bottles
2/7/2008 Friends in spam
1/31/2008 Warm up the wine
1/24/2008 A drink to them
1/17/2008 Stalking the barking dingo
1/10/2008 Wishes and predictions
1/3/2008 Bit of bubbly
12/27/2007 Drinking blind
12/20/2007 Not fighting for the right
12/13/2007 The liquor store suite
11/29/2007 World of drinkin'
11/22/2007 Thanks for the Napa cabs
11/15/2007 Drinks with Diwali
11/8/2007 Candy Corn hangover
11/1/2007 Drinks with History Channel
10/25/2007 Schooled in Shiraz
10/18/2007 Spooky wines
10/11/2007 Location, location, location
10/04/2007 Shiraz history
9/27/2007 Ingenious appellation
9/20/2007 Small world of wines
9/13/2007 How not to get screwed
9/6/2007 Wine lover's shopping trip
8/30/2007 Bottle surfing
8/23/2007 Lobster goes red
8/16/2007 Emotional tasting notes
8/9/2007 Stop, wine thief
8/2/2007 Be your own sommelier
7/26/2007 You do know your wine
7/19/2007 Booze free association
7/12/2007 Raiders of the sidewalk
7/5/2007 A sustainable buzz
6/28/2007 We are the merlot
6/21/2007 Forgot Dad? Bring booze.
6/14/2007 Jack & Jill and a pail of wine
6/7/2007 Our lady of the Rioja
5/24/2007 Breaking the fast
5/17/2007 What the best bears drink
5/10/2007It's OK to be pink
5/3/2007 In praise of tastings
4/26/2007 Invention-tini
4/19/2007 More 'Mas'
4/12/2007 Futures in a bottle
3/29/2007 Uneasy glass of spring
3/22/2007 Chateau de blech
3/8/2007 Finding new beauties
3/1/2007 Infatuation or addiction
2/15/2007 The extraordinary ordinary
2/8/2007 A glass of sweetness
2/1/2007 A glass of sweetness
1/25/2007 Ham it up
1/18/2007 Cheating on wine
1/11/2007 Burning down the tree
1/4/2007 New Year's hangover
12/28/2006 Sins of the vine
12/21/2006 Kissing frogs
12/14/2006 Wine for horrible friends
12/07/2006 Like dregs in the wine glass
11/30/2006 Gift of calmer shopping
11/23/2006 YouTube for YouWine
11/16/2006 Welcome to wine
11/9/2006 Fine art, supermarket wine
11/2/2006 The geography of grapes
10/26/2006 Please continue to hold
10/19/2006 The trouble with reds
10/12/2006 Making new friends
10/05/2006 TiVo-ing the wine
09/28/2006 From an unknown battle
09/21/2006 Toast to turkey
09/14/2006 Wine for life
09/07/2006 What are Malpeques, Alex?
08/31/2006 Hanging out wines
08/24/2006 Falling into new wine season
08/17/2006 Where has that wine been?
08/10/2006 Bringing out the dead
08/03/2006 The birth of a wine fop
07/27/2006 Slow process of maturation
07/20/2006 The pain of adolescent wines
07/13/2006 Nice day for a white wedding
07/06/2006 Scoring goals with booze
06/29/2006 Beer, it's what's for dinner
06/22/2006 A drink fit for a czar
06/15/2006 A summer of beer and fried clams
06/08/2006 Keep your cool, fool
06/01/2006 The social lubricant
05/25/2006 Water, water everywhere
05/18/2006 Big fat greek wine tasting
05/11/2006 Drinking to the end
05/04/2006 Schooled in the art of wine
04/27/2006 Make a wish
04/20/2006 Immigrant wines
04/13/2006 A pain in the glass
04/06/2006 Got milk?
03/30/2006 Throw a dart and there's wine
03/23/2006 A life of good wine
03/16/2006 Honoring the dead soldiers
03/09/2006 What once was old i new again
03/02/2006 The taste of sibling rivalry
02/23/2006 Wine travels, doesn’t sing
From grape, to barrel to red-tape jungle

02/16/2006 Love and vine
02/09/2006 A dog-drink-dog world
02/02/2006 The winos' mecca
01/26/2006 Date-nite drinks
01/19/2006 Touring eastern wine country
01/12/2006 Wine, Cheese and Granny Smith
01/05/2006 Resolve to try new wines
10 Wines To Get Lucky With

Adventures in and past the Euro-Cave
A Do-It-Yourself Wine Tasting
A Red For Everything
A Red Wth Your Leftovers?
A Tasty Way To Put Wine To The Test
A Year Of Wine
An Around-The-World Holiday
A wine for every holiday

Basking In The Mondavi Light
Behind One Door Is Great Wine
Beware The Hot Bottle
Brandy and the nude beach
Champagne, The Other White Wine
Cheers And Whines Of The Vine
Days of wine and jelly beans
Deep in the heart of Texas
Drinking for your health
Drinking like a newspaperman

Drinking Whites After Labor Day
Finding A Great Medium-Weight Drink (I)
Finding A Great Medium Weight Drink (II)
Gifts for blood, love or money
Grill and sip, sip and sip. Finding the perfect wine for barbecue
Hey baby, stay cool
How The Corleones Saved Wine

In Praise Of An American Wine
In search of the girl next door
Keeping it in the family
Keeping up appearances
Looking back at the heyday of cheap wine
My Big Fat Greek Wine Tasting
The Best Drinks On A Budget
The Highly Drinkable (Mostly) Merlot
The Long, Strange Journey Of Wine
Old French grape in the New World
Olé! to a week in wine
Opening the Parker book

Our French friends — really
Our Northern Neighbor
Poker faces and wine

Presenting A New England Vodka
Presenting The Wines Of Spring
Rewarding Your Support Staff
Schooled In The Art Of Wine
Shopping for Wine Bargains

Sitting By The Fire And Dreaming Of Wine
Slipping A Little Sideways
Spending the holidays in NYC
Spirit World Tales
Springtime calls for wine and ice cream
Sudden ugly mood swings
The new face of fine wines
The wines of fall
Thinking ahead to the holidays
Time To Stay Frosty
Tipples for turkey day
TV worth drinking
What it means to miss N.O.
What To Drink When You Eat Wild
What's Your Wine Sign
White’s OK after Labor Day
Wine Between The Season
Wine for the NASCAR set
Wine is in at the Inn
Wine’ll make you crazy
Wine Works With Red Sauce