Vintage- it’s the date in which the grapes were picked to create the wine in your glass today. Looking at a bottle of wine that you have purchased and tasted and loved for the last year now has a new date stamped on the front. Does that even matter Justin? Well, for some mass produced wines that have huge blending capabilities, maybe not. The flavor may stay consistent. For the smaller producers vintage could make or break a wine.
A grape growing climate may be Mediterranean, but the weather including sunlight(cloud or fog cover), temperature, wind, hail, amount of rain etc… can affect how well grapes grow. The viticulturists play a delicate game of chess with Mother Nature to create the best crop for making wine they can. Sometimes Mother Nature is not so forgiving. Cold growing seasons can lead to underripe grapes that taste green and have high acidity. A huge rain right before harvest can thin the wine with watered down grapes. Frost or hail can destroy crops and reduce yields. Lack of wind may allow certain fungus and disease to grow. All of this can affect the final product that ends up in your Riedel stemware.
Here at The Bottle Room we have come across several wines that tasted great in one year and didn’t make the mark the next. Could it be other factors than vintage? Yes, a change in wine producers or the percentage of each grape used in the wine or maybe the barrels used to make the wine. These can all have an affect on the wine. But all wine starts with grapes. If the grapes came from a great Vintage the chances are the wine will be of better quality compared to the same wine of a poor Vintage. So pay attention to vintage and how the wine tastes from that vintage. There are several places you can learn about how well a particular vintage was and what types of wines to expect from that vintage. Here is an example from the NAPA Valley Vintners website on NAPA wine Vintages: http://www.napavintners.com/napa_valley/vintage_charts.asp
I hope this helps you with your wine experience
Justin Rutchik – making wine more approachable