The ‘bagnum’ is this winter’s big wine trend. Abbie Moulton samples some sac de vin
Something’s going on in the world of wine. Perceptions are changing, old-school snobbery is being cast aside and the veils of pomp and pretence are being torn away from the winemaker’s work.
In other words, wine in a bag is an acceptable thing now.
Millenials who are discovering a love of wine also care about value and sustainability, which in turn is shifting focus away from big-bucks Bordeaux and towards the smaller, craftier producers who are ditching tradition in favour of innovation. This includes saying au revoir to glass bottles.
We’re not talking about your parents’ holiday plonk, or the supermarket stuff you guzzled from a box as a student, however. The ‘bagnum’ is 1.5 litres of wine made from the best, hand-picked grapes, harvested from the finest wine regions, and it’s rapidly gaining cult status in France, the UK and beyond.
The man leading the wine-in-a-bag revolution is Aussie-born micro-negociant Andrew Nielsen of Le Grappin. Based in Burgundy, his bagnums include a red Syrah/Grenache from Côtes du Rhône, a deliciously drinkable Chardonnay from Mâcon-Villages and a Beaujolais Rosé Gamay & Pinot blend. You can now find them in some Michelin-starred London restaurants such as Claude Bosi’s Hibiscus and Simon Rogan’s Fera at Claridge’s.
Why keep them in bags not bottles? Firstly, the bags are better for the enviroment. And secondly, because no oxygen can get inside the bag once it’s open the wine lasts longer.
Andrew explains: “It appeals to professionals and creative types open to new ideas. The bags fit our modern lifestyles – there’s great wine in the fridge when you just want a glass, or you may want a carafe on Sunday night but not want to drink again until Thursday night. The rest of your Sunday night bottle is spoiled, but your bagnum is still fresh as a daisy.”
The snobs might turn their noses up at the thought, but there’s no denying the trend points towards new, and more pragmatic, ways of thinking and drinking. “The consumer is more aware that they don’t have to spend fifty quid to have a good bottle of wine,” explains Vincent Gasnier, Soho House’s master sommelier, based in London.
“I love introducing my customers to amazing wines that they don’t expect. People are looking for value for money, and tastes are moving towards more fruit-driven, softer wines that are ready for drinking earlier.”
Which all means one thing – our idea of what makes a ‘fine’ wine is changing. The new generation wants more accessible, ethical and easy-to-drink plonk. And by the bagful, please.
Other great ways to drink…