Each year we hear the same message with a different spin on it. This year’s vintage is going to be great because (insert variables here).
In my memory, the only really bad press a recent vintage has gotten was the 2004 Italian vintage. Virtually the entire country was soaked in late season rains that diluted an already poor crop. The Maremma was the only decent region that year. Yet, somehow a few vintners managed to craft some great vino. That is the whole point to my post.
In any given vintage you will have winners and losers. Yes, there will be years when it is hard to screw it up (think 1997). Years like that seemed to offer great growing conditions around the world. You could walk into a wine shop and blindly grab a bottle of 1997 something or other and do quite well. California saw a string of vintages like this in the early 2000’s.
I suggest you act as your own judge. I do this by tasting wines I am very, very familiar with. For example, each year I will drink Foppiano Estate Petite Sirah. This is kind of like doing a somewhat controlled experiment. That particular wine is made from grapes off the same vines each vintage. So, one has the chance to taste seasonal variations in the wine.
You can do this for each varietal (grape type) and really become an expert on vintage quality.
You have your marching orders, now go have fun, and go JETS!