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Vintage chart since 1990

 

 

    Extraordinary year
W
Wait
    Brilliant
ED
Enjoy Drinking
    Very good
DU
Drink Up
    Average
T
Tired and over the hill
    Not so good
 

 

 

 
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
1990
Red Bordeaux
W
ED
W
ED
ED
W
ED
W
ED
ED
DU
DU

ED/

DU

ED
Sauternes & Barsac
ED
ED
W
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED

DU/

T

T
DU
ED
Red Burgundy
W
W
DU
ED
DU
DU
ED
W
ED
DU
DU
ED

ED/

DU

ED
White Burgundy
W
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
DU
ED

DU/

T

DU/

T

ED/

DU

T
DU
Northern Rhone
W
ED
W
ED
W
W
ED
ED
W
ED
T

ED/

DU

ED
ED
Southern Rhone
ED
T
W
ED
ED
ED
DU
DU
W

DU/

T

DU/

T

DU/

T

T
ED

Alsace

ED
W
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
Loire (sweet)
NA
ED
DU
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED

Champagne

NA
W

ED

ED
ED
DU
ED
W
ED
NV
ED
NV
NV

ED/

DU

Germany

ED
W
W
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED

ED/

DU

ED/

DU

Vintage Port

?
?
NV
W
NV
NV
W
NV
NV
W
NV

W/

ED

ED
NV

Piedmont

W

ED/

DU

W

W/

ED

W

W/

ED

W/

ED

W

ED/

DU

DU

ED/

DU

DU
DU
ED

Tuscany

W

ED/

DU

W
ED

W/

ED

ED/

DU

W/

ED

ED
W

ED/

DU

ED/

DU

DU

ED/

DU

ED

Rioja

W
ED
ED
ED
ED

ED/

DU

ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED

Australia

W/

ED

W

W/

ED

ED/

DU

ED

ED

ED/

DU

ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED
ED

California

ED
ED
ED

ED/

DU

ED

ED

ED/

DU

ED/

DU

ED

ED

ED

ED/

DU

ED/

DU

ED/

DU

White New Zealand

W/

ED

W/

ED

W/

ED

ED

ED
ED

W/

ED

W/

ED

T

W/

ED

ED

ED

ED

ED

Red New Zealand

W/

ED

W/

ED

W/

ED

W

W/

ED

W/

ED

W/

ED

ED

ED

previous vintages not considered for rating

South Africa

W/

ED

ED

W/

ED

W/

ED

ED

W/

ED

DU
T
DU

 

 

Why do vintages differ?

 

Climate and weather both have an important impact on vines and their ability to produce good-quality grapes, and hence on the resulting wine. Climate is the long term weather patterns that occur an a region and often this will determine whether grapes are grown at all. The climate in Scotland is not (yet) conducive to grape growing but in Central California it is perfect. Weather is the regional and seasonal variation in climatic conditions, and grape production will depend on the weather - rain, frost, hail, sunshine etc - in an asrea where overall climate is suitable for grape growing.

 

It is the variation in weather from year to year that leads to vintage variation in wines. This effect will be more marked in areas with more volatile weather. On the whole the constantly favourable climatic conditions in many New World wine producing regions makes for a constant output so vintage variation is minimal. Also modern winemaking techniques have have gone a long way to ironing out vintage variation in large-production wines especially in the New World

 

In more marginal climates, mostly found in Europe, New Zealand and Tasmania, weather tends to be more variable and extreme and this in turn will lead to more variation in each vintage of a wine.

 

For example in 1991 in Bordeaux there was a devastating spring frost that destroyed the first buds, this could have merely left a very much reduced harvest, but it was compounded by intense rain in August and September, which wiped out any remaining harvest. In contrast in 2000, despite a damp and mildewy spring and early summer, the weather improved and warm, dry conditions prevailed until after harvest and the result is one of the best vintages of the last 90 years.

 

Vintage charts are, by definition, generalisations and do not take into account individual producers or micro-climates, but they are a useful tool to gain an overview.

 

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