We are well on our way into 2019 – Another year older, wiser maybe fitter or richer? But what about wine?
We love wine, so do you, why does it change each year, what factures come into play?
Gaining a better understanding of what is great and what is not in the wine world is hard and we get questions about this all the time.
One of them is Vintage – what is it and why does it make a difference?
Lately, we have been asking all our winemakers about Vintage 2019 and how that has panned out, the news across Australia is pretty much, it is tasting better than 2017 out of the barrel so imagine what it’s going to be like when it hits the bottle!
I personally love vintage 2013 better than any other year in between and 1997 was a great year too! There is so much data on weather, climate change (this is a total another blog) and winemaker influence.
I have some of the answers to your questions
What is a Vintage?
A whole year in wine! It is the year that the fruit was harvested.
It’s not that hard right?
NV – what the hell??? NV stands for Non – Vintage where the wine (especially sparkling) has a few different years of harvested fruit!
What makes a ‘great’ vintage?
There are many factors to make a great vintage. Really what you want is a perfect climate. That is;
- The right amount of rain (so no reticulation is needed)
- Early and rapid flowering
- Complete maturity of grapes with no signs of fungi
From this, we can say that a wine’s vintage can affect the flavour and characteristics of the wine. If the weather conditions lead to early rain and fungi the whole crop could be a disaster for the winery. Great weather can be juicier and more flavoursome.
Though, just because one region has a great crop does not mean the whole of Australia will. There are microclimates and they all have very different weather systems.
Let’s take two popular grapes as an example: Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon. Riesling is a grape which produces the best wines when it is exposed to warm, sunny days, and chilly nights (like Clare Valley or Great Southern, WA). Cabernet Sauvignon, on the other hand, loves hot, dry climates with loads of sunshine.
What does Vintage do to the taste of my wine?
Every year your wine should taste different. We encourage you to cellar one of your favourite wine’s each year so you can do a ‘vertical tasting’
A vertical tasting is different vintages of the same wine type from the same winery.
Each year the wine will change in characteristics as an effect of the climate and winemakers influence.
Personally, we love when a new vintage is released, picking the differences and just seeing the new life in the bottle. There have been times though that we have loved the previous vintage and not stocked the new vintage. There are also times that winemakers refuse to make wines in a year if they are not proud of their product.
If You’re Collecting Wines:
For collectors and investors, vintage really does matter. The reason for this is due to the fact that the best vintage years produce wines with plenty of tannins and acidity… and that means they’re going to age much more effectively.
When Vintage doesn’t matter as much?
When you will be consuming the bottle pretty much straight away 😊
When buying cheaper wine from big producers.
As you have probably heard me bang on about – if you buy from the big guys and it’s cheap – you get what you get! Aerate it, it can’t get any worse 😊
At the end of the day – if you like it drink it!
If you love it – get one or two to keep 😊