One of the things that causes most consternation to casual wine drinkers is the variability of vintage wines. A vintage wine is simply one that comes from a specified year but the true picture is far more complex than that. The quality, and value, of any wine is determined by a number of factors. These can include the soil the vines are grown in, the climate of the area, the grape type(s), how it is aged and, of course, the expertise of the winemaker. Just to make things more complex, however, it also depends on the year the wine was grown.
Understanding vintage wines
Many wines benefit from ageing, especially those with a high tannin content. Even although the wine making process, ageing regime and grapes used may all be exactly the same, however, wines from different years can be very different in character and quality. This is because even small fluctuations in climate during the growing season and even just at the time of harvest can affect the character of the grapes and hence the wine. It is not uncommon, therefore, to see great variations in price between vintage wines of different years.
Let Gilbert & Gaillard guide you through vintage wines
The wine may come from the same vineyard and be made by the same winemakers. The label is identical and only the year is slightly different. Surely the wines must be almost identical? The answer, of course, is no; the wines in the bottle may be very different. The year a wine is made, or the vintage, is absolutely crucial to most serious wines. Vintage wines can be only a year or two apart but very in price and quality significantly. It is therefore vital to know about the vintage in question. The Gilbert & Gaillard wine guide offers a comprehensive assessment of each vintage year, letting you know which are the best and which years it may be best to avoid.
Variation in vintage wines
Just to add even more complexity to the idea of vintage wines, it is not the case that a good vintage in one region means a good vintage in another. In fact, even neighbouring regions can experience different conditions that will mean a good year in one area and a poor area in another. The local appellation may rule on whether a particular vintage is good, great or indifferent but the independent view offered by Gilbert & Gaillard is so much more valuable. Understanding the quality of each individual vintage will allow you to make better purchasing decisions.