Friday, May 8, 2009

Vintage, Vintage, Vintage...I Want My Vintage!

Ok, I'm going to go out on a limb, here. Vintage ain't all its cracked up to be...

Now before you click off this blog, never to return again, let me expand upon the notion a bit. My opinion is that vintage is important, as the laws of terroir tell us that climate factors are crucial to grape development and the resulting wines. But I think that our American pysche of "only the best will do" can betray us at times. If one becomes consumed with only the best vintages, you will miss out on magnificence to the 10th degree in the form of an underdog. I can't tell you how many times I've tasted great (yes, great) wines from supposed "off-vintages". They just needed some time to come around, like those high school movies where the geeky girl becomes the bombshell.

Here's how it works in the world of wine...

Wine experts, in the form of the press, travel and taste, as well as talk to the producers to hear about the new vintage. These are all good things! Hell, I try to do as much of it as possible to understand what is in the bottle and why it tastes the way it does. But somewhere along the line, the word gets out on the greatness or not-so-greatness of a vintage, in general terms. A broad brush paints everyone's mind who hears about it and that's that. But wines change and evolve from barrel to bottle. And no one likes to go back and say that they might be wrong about a vintage characterization. So that pervasive notion's a shame.

But what is wrong with a wine that is not from a great vintage? If it is still pleasing to drink and enjoy, why not do just that? It would be a boring wine world if every vintage was great, even if every wine I drank was great. There is a profoundness in the differences that can tell the story of a family's passion. Maybe about the trials and tribulations associated with the challenges to make a good wine when nature threw curve balls in the dirt. I love that.

JCB the 4th

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