What is a good vintage for red wine?

Speaking of the topic of wine vintage, it is quite complicated. So far I haven’t found an article that can explain this issue clearly. To clarify the vintage, it may be specific to the country, production area, village, winery or even specific wine types, and it is often impossible to generalize. Just ask some questions below, and you will know how complicated this question is.


Q: Is 1982 a good year?
A: Wrong, the Lafite in 1982 has excellent quality and has become a legendary wine passed down by word of mouth. So many people think that 1982 must be a top vintage, and the wines produced in 1982 are all good wines. Is it really? ’82 is a good vintage for Bordeaux, but it is not necessarily a good vintage for Burgundy, for Champagne, for Tuscany, and for Napa Valley. The climatic conditions in different countries and different producing areas are different. The so-called sunrise in the east and rain in the west, and the quality of grapes produced in the same year all over the world is the same, that is absolutely impossible.

Q: Was Bordeaux in 1982 all good wines?
A: Wrong, the wine produced in Pauillac Village in 1982 is of high quality, like Lafite and Mouton are top vintages. But Margaux and Graf are not as good as they want. So Da Lafite in 1982 is valuable, but Da Margaux in 1982 is not expensive.

Q: The red wine in Pauillac Village in 1982 was very good, so the white wine was just as good?
A: Wrong, red wine and white wine have different climate requirements. Red wine needs a hotter climate for the grapes to reach perfect maturity, while white wine prefers cool weather, so that white wine will be amazing acidity. Therefore, the white wines produced in many poor vintages in Bordeaux are exceptional.

Q: Will a bad year be a bad year?
A: It’s wrong with Burgundy in 2012. It encountered the worst planting season (frost, hail, storm, rain, sun, mold, and some decay), and the harvest was extremely low. However, the surviving grapes showed exceptionally tenacious vitality, making the 2012 Burgundy red wine a high-quality vintage in recent years.

Q: Good vintage wines are of better quality because they are more expensive?
A: Wrong with the good vintages of the Bordeaux century like 2009. Bordeaux is generally of high quality, so the overall price has also risen. Even small wineries can sell at high prices. But there are thousands of wineries in Bordeaux, can you expect them to produce the same quality as Lafite? A mediocre winemaker sometimes spoils a lot of good grapes, so you might buy a expensive but mediocre wine.

Q: It is impossible to produce top-quality wines in poor vintages?
A: It’s wrong that the overall quality of Bordeaux in 2008 is not particularly good, but the first-class villages of this year still maintained a very high standard. Therefore, for ordinary consumers, pay more attention to the good wine produced in ordinary years, and it is possible to pick up cheap and good products.

Q: For wines from the same winery, expensive vintages are better than cheaper vintages?
A: The price of the wrong wine sometimes depends not only on the quality, but also changes in the market and the decrease in output will cause price fluctuations. For example, the price of Bordeaux 2012 has fallen sharply. Some wines may be half cheaper than 2007, but their quality is much better. The 2013 vintage of Burgundy is not a particularly good vintage, but because the production is too small, the winery can only sell at a higher price in order not to lose money.

Q: Can a good vintage be stored for a long time?
A: The storage time of the wrong wine depends on many factors: tannin, acidity, sugar, etc. Based on different characteristics, wines from different producing regions have different aging potentials. Like Lafite in 1982, it can be aged for decades and still maintain high quality, but maybe the products of the small winery next to his house have begun to decline after 10 years of aging. And Nebbiolo, like Barolo, Italy, can be easily aged for decades without deterioration even if the vintage is weak.

Q: Wines of good vintages cannot be drunk right away, must they be drunk after several years of aging?
A: Wrongly like Bordeaux red wine, most of which have heavy tannins. When you drink it when you are young, it often looks sour and hard to eat. It needs to be aged for a few years before drinking. But red wines like Burgundy and Napa Valley have softer tannins and can be drunk when you are young. At this time, the fruity aroma in the wine will be more fresh and rich.

Q: Will the wine of the old vintage be more mellow than the new vintage?
A: The wrong wine is alive, but there will also be youth, prime of life, old age and even death. Some wines are suitable for drinking at a young age, even if they are left for a long time, they will not get better. Even Lafite in 1982 has entered its peak in recent years. If you don’t drink it, it will go downhill and continue to depreciate. Therefore, drinking a wine while it is at its peak is the best way to get back the price.

Q: New World wines are not greatly affected by the vintage?
A: The wrong statement has been wrong for a long time, mainly because the New World wines are mostly single-variety, and it seems that there is little difference in taste every year. In the old world, mostly blended wines, the blending ratio often changes greatly every year according to the climate and the growth of the grapes, resulting in great differences in the taste of wines in different years. So it seems that the old world has changed a lot, but in fact, the influence of vintage on the quality of wine is the same.

Q: When buying all wines, consumers need to pay attention to the vintage?
A: Wrong. In fact, for ordinary consumers, 99% of daily table wines do not need to pay attention to the year. Large quantities of modern industrial products can maintain a relatively consistent quality through scientific quality control methods. Moreover, wines that are generally consumed daily do not need to be aged, but should be consumed as soon as possible while they are fresh. Only when you use wine as a collection or investment, you need to pay special attention to the vintage.

So which production areas? Which vintages are worth collecting? Let’s take a look at the year information of the world’s major producing areas from 1980 to 2017. Before 1980, most of the wines were not suitable for drinking and had no reference value, except for some top wineries. Many of the wines in 2018 have not yet been on the market and are currently not well received.

Refer to the WA producing area score (as of April 2020) and select top vintages & excellent vintages, which are only representative of the average level. There will still be differences between individual wineries. There are occasional top wines in ordinary vintages, and top vintages are hard to guarantee. The perineal ditch capsized.
The dry red top vintages of Saint-Julian/Pouillac/St Esteve Village on the left bank of Bordeaux, France: 1982, 1990, 1996, 2000, 2009, 2010, 2016 Excellent vintages: 1985, 1986, 1989, 1995, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2017
France Bordeaux Left Bank Margaux Village Dry Red Top Years: 2005, 2009, 2016
Excellent years: 1983, 1986, 1990, 2000, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2017
France, the left bank of Bordeaux, Graf/Pesa Creole, France, dry red top vintage:
2000, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016 outstanding years: 1985, 1990, 1998, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2017
France Bordeaux right bank Pomerol producing area Dry red top vintage: 1982, 1989, 1990, 1998, 2009, 2015, 2016
Excellent years: 1983, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2017
France, Bordeaux right bank, Saint-Emilion production area, dry red top vintage: 1990, 1998, 2000, 2005
Excellent years: 1982, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016
France Bordeaux, Basac/Sou Dai, sweet white top vintage: 1988, 1990, 2005, 2009
Excellent years: 1986, 1989, 2001, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
France Burgundy Night Hill producing area Dry red top vintage: 2005, 2010, 2015, 2016
Excellent years: 1990, 1995, 1999, 2002, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017
France Burgundy Borne Hill production area Dry red top vintage: 2005, 2015
Excellent years: 1990, 1999, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016
France Burgundy dry white top vintage: 2014, 2017
Excellent years: 1995, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
France North Rhone Valley Rotich/Hermitage Dry red top vintage: 2003, 2009, 2010, 2015
Excellent years: 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2016
France, South Rhône Valley, Château Pope Dry red top vintage: 1998, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2010, 2016
Excellent years: 1989, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015, 2017
France Champagne-producing region Top sparkling vintages: 1996, 2008, 2012
Excellent years: 1982, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2009, 2013, 2014
Italy Piedmont Barbaresco dry red top vintage: 1982, 1989, 1990, 1996, 2001
Excellent years: 1985, 1988, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004

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