Drinking Ahead

What will you be sipping in 2008? Boston’s wine pros and top mixologists peer into their crystal decanters to make some predictions for the new year.

Pinot’s Second Act
Oregon’s Willamette Valley is the wine region of the moment, and pinot noir is the Willamette’s varietal of choice. (Yes, the film Sideways overplayed the grape, but these wines prove pinot’s lasting appeal.) Even at the very French L’Espalier, Willamette pinots such as WillaKenzie Estate’s Thibaud’s Cuvée are starting to nudge classic burgundies off their throne. Says L’Espalier wine director Erik Johnson, “It’s going to be all about Willamette. People keep requesting more of it.”

A New Red for Meat Heads
First, the name game: Old World oenophiles call it syrah; New World types say shiraz. Tomato, tomahto—it’s the same grape. Right on the heels of the steakhouse craze, this full-bodied red is positioned to take the place of cabernet as the preferred wine of the red-meat set. Abe & Louie’s beverage guru David Alphonse says Australian labels like Torbreck and Two Hands will be hot, while Marco Deary of Radius and Via Matta predicts doing a brisk business in California-bred syrahs from Central Coast winemakers such as Qupé and Copain.

No More Big Gulps

The era of the enormous cocktail glass—also known as the cosmo–co-opted triangular “martini glass”—is at last coming to an end. In ’08, watch for petite, pre-Prohibition–style glassware at bars around town, including the pousse-café parfait (for all things layered), the champagne saucer–like coupe, the wee goblet-shaped sour glass, and the teeny cordial pony.

The Reign of Spain
It’s the viticultural version of chicken-versus-egg: Which came first, grenache from France or garnacha from Spain? Both countries claim to be the historic home of this popular grape, but here in Boston we’ve traditionally favored grenache wines from France’s Rhône region. Ah, but not for long. Iberia is poised to take the spotlight with vin espagnol appellations like Montsant, Navarra, and Penedès. “Spain is so dominant now that I think I might start calling our grenache section ‘garnacha,’” says Abe & Louie’s Alphonse.

The Incredible Drinkable Egg
Maybe it’s a post-post-Atkins thing, but 2008’s hottest cocktails will be packed with protein. “This year expect to see egg whites, whole eggs, and yolks galore in cocktails,” says John Gertsen of No. 9 Park, who shakes up his signature Colleen Bawn with Rittenhouse rye, Bénédictine, yellow Chartreuse, and a whole egg. At Cambridge’s Green Street, bartender Misty Kalkofen recently created a concoction dubbed the Good Humor, composed of Aperol (an Italian apéritif made with bitter orange and rhubarb), an egg yolk, and cream. Forward-thinking mixologists are also beginning to break huevos at Eastern Standard, Rialto, and Chez Henri.