Wine Culture and Information - Volume 13
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  Editorial Issue 23, October 2004   
New Year, New VintageNew Year, New Vintage MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 22, September 2004 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 24, November 2004

New Year, New Vintage


 Summertime is now over leaving the memory of the many torrid days and few rainy days, at least here in Italy. After two not truly amazing years, according to an enological point of view, as it was already predicted and as it was confirmed by glasses, it seems this year will finally be a good one and that meteorological conditions have been such to expect a good harvesting and vintage 2004 in Italy. By the time you are reading these words, most of the wineries will be done harvesting grapes in their vineyards. The result of the harvest will already be in the cellars in order to begin the “tumultuous” journey that from fermentation leads to the creation of wine: a miracle which is always enchanting and that every year promises new emotions, good ones and bad ones.

 Comments that “experts of the field” told about vintage 2004 seems to be encouraging and promising, so good that many of them said 2004 will be as good as 2001, indisputably one of the best in recent years. Moreover, many have said that 2004 will be even comparable to the almost “legendary” 1997, that in many areas of Italy was capable of giving wine of excellent quality. Premises and comparisons apart, one thing we can be relatively certain about vintage 2004 is that it will be better than 2003 and 2002, two vintages that will not certainly be remembered for the quality of their wines, with our respect for the hard works of those who every year make wine and believe in their land. After all the good part of wine is also that: every year there is a new match and only at the end you know about the result, which is always different and always new, luckily.

 In Italy the 2002 was certainly not excellent, things got better in 2003, however both years - talking in general terms, of course - have not been that good and they will probably not be the ones we will remember with pleasure in future. Of course, not all the wine produced in 2002 and in 2003 is to be forgotten or underrated. If we consider things according to a more specific point of view, in which we do not consider the uneven law of generalization and we examine the results of regions, or even better small areas, it is possible to find some good bottles in these two vintages. In other words, for every vintage it is always appropriate to consider each area and each producer. They can be expressed general judgments representing the result of each vintage, but this could be unjust for those areas in which mother nature was not cruel and malevolent like in others. Generalization can always make innocent victims or can emphasize something which had no particular merits.


 

 This is the case of 1997 in which many have speculated on the extraordinary results of many areas and producers, indeed it is commonly known that whether in certain areas the results have been excellent, in others have simply been good or very good, however not excellent. Still today it is enough to say a wine is vintage 1997 and it is considered exceptional, even without considering other parameters or factors: it is 1997, it must be exceptional anyway. The same is true, in the opposite, for vintage 2002 and - in a lesser extent - for 2003. Wines belonging to these two vintages are considered inferior without even pouring them in a glass. Indeed we known, just because we poured these wines in our glasses, there was something good to be saved, both in 2002 and in 2003. Indisputably, with wines of vintage 2001 it is easier to find a higher quantity of good bottles.

 We should probably need to learn to listen more what a wine can tell from the glass - just like we should do in relationships with people - with no prejudices. We have to learn to express our judgment only after we completely know a wine, after having tasted it and allowed it to tell us its story. Of course there will be wines capable of telling more enchanting and exciting stories than others, this does not mean however other stories are not worth listening or not important. Moreover, whoever consider himself or herself a real wine lover or wine taster, knows the educational and cultural value of tasting average quality wines belonging to different vintages. Only this let us to appreciate and recognize the best things from the bad ones. After all it can be recognized only what is already known, they can be evaluated only things that can be compared one each other: a process which is possible only by knowing different things, those things - as a matter of fact - which represent the reference parameters for every taster.

 As for 2004, let's take all the prediction as a good wish in the hope they will be confirmed with results. In case it will be like this, this is for sure, the first ones to be happy for will certainly be wine lovers who - with not doubt - will share their joy with wine producers. For the moment we have to trustfully wait - like always - the ones who every year harvest the fruit of their vineyards and make it into wine: we know they will be capable of making the very best they can with what nature gives them. Of course, sometimes in the cellar can be made real miracles and from low quality grapes they can make unhoped results, not certainly extraordinary but however acceptable. It seems this year things will totally go different from the past years and - at least in the premises - we should have very good wines from every region of Italy and that will make us forget about the recent vintages and remember the very good vintage 2001. We just have to wait… while crossing our fingers.

 



   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 23, October 2004   
New Year, New VintageNew Year, New Vintage MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 22, September 2004 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 24, November 2004

MailBox


 In this column are published our reader's mail. If you have any comment or any question or just want to express your opinion about wine, send your letters to our editorial or fill in the form available at our site.

 

When is the best time for the grapes to be harvested in the Saar region?
Keith Pitcher -- Cambridge, England
The Saar region - belonging to the German quality wine area Mosel-Saar-Ruwer - is a pretty cold area and not all the years there are meteorological and climatic conditions which allow grape to reach full ripeness. In these least favorable years, grapes of the Saar region are mainly used for the production of Sekt, the renowned German sparkling wine. In the best years, that is the ones in which climatic conditions allow grapes to reach full ripeness, wines produced in this area can certainly be considered the best ones of Germany. Telling what is the best time for grapes to be harvested in the Saar region is pretty hard - and the same consideration can be done for any other wine area of the world - because the harvesting time is always and scrupulously decided by agronomists and wine makers according to the level of ripeness of grapes, a condition which mainly depends by the meteorological condition of each year and that every year is always different. Things get “harder” in Germany, because the highest quality level (Qualitätswein mit Prädikat, QmP) classifies wines according to the level of ripeness of grapes and to the quantity of sugar they contain. The riper the grapes, the later the harvest will be in regard to the “normal” times - usually at the end of summertime and the beginning of autumn - up to wintertime for grapes to be used for the production of eiswein.



I would like to know why certain sparkling wines are defined as “millesime”.
Mauro Pedrini -- Brescia (Italy)
The term “millesime” - which can be used with any other thing, not only with wines or sparkling wines - indicates, in our specific case, a wine or a sparkling wine in whose label is stated the millesime, that is the year of vintage. Whereas in “still” wines this term is scarcely used - in favor of year or vintage - in sparkling wines, in particular the ones produced with the classic method, it is often used to identify the name of a specific products, such as Franciacorta Satèn Millesime followed by the year of vintage. In millesime sparkling wines and regulated by strict disciplinary - such as Franciacorta and Champagne - grapes used for the production of the base wine must exclusively come from the vintage indicated by the millesime. Sparkling wines having no millesime, for which this term cannot be used in the label, can also be defined as sans année - abbreviated as S.A. - or non vintage, abbreviated as N.V. Other terms used for millesime sparkling wines include millesimato and vintage.



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  Editorial Issue 23, October 2004   
New Year, New VintageNew Year, New Vintage MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
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