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Never paid any attention to vintage variation of wine? Here's why you should…

by , 11 September 2014

A wine can taste very different from one year to another even though it's from the same vineyard.

And it's all because of vintage variation.

Specific wines and wine growing regions are more susceptible to this than others.

Grapes grown in cooler areas with a higher chance of weather changes tend to show vintage variation more than grapes from areas of more consistent weather.

So how does vintage variation affect wine? Which wines should you look for this in? And how can you work out what the best vintages are for a wine?

Read on to find out…


The weather plays a huge part in the taste of a wine


The taste of wine is subject to the weather through the season the grapes are grown.

And that’s where ‘vintage variation’ comes from. This simply describes the differences in how a “wine tastes from year to year based on the weather’s influence on the grapes during a growing season,” the experts at Wine Folly explain.

The more variable the climate in a wine region, the bigger the vintage variation. A bout of bad weather can have a very negative effect on that year’s wine.


What can result in a bad vintage?


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There are a number of factors. These include:

  • A lot of rain towards the end of the grape growing season. This can result in grapes carrying too much water and dilutes the flavour of the wine.
  • If it’s frosty at the beginning of the grape growing season, it can kill some of the flowering buds that become grapes.
  • The crop of grapes can suffer if there’s too much rain early on in the grape’s growing season as the crops don’t get enough sunlight.


Which wine regions are most susceptible to vintage variation?


The worst affected wine regions are France, Northern Italy, New Zealand, Chile and the states of Oregon and Washington in the US.

So if you buy a wines from these regions, you need to get up to scratch with that area’s vintage variation. You just need to do a quick search online for your specific wine.


Vintage variation tips: How to pick a wine that’ll never disappoint


But if a cold spell hits a wine region, it’s not necessarily all bad news.

Cool weather may make a bad vintage for a red wine, but it can create quite the opposite for white wines. Cooler weather can produce very crisp white wines.

If you like very full-bodied, fruity reds, select wines from warmer area. You’ll be less likely to be disappointed with the flavour than a similar wine from a cooler area.

So there you have it. Now you know exactly why you should pay attention to the vintage variation of wine.

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