Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Did You Know?... About Wine Vintages

When winemakers release a new wine, they are careful to label the year the grapes were picked. That way, we wine drinkers can understand a little more about the wine. In addition to the natural characteristics of the varietal, the terrior of the growing region, and the style of the winemaker, the year the grapes were harvested gives us some clues as to its character. In this case, it all comes down to weather. An unseasonably warm year can result in extremely ripe grapes, giving bigger flavors than usual. An uncommonly rainy harvest season may mean that the grapes were harvested early, leading to under-ripe, tarter flavors. In most cases, it won't matter much. You will seldom find two different vintages of the same wine on the shelves of your favorite wine shop. In fact, you might be weary if you do find a wine more than 4 or 5 years old on the shelf, it's possible that wine didn't sell and might now be "off". But, some of the most impressive restaurant wine lists might have several vintages of the same wine to suit different situations. A less renowned vintage might keep the price point down on wines from famous producers, giving less discriminating drinkers the chance to try something, possibly still amazing, at a more approachable price point. When in doubt, as always, we'll advise that you ask lots of questions, just like we do.

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