Importance of the vintage
October 16, 2007
"Andrea, I received an offer from ...... and they were selling a bottle of Barolo for £..., what do you think? " this is a question I received a couple of days ago from one of our clients and because after that I received the same newsletter and there was no vintage with regard to the Barolo but not only, I decided it was worth mentioning it in the blog. When buying wines like Barolo or Brunello di Montalcino, but not only, what determines the quality and the price of the wine is the vintage. In countries like Italy but I would include the whole old world, not all vintages are the same. In many countries of the old world a lot of practices in the vineyards, such as irrigation, are not allowed. This, in simple words, means that not two vintages are the same due to the different weather conditions. In the new world, where these practices are allowed, there is no much difference between vintages. Now going back to the initial question, buying a Barolo vintage 2002 or buying a vintage 2000 is not the same. The 2000 was rated as 5 star vintage versus the 2002 which was only rated 2 stars. What does this mean? 5 star vintage means that the wine has all elements to produce a fantastic wine and last for years or decades, the alcohol, the acidity and the tannins. This also means that you can buy a bottle now, store in your cellar for 10 years and then open it. You can be pretty certain that it will be a real pleasure drinking it. When buying the 2002, with good producers not bottling it and using the grapes for their nebbiolo, if you buy it and keep the wine in your cellar for 10 years, when drinking it you can be pretty certain that it will be vinegar. I will invite you to try Brasato al Barolo to rid of it and still impress your guest. If you still want to buy it, because you still think it is a good deal, make sure you drink it soon but when drinking it expect to drink an oaked nebbiolo, surely with harsh tannins and definitely not round. I also want to take the opportunity to share a couple of tips to spot good restaurants or shop. If you go to a restaurant and see that for expensive wines, not only Italian but also French or Champagne, don't have the vintage or the NV for non vintages Champagne, the restaurant does not know much about wines, and if you really want to know whether the wine is worth the money you are paying for, ask for the vintage. If you are not sure about the vintage or if the wine is too young even if of a good year, then it is almost surely not worth the money you are paying for, so choose something else. Wines not ready to be drunk are often found in restaurants wine list. Wines, especially the aged ones, the Riserva, need a few years after the release of the vintage before being ready to be drunk and many restaurants sell wines that have just been releases and always doubt of sommeliers that recommend wines without asking what you will eat If you have any experience or any question let me know.
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