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Friday, April 26, 2013

Difficult Crop

I was told the other day that this was not a particularly exciting year for the NFL draft, which took place yesterday.  I asked why this was the case, and the answer was that the pool of players to choose from just didn’t seem so exciting.  I replied that perhaps a surprise would come from either the pool of first round draft picks, or perhaps someone picked much later on would have the best first season of all the young men entering the NFL.

Sometimes a particular year produces a bad crop.  The weather in the growing season may not have been conducive, or anything else could have affected the outcome of the quality of the grapes picked at harvest time.  When this happens, it can affect one region, or it can affect many regions.  The result could be a very limited yield and therefore very high prices on a small amount of wine, or it can result in wines of a lesser quality than normal.  Either way it can be disappointing, due to there being not much wine available that vintage (and consequently wines being far from affordable), or undesirable wine from our favorite regions.

We’re all well aware of the downside of a bad crop.  But what about the upside?  I think the upside is that there can be some surprises, a diamond in the rough, or perhaps an opportunity to look to other regions that may have had a better crop - perhaps places from which we don’t normally drink the wine, for no particular reason except that we’re so used to drinking those from our favorite regions, that we forget to look to other places.  Well, a bad crop in some regions might be the best excuse to drink wines from somewhere else.  We might even find some new favorites.

I’ve been hearing quite a bit about rough vintages lately, for a few reasons.  One reason is that in France, some bad weather brought about some lesser vintages and some very limited yields, even in places that normally have lovely and often predictable weather (e.g., Provence - the 2012 vintage was down about 14-20% across the region, which poses a problem for rosé consumption).

The other reason is - well, I’ve been asked for my ID enough times this year that I suppose I have nothing to be ashamed of, so it’s safe to tell you - I’m turning 30 this coming November, and I’m looking for as many 1983 bottles as I can find.  As you may know, 1983 wasn’t the best vintage, and aside from prices, 1983 bottles that are available and drinkable in 2013 are very difficult to find.  So far, I’ve found two, perhaps a third, but I’d like to find more than that.  I’ve been keeping my age a secret from just about everyone but the importance of finding 1983 bottles has trumped my vanity.  And while snooping around for the wines, I’ve realized just how difficult a vintage it was.  But what might happen is that I may find some bottles from regions I never really thought about, and those might make up some of my choices this November.  And that could be part of the upside of a difficult vintage in my birth year.

One thing is for certain - difficult crops make us appreciate a great vintage all the more.

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