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Dear Dr. Vinny,
I notice that the ratings of non-vintage wines vary a bit from year to year; my impressions were that wineries aimed at producing the same-tasting wine for their NV product. If the difference is due to differing grape conditions from year to year, then is the effort to reproduce the same-tasting wine for the NV product not in vain?
—Doug P., Montreal
You're right that the goal with NV wines is to produce a consistent style from year to year. But since vintage variation can be significant—especially in northern regions such as Champagne—that goal is not always met, even by skilled winemakers using reserve wines from several older vintages. (That's why we review the current NV version of most Champagnes each year.) However, for the most part, blending wines from multiple vintages does result in a consistent house style.
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