I have been thinking about my colleague James Laube’s blog of August 3 when he discussed the option for winemakers to produce more non-vintage wines. And it made me think about how many people are already doing this – legally and illegally.
In Italy, for example, producers often talk about “adjusting” a vintage. If I am not mistaken, European law allows up to 15 percent of another vintage in a vintage-dated wine. That’s a lot, in my humble opinion. I don’t think the law should allow any …
So, just as an example, a winemaker who insisted on bottling a 2002 Brunello may have added some 2003, 2004 or even 2005 to improve what was a pretty mediocre vintage. Unfortunately, this didn’t help most of them, since 2002 was so inferior. I didn’t find one wine worth 90 points in the vintage. Many well-known names received scores of less than 80 points with their 2002 Brunellos.
Then there are other producers who manipulate vintages even more. I remember stories about one famous château in Bordeaux that added up to 40 percent of its 1975 to the 1974, “Because the owner couldn’t bear the wine to be so bad.” In fact, it is one of the best 1974s out there, and still tastes very good. I don’t think that happens any more in Bordeaux…
Let’s not get into recorking wines, wherein some producer “top up” older vintages with new ones.
Anyway, I am against any adjusting of vintages unless a wine is labeled as non-vintage, like a non-vintage Champagne or Port. If the date is on the label, then it should be 100 percent from that year. Otherwise, it’s simply dishonest.
Ken Koonce — Dallas, Texas — August 7, 2007 11:32am ET
Errol R Kovitch — Michigan — August 7, 2007 12:18pm ET
Robert Kim — Las Vegas, Nevada — August 7, 2007 1:21pm ET
Susan Owens — August 7, 2007 2:35pm ET
Jim Mcclure — DFW, Texas — August 7, 2007 4:35pm ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — August 7, 2007 8:10pm ET
Fred Brown — August 7, 2007 9:38pm ET
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