Thursday, July 17, 2008

What A Difference A Vintage Can Make

Can the same brand and type of wine vary from vintage to vintage? You bet. Sometimes, the change can be huge. Here's one very dramatic example:

Alamos Malbec 2006. Rich and deep with dark berries, flowers and popcorn on the nose. The taste was thick and fruity with cherry, pomegranate, leather, spice and black pepper. The finish was lingering and floral. Very smooth. Real wine for 7.99. We loved it.

Alamos Malbec 2007. Sour, hot, angular and bitter. It seemed as though the wine's entire structure was off. Husband called it, "the red headed step child of malbecs." At first we thought it was just too young so we decanted it. Twelve hours later it wasn't any better. I don't think I would even cook with this one. To make matters that much worse, the 2007 was two bucks more than the 06. Just to be clear, it wasn't corked.

Why can there be a difference between vintages? There are many factors. Growing season, when the grapes are picked, processing at the winery, etc.

So if you read a review of one vintage, don't assume the same description fits all vintages for the same wine. To add insult to injury, some stores use the same description for all vintages. Is this practice lazy, dishonest, or both? I can only speculate.

Simple red wine advice from Eclectic Dilettante; the non-expert, budding wine snob.

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