One of my favorite movies, A New Leaf, has a scene that makes me laugh every time I see it - Henry asks Henrietta whether she agrees that 1955 was a better year than 1953 for Mouton Rothschild. She replies, but doesn’t reference the Bordeaux. Instead, she tells him about a drink she calls the Malaga Cooler, made from Mogen David extra heavy malaga wine with lime juice and soda, and she tells him that “every year is good.”
I once heard someone in the wine industry say that a wine is good when every year is good - and proceeded to advocate for non-vintage wines. The reasoning? The wine will be more dependable that way.
I could not disagree more. Being vintage conscious is important, and I’m sure there are a lot of people who would agree with me when I say that only certain years are good - for example, 2000 might be a great vintage for wines from one region, and terrible for those of another region.
This is why I love the wines that are not tampered with by their winemaker. The wines are permitted to express themselves, their identity, and what was going on in the wine’s home when the grapes were grown.
Have you ever seen those birthday cards and booklets that are designed around a particular birth year? That’s how I like to think of each vintage. The time a person is born often shapes the person’s identity - the same goes for what happened in the grape’s environment the year the grapes were grown and the wine was made. If there’s a bad vintage, it happens. In all likelihood, grapes from a different region had a better growing season, so for the wine drinker, all is not lost - enjoy something different perhaps. But don’t think that wines should be exactly the same every year - that’s ridiculous. And it’s sort of like expecting someone born at one time to have the same traits and preferences as someone from a different time. Let the wine be itself and appreciate it for what it is.