Recent Posts

Search Site:

« The Myth Of The Bad Vintage | Main | Wine & Oak: An Inseparable Pair »

The Myth Busted

Last week I discussed how each vintage is unique, how circumstances can produce a mixed variety of quality, how modern winemaking techniques and the winemaker's skill improve the wine, and how blending can have an immensely positive impact in the right hands. But there's more to the story: The different varietals have distinct preferences for weather that are sometimes divergent. Each varietal has a personality with its own likes and dislikes. Some like it hot, some like it cool. Some are very vigorous and their growth needs to be carefully restrained. Some need to be coaxed along and provided with an ample supply of water and nutrients. What that means is that a so-so year for Cabernet might be the ideal growing conditions for a Pinot Noir. Micro-climates play a role too. One side of a hill might be several degrees warmer than another or receive more light. That’s why Dry Creek Valley is known for their Zins and the Russian River for the Pinots it produces. That’s also why we have 20 different vineyards under contract from all over Sonoma Valley. I've heard it said more than once that odd vintages tend to be better than even ones. I would suggest that while there does seem to be a consistent difference in the weather patterns over time it does not equate to better or worse wines, merely different ones. It seems that even years tend to produce elegant and nuanced wines whereas the odd years favor bold, spicier varietals with more tannins.

I learned recently that the growth cycle of the vine is actually a two year cycle as well.  The bud that will ultimately produce the grapes for the 2012 harvest are beginning to grow this year. When the shoots are pruned back after the harvest during the winter they are clipped just above the last node that had developed over the year. This is the bud that will produce the fruit of the following vintage. I had always assumed that it was a one-year growth cycle. It makes so much sense to me! There is a difference in character between wines of even and odd years that can be traced back to tangible, biological fact. Of course this information that I'm just learning a talented winemaker knows very well. The key is working with what you have, finding the true nature of whatever Nature has given you and capturing that in the bottle.

The moral of the story is that there’s more to a bottle than the year on the label. Instead find a winery that can deliver the goods year after year.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (3)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    If you really like football, you probably have a favorite group from the National Football League or two and have a list of players who like to have noticed.
  • Response
    NFL is actually one of the largest sports in America. It has a main following.
  • Response
    Response: resume service
    I had enjoyed a lot really very impressive I site I have found here, thank you for updating important points here. This deerfieldcellarrat blog has been updating points about tri the myth busted keep it up.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>