Buying vintages, rather than wines, winemakers, appellations, or regions

Great winemakers make great wines regardless of vintages, their wines become expressions of the conditions in a given year, and if the conditions do not allow that they will not bottle their wines in certain years. 

However, as we all know, getting hold of the great wines from the great winemakers is not always that easy.  And, we also know that sometimes you buy a wine from a “lesser” winery that’s good in one vintage and less so in others.

The solutions is “vintage-buying” – simply buying wines from a given region from a year or years where “it was impossible to make bad wines”.  Buy almost any 2005 Bordeaux, and you’ll know what I mean.  As for what’s widely available today in wine shops, if you’re out of luck on your favorite wines, these vintages should be safe buys:


2005 and 2009 red Burgundies

2004 and 2006 Barolos

2005 and 2009 Bordeaux

2002 and 2005 white Burgundies

2009 Beaujolais (well, from some producers)

2010 Chateauneuf du Pape

2009 Cote Rotie and Hermitage


Of course if you’re lucky and find older vintages of these regions’ wines, the same applies.  For instance, I would buy all 1996 Barbera d’Asti I could find from quality producers.  But there’s not much left, similar with 1990 and 2000 Bordeaux, and the list could go on and on…..

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