Grape Tips Thursday – September 10, 2015: The Importance of The Wine Vintage or Year

This Week In Wine 101: The Importance of Wine Vintages

Have you ever found yourself perusing the aisles at the liquor store in search of a good wine and wondered what the importance of the year on a wine label meant? Or wondered if it was a good or bad year and how it might taste? The truth is the year of a wine can indicate when the wine was made, whether it will age well or if it is a vintage of a particular year.

What’s more, when it comes to winemaking there are several important factors that contribute to the importance of the year a wine was produced including:

  • Geographical location and soil,
  • Climate and weather conditions,
  • The grape varietals, and
  • Vinification (wine making) processes.

All of these contribute to the success of a harvest. Weather in particular is very influential and can determine whether a wine will mature early, age well and can even affect the overall taste of a wine.

For example, certain regions like, Bordeaux, Piedmont and Tuscany are renowned for their vineyards because the regions have favorable (weather) conditions for producing wine. Not to mention, each region has perfected different vinification methods into an art form. Generally, most wines should be consumed while they’re young but vintage wines improve, as they get older.

 

What Exactly Is A Wine Vintage?

So what’s a vintage and why does it taste so different? Well, a wine vintage represents the year the grapes were harvested, so technically every year is considered a vintage. However, when a bottle has a vintage classification on the label this indicates that the weather conditions were favorable for that year, resulting in a wine with a smooth taste and balanced flavors that sing in your mouth. That is why wine enthusiasts and collectors use vintage charts to help them find the best quality wines from certain regions from a specific year. Wine vintage charts also provide a scoring system that grades wines based on its characteristics, qualities and taste. If you have the budget and are looking for wines to add to your collection, consider investing in vintage wines from regions that appeal to your style and taste.

So what have we learned? The year in which a wine is produced is important, especially if you’re planning to enjoy a wine immediately versus store it for a later date. Also, the geographical location, soil, climate and weather, grapes and vinification or winemaking process contribute to the success of the grapes harvest.

So when a bottle of wine is labeled with a wine vintage (year), this indicates the weather was favorable that year. If you’re looking for a top-quality wine to enjoy for a special occasion, present as a gift or add to your collection, consider investing in a vintage wine. Utilizing a vintage chart will help you identify different grape varietals from various wine regions that experienced excellent weather conditions for a particular year. Additionally, if you have questions about a particular varietal and the year it was produced, contact to the vineyard. They are experts and can help you find a wine that will suit your taste and budget. Santé!

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