Via in the Times (UK), Hugh Johnson, author of the World Atlas of Wine, has stated that vintages (good years to you and I) are a thing of the past.
From the article, quoting Johnson’s 2008 Pocket Wine book
Johnson, 68, says that wine growers have developed so many clever techniques to compensate for bad weather or disease ruining their crops that almost any year is a perfectly good one for drinkers.
Some other notable quotes from the article:
“it is only snobbery that is forcing up the price of some years against others.”
“it points to a problematic concern with prestige that is driving the market at the top end.”
“vintages used to be really crucial but the difference now is not so much in quality as reputation, because the most famous ones are traded up to ridiculous prices. The reasons people buy a particular wine are complex but have a lot to do with snobbism.”
All this in a week when wines from a Norwegian restaurateur were auctioned in LA for just over £3 million. Yikes!
What does this mean when shopping for wine?
I’ve seen the same bottle, different years on the same shelf with €5 in the difference. So, are they both the same? Perhaps, if we believe the article. However, it probably doesn’t account for the aging in the bottle. One year could make a big difference to a relatively young wine, though perhaps not to an old one (of which I’ve little or no experience drinking)