Most of us would be pretty upset if we bought a bottle of Coca-Cola and it didn’t taste like what we expected. That beautiful bubbly sweet taste.
The reality with vintage wine is that, the moment you find a wine you really love, you have to accept it will never be the same again. Why? A little something called – Vintage variation.
Vintage Variation affects all wines and weather plays a huge role in the taste of wine.
What is Vintage?
The vintage date on a wine label refers to the year in which the grapes were harvested to make wine. The growing season (and its weather conditions) define how wines taste and age!
- A rainy year: Rainy years increase rot and disease to grapes, this produces lower quality grapes.
- Rains right before the harvest: This causes grapes to swell and produce flabby (low acid and less concentrated), uninteresting wines with little taste.
- A super dry year: Vines become very stressed and produce very little fruit due to the lack of water.
- A hot year: Temperatures over 92 ºF / 33 ºC cause vines to stop metabolizing and ripening fruit. This often creates wines with elevated alcohol levels but rigid, unripe tannin flavors, and less acidity.
- Frost late into spring: Frosts can kill buds on the vine and cause uneven ripening. It also shortens the growing season, increasing the pressure for perfect weather in the fall.
- Spring hailstorms: Hailstorms cause severe crop damage and greatly reduce the size of the vintage.
- Early fall frosts: Vines stop producing and grapes stop ripening. This generally increases the acidity in wines.
The Perfect Vintage
The “perfect” growing season is a sunny, not too hot, not too cold, not too dry, nor a not too wet year. Ideally this is a year where spring slowly leads into summer, and summer gradually tapers off into fall. It’s a year with just enough rain to keep the vines slightly thirsty so they don’t overproduce grapes.
Although wine changes from year to year there’s magic in that in collecting the years with the best harvest. Vist Macedo Winery and try our different vintages.