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How much should one go by vintage with California wines?

Over the years I've concluded that, with the exception of those few years in which the weather is REALLY a factor in any California wine regions grape crop, it has seemed to me that vintage is much more of a broad-brush criterion than what I often see as a general qualifier. For the most part it seems to me that a quality vineyard and a quality winemaker can produce quality wine in almost any year........ at least in the "better" California regions.

So................ should vintage really be a major factor in California wine buying? Or is it more of a general indicator if you don't have anything better to go by? I ask because I am often confronted by "vintage buyers" who seem to use it as much more of a decision maker than I would.

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  1. My feelings about much CA wine aside, I think it depends what your intentions are. If you plan to drink the bottle in the near future, mediocre vintages are more forgiving. If you plan to sit on it for a good deal of time, solid acid/tannin/fruit is more important.

    1. Here is my 2 cents, it depends...

      If I am buying to drink it right now...it doesn't matter much to me at all. Knowing the style of the CA wine is much more important. The style and vineyard will tell me more about "if" I will really like it or not. If all things are equal and I need to make a choice- I would choose what would be considered a better year.

      If I am buying to invest (or perhaps trade for later) I will pay attention to vintage MOSTLY because the vintage year can make a difference in the final value of the bottle later. Some Cult Cabs are excluded and none of the CA have such a DRASTIC price difference for vintage years as FR.

      I bet your "vintage buyers" may have gotten used to buying French and German wines where vintage can really matter, and they are projecting that onto CA more than needed? As I have watched the wine market change over the years, it seems to me that the CA Cult Cabs have shown that the market can almost completely ignore the "best" vintage years here without prices being greatly effected.

      1. IMHO, good wine makers make good wine almost regardless of the vintage. A mediocre wine maker will make mediocre wines even in some of the best vintages. That being said, I pay attention to the wine maker and not the vintage (unless something really terrible happened such as fires, floods before harvest, etc.)

        1. I think I should add that, while I understand the 'holding' idea, what I'm really asking about is whether there is really that much of a difference in simple current drinkability between vintages. The vast majority of people drink wine within a couple of weeks of purchase, so I think they're usually applying a 'will I like it' criterion to the vintage info they have. For down the road...... not so much.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Midlife

            <<<so I think they're usually applying a 'will I like it' criterion to the vintage info they have>>>

            Yes, Mid, I think you are right. I don't think they should do that. There are other things that are much more important than vintage year in that regard, IMO.

            1. re: Midlife

              I can only give you my perspective, not that of "most people". ;)

            2. Midlife,

              My observations are the same, or very similar to yours.

              While there are certainly differences in vintages out at the extremes, they are less obvious, in more general terms.

              I cannot help but recall the 1989 vintage, when almost the entire wine press completely panned it. Was it a great vintage? No way, but many made some great wines that year. It was not easy, but they struggled, and did it.

              Another example was the '94 vintage. Like the '85, several were quoted as saying "if one cannot create a great Cab in '94, they need to sell their winery." Similar was said in '85.

              I still recall the horribly maligned '98 vintage. Almost every wine writer, that I saw, decried what a horrible year that was. Well, there WERE good wines, though not up to the aging standards, set forth by the wine-porn press. From good producers, they were great "restaurant wines," as they were lighter, more ready-to-drink, and more easily approachable, then some previous vintages.

              It seems that if a vintage is not perfect, and the wines up to par, and cellar-worthy for 15 years, the press screams.

              It almost seems that some in the press must complain about a certain number of CA vintages, or their credibility will be diminished.

              I suppose that their loyal readers just cannot stand, "another fabulous day in paradise... "

              Are some vintages better than others? IMHO, the answer is yes. Are good wines produced by certain winemakers, regardless of the vintage? Again,I MHO, the answer is another yes.

              Just my personal feelings,

              Hunt

              5 Replies
              1. re: Bill Hunt

                I opened a 1986 Orion Syrah (Sean Thackrey) tonight. I believe it was the very first vintage for syrah, but I can't really remember! Anyone who is not familiar with his wine making- should be, he is "a rebel with a cause" and his history is facinating. I only have a few bottles left- and would not have kept them this long if his wine making skills were not so stellar. That is how I know CA wine and vintage years...... think of the wine maker and winery FIRST...then consider vintage year. There were (are?) so many small producers in CA that have world class wines that are just as age worthy as any- but so many folks put their faith in vintage years and big names- they miss out on truly superb wines and opportunity to experience wines evolution. What a shame. Oh well, more for me :)

                BTW....it was fabulous.

                1. re: sedimental

                  Ah yes, Mr Thackrey. I'm anticipating the delivery of my case of his Sirius Petite Sirah.

                  1. re: wattacetti

                    I am jealous! I am not buying ANYTHING good right now- I am selling....and drinking :)

                    You should post tasting notes on the Sirius....I shall live vicariously!

                    1. re: sedimental

                      I expect the case to arrive next week, and then I'll give the bottles a little rest before popping the first one "just to see'.

                      1. re: wattacetti

                        Yes, don't rush it. The 1986 still had plenty of fruit. It was dark fruit, leathery and a fabulous weight. It had a great spicy finish that was looooong! I have another 1986 that I will save maybe until next year. I would like to see if more spice comes out. It is hard to find many tasting notes (especially for Orion) as it has been produced in such limited quantities. I would like to hear what others think as these age.

              2. Midlife, I think vintages are more of a factor with European wines, than with Californian wines. And, if you look at a map, you can see that Ca is situated to have more favorable weather, in that it is more southernly.

                4 Replies
                1. re: pinotho

                  Agree generally with the above comments. Calif wines are much less variable in vintage than their European counterparts.

                  That said, here are two counterpoints to my own point:

                  * the 2007 reds from Napa are extraordinary. Give them a try.

                  * the 2010 reds from Napa and Sonoma are quite poor. A cold May and June followed by heavy rain from mid October on made for a very poor harvest. Brix rarely exceeded 23 degrees. Don't think the wine companies are yet publicly admitting this. They are busy with chaptalization-like maneuvers to salvage the year. Beware these 2010 reds!

                  1. re: cortez

                    You forgot the fires in 2008.

                    1. re: wally

                      Nah . . . little to no effect in SOME places, yet MAJOR effect in others. Just means one needs to be selective.

                  2. re: pinotho

                    I live in California and visit the Central Coast, Sonoma, Napa and Anderson Valley regions often. Yes, weather is more 'even' here, but there is still a perception among many wine buyers that vintage is an indicator of whether the wine is "good". While there can be variations due to unusual weather, I've found it is not a broad indicator in most years.

                  3. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, Charles Krug Winery, on their boxes of CK Mondavi jug wines, would print, "Every year is a Vintage year in California." Pretty much sums it up, don't you think?

                    * * * * *

                    OK, let me elaborate just a bit.

                    DANGER! DANGER! WARNING, WILL ROBINSON! BROAD GENERALIZATIONS AHEAD!!!

                    (Meaning that, while I believe in everything that follows, please understand that these are generalizations, and that there exist a number of specific exceptions to everything I am about to say.)

                    The best wines are, IMHO, produced from the most marginal climate and poorest soils ***where it is still possible for the grapes to ripen and develop.*** By that yardstick, most of California is a poor place to grow grapes. (The exceptions are noted below.) Now -- obviously -- California is NOT a "poor place to grow grapes," and many great wines are produced here, BUT . . . because of the (relatively) moderate, gentle climate and the (relatively) rich, volcanic soils, California's problems are generally that of too many grapes, of overcropping, rather than struggling to survive.

                    The result? Rich, ripe Cabernets in nearly every vintage; fat, rich Chardonnays that (frequently) are in need of acid adjustments; Pinot Noirs that have more in common with Australian Shiraz than the great Burgundies of France; and so on . . .

                    And Rieslings? Gewürztraminers? Chenin Blancs? Off-dry to downright sweet, full and lush, if not downright flabby, and -- if one dares to try to produce a bone-dry wine -- thin, tasteless, disasters . . . .

                    Walter Schug, the German-born and -trained winemaker who put Joseph Phelps Vineyards on the world's wine map, once said that California was a far more difficult place to produce great grapes (and wines) than the Rheingau or Mosel. His point was that despite warm daytime temperatures, the nighttime temperatures in Germany were cold enough to preserve the grape's structure, to permit it to "shut down" and "rest" at night. In contrast, in California, the nights were too warm, and the vine never stopped growing . . . .

                    (The exceptions to this broad brush tend to be wines from the coolest parts of the state: Anderson Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains, Green Valley and parts of the Russian River in Sonoma, etc.)

                    In other words, RARE is the vintage in California that is a true failure. 1972 was a disaster for Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, unless -- like Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and Clos du Val -- you harvested before the rains came. If you did, your Cabernet was great! If not, like Robert Mondavi, Beaulieu, and everyone else -- it pretty much sucked! (1972 Napa Valley was much like 1964 in Bordeaux -- Château Latour harvested before the rains and was magnificent; Mouton did not, and was pretty horrible.) 1989 was a pretty bad vintage for Chardonnay in California.

                    But for the most part . . . well, EVERY year in a VINTAGE year in California. ;^)

                    Cheers,
                    Jason

                    EDIT: None of this should be construed to mean that vintage NEVER matters in California. There ARE vintage differences in many wines here, but the differences are much more subtle, more "minimal" (if it can be expressed that way), and, I find, overall less important than in, say France or Germany.

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: zin1953

                      Wow. This kind of logic makes newbies like me crazy. The wine of California should not try to French. This is not Burgundy or Bordeaux or Loire. Aussie Vinters have stopped trying to what they are not and seem to have tossed the idea or vintages as a major concept. We make big wine. ChefJune said she doesn't want jam in her glass.I don't want barnyard.

                      1. re: budnball

                        budnball, you have plenty to choose from. ;)

                        1. re: budnball

                          Cool your jets, budnball -- clearly you have some sort of agenda going in here ;^)

                          Nowhere did I say that rich, ripe Cabernets have no right to exist . . . nowhere did I say that California makes $#!+ for wine . . . indeed, I pointed out quite specifically that "California is NOT a 'poor place to grow grapes'." I specifically said that, "many great wines are produced here (California)."

                          California makes the BEST California wines in the world! France? The best French wines in the world come from there, and no one -- but no one! -- makes Australian wines as good as the Australians, no matter how hard anyone tries . . . .

                          If you read what I said again, you'll see that I was explaining (or, perhaps "attempting to explain" is a better way to put it) why vintage matters less in California than in, say, France or Germany, and why California wines are so different than wines made elsewhere. Never did I say one was superior to the other. They are DIFFERENT. That is simply an OBJECTIVE, *factual* statement. "Superior," "better," "worse" -- all of these (and similar) terms rely on a SUBJECTIVE opinion, a palate preference -- and that is a conclusion that is up to each individual taster.

                          Cheers,
                          Jason

                          P.S. Just as I specifically mentioned that there were
                          >>> BROAD GENERALIZATIONS AHEAD!!! (Meaning that, while I believe in everything that follows, please understand that these are generalizations, and that there exist a number of specific exceptions to everything I am about to say.) <<<
                          it may well be worth pointing out to you that not only are there plenty of California-made Pinot Noirs that are NOT jammy, so, too, are there plenty of red Burgundies that have no Brett ("barnyard") in them whatsoever. Generalizations exist on BOTH sides of the ocean, it seems . . . .

                          1. re: zin1953

                            No agenda. I just read about the comparison between California and France, but no one ever seems to compare Italy or Australia in the same way. I understand that there is a difference in some grapes but sometimes the romantic way French wines are described and valued seem overhyped. Lately all the wineries I visit are using terms like "Burgundian" or "in the Loire style". "Bordeaux like Pinot's" etc.
                            Guess it hit a nerve.

                            1. re: budnball

                              a) Apparently, you missed the little "winking smiley face" . . . as in ;^) . . . when it came to the "agenda" comment.

                              b) Again, let me repeat that I was NOT, and did not, make any statements vis-a-vis the "superiority" of any one region over another. The world's top wine regions are all of equal caliber, in terms of objective quality. Whether or not any single individual expresses a *preference* for Region A over Region B has little to do with the relative quality of one region over another (presuming regions of equal caliber), and everything to do with one's own personal palate preferences.

                              c) >>> Lately all the wineries I visit are using terms like "Burgundian" or "in the Loire style". "Bordeaux like Pinot's" etc. <<<

                              I don't know about lately, but that comparison has been made at least as far back as the late-19th century and probably before then! Why do you think Almadén, Wente, Beaulieu, and all sorts of other wineries were making "Chateau __________" (among other things). I can just the Spanish missionary newly arriving at Mission San Jose in the 1700s saying, "Yes, this sacramental wine is good, but it's not like they make in Spain," and the monk who has been making the wine there for the past 25 years challenging him, saying, "It's better! The King of Spain himself drinks my wine, and orders 10 barrels a year. So does the Grand Inquisitor!"

                              d) Would you like an explanation as to why people often make comparisons to-and-between California and France? Really? I should think it's rather obvious, and also rather simple . . .

                              Historically, France has always been held up -- for centuries (as in since the 1700s) -- as being "Ruler of the Wine World." Ergo, whenever one "newcomer" to the arena wants to make a splash, said newcomer touts themselves as in comparison to the "old guard." Examples: Hyundai compares their cars to Honda and Toyota; the newest "slugger" in baseball is compared to Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth (not to Barry Bonds -- that just stirs up the whole steroid stuff); the newest Japanese restaurant is compared to Morimoto (or Nobu); and California has long compared their wines to those from France . . .

                              Why not Italy? For two simple reasons:

                              1) It wasn't until the mid-1980s and 1990s that wine critics and wine merchants were able to stop saying, "Hey, this is pretty good . . . for an Italian" and simply say, "Hey, this is pretty good" period.

                              2) For the most part, California wines made from traditional Italian grape varieties well and truly sucked for most of this state's 200-year history of winemaking. Did you ever have any of those California Nebbiolo and Sangiovese wines from the late 1970s and 1980s? Gawd, they were awful! Even nowadays, there are only a tiny handful that are recognizable in a blind tasting as possessing any true varietal character. Barbera could be great, but the best usually wasn't Barbera. In the 21st century, there remains hope that California will be able to produce great wines from Italianate varietals, but -- for the most part -- that goal remains somewhat illusive.

                              Australia? Well, the comparison used to go the other way 'round. When "serious" Aussie wines first began to appear in the US in the 1980s (as opposed to things like Matilda Bay Wine Coolers), they were sold as being "similar to/better than California Chardonnays" and for a lot less money . . . Example: Glen Ellen "Private Reserve" California Chardonnay sold for, at the time, $3.99, whereas Kendall-Jackson's "Vintner's Reserve" California Chardonnay was $6.99. But in came Lindeman's Bin 65 South-Eastern Australia Chardonnay for $3.99 a bottle, and it tasted much better (in the opinion of most people, Robert Parker and other critics included) than the KJ at (roughly) half the price! And Lindeman's Padthaway Chardonnay, at $9.99 blew away most of the Monterey and Napa Valley Chardonnays in the $12-16 category!

                              (Again, Australia -- being the new kid on the block -- went after the established champion, California!)

                              OK, one more thing . . . let's get back to your comment above, that:

                              >>> Lately all the wineries I visit are using terms like "Burgundian" or "in the Loire style". "Bordeaux like Pinot's" etc. <<<

                              First of all, if anyone says "Bordeaux like Pinot's," do not walk -- RUN AWAY!!!!! They don't know $#!+ about wine.

                              Secondly, such descriptions are like shorthand, and can be very handy. For example, a "classic" (read "sterotypical wine of high quality") Napa Valley Cabernet today is filled with ripe fruit, high alcohol, lots of oak. A "classic" Bordeaux has more terroir-driven character to it, less opulently ripe, upfront fruit. So, if a California winery describes their wine as "similar to a Bordeaux," you immediately know not to expect a "classic" Napa Valley Cab. If someone describes their Sauvignon Blanc as "in the Loire style," you know that it's minerally, crisp, bone-dry -- as opposed to heavy on the oak, round and fruity. A California Pinot Noir that is described as "Burgundian" will (generally) be more elegant, more restrained perhaps, rather than being in the big, ripe, full-blown character that, say, the Santa Lucia Highlands and the Santa Rita Hills are famous for . . .

                              And so on and so on and so on . . . .

                              Cheers,
                              Jason

                              1. re: zin1953

                                Very well said...you should be a wine writer :)

                                1. re: zin1953

                                  Jason
                                  Thanx for the patience. I know I'm in the deep end of the pool here. There is too much wine to drink for me to catch up with you so I am learning from your posts here and from others who seem to know their stuff. When my wine closet is ready, I will ask your advice for a mixed case of French wines to start with.

                                  1. re: zin1953

                                    First of all, if anyone says "Bordeaux like Pinot's," do not walk -- RUN AWAY!!!!! They don't know $#!+ about wine.
                                    ==========================
                                    I understand how there's no way a bordeaux could be like a pinot. However, why is it then okay to say some Rhone's (eg Cote Rotie) are Burgundian in style?

                                    My followup question is: is that a good or a bad thing for a cote rotie? Why buy a bottle of cote rotie that is Burgundian in style when you can just buy a bottle of Burgundy instead?

                                    1. re: Porthos

                                      I have no idea why it would be OK for anyone to say "some Rhone's . . . are Burgundian in style." I've never heard anyone say that in all my years in the wine trade (since 1969).

                                      Now, I suppose, the reverse *might* have been acceptable at one time, considering that wines form the Rhône used to be blended into Burgundies . . . but were anyone to say something to me along EITHER lines (Rhône-like Burgundies; Burgundy-like Rhônes), I would a) be rather concerned; b) ask why he/she thinks so . . .

                                      >>> My followup question is: is that a good or a bad thing for a cote rotie? <<<
                                      I have no idea.

                                      >>> Why buy a bottle of cote rotie that is Burgundian in style when you can just buy a bottle of Burgundy instead? <<<
                                      This is an easier question to answer . . . in a sense.

                                      Côte Rôtie doesn't taste anything like a Burgundy, so the choice of what wine to serve (at least for me) depends upon what food I'm serving . . . and what mood I'm in. Rhônes and Burgundies possess different flavor profiles, and sometimes I feel like one wine versus another . . . there is certainly some overlap with compatible food-wine combinations (but not all foods will work equally well with wines from either region).

                                      Now, granted, ANY wine will work with ANY food -- if YOU like the combination. But I also believe that certain wines have an affinity for certain foods, the proverbial "match made in heaven." That said, I cannot recall when I've "felt" like drinking a Burgundy and opted for a Rhône instead, or vice-versa.

                                      Cheers,
                                      Jason

                                      1. re: zin1953

                                        I have no idea why it would be OK for anyone to say "some Rhone's . . . are Burgundian in style." I've never heard anyone say that in all my years in the wine trade (since 1969).
                                        ===============================
                                        Here are the notes from both Robert Parker and Steven Tanzer for the 2002 E. Guigal "La Mouline" Côte-Rôtie from the K&L website:

                                        90-92 points Robert Parker: "The 2002 Cote Rotie La Mouline offers bacon fat, litchi nut, peach, and sweet cherry characteristics in an elegant, medium-bodied, lighter style than normal. There is plenty of substance in this seductive, Pinot Noir-like effort. It should drink well for a decade." (02/06)

                                        90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright red. Intensely perfumed aromas of cherry and redcurrant, accented by cinnamon and dried flowers; smells downright Burgundian.

                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          OK, that's different. It isn't that the wines are "Burgundian" per se, but rather that there are certain qualities of the wine that are reminiscent of qualities found in a Burgundy.

                                          Now, that may sound as though I'm splitting hairs -- I am not trying to. FOR ME, there is a significant difference between saying, "This Côte Rôtie tastes like and/or reminds me of a Burgundy," and saying that this specific *quality* of a wine reminds me of a specific *quality* commonly associated with a specific *quality* of another wine.

                                          This ALSO reminds me of why (I may be the only one on the planet but) I don't like "La-La's", and why I don't read Parker or Tanzer . . .

                                          So, let me explain it this way: a couple of classic descriptors of Syrah generally, and of Côte-Rôtie in particular, are "blueberry" and "bacon" (or "bacon fat"). If a Côte-Rôtie spells of cherries, that's a) unusual, b) worth commenting on, and c) since "cherry" is a classic descriptor of Pinot Noir, reminiscent of that grape.

                                          Burgundies are considered, in general, to be more "elegant" and more "feminine" than Rhône wines, in general. So, to say that a Côte-Rôtie "smells downright Burgundian" means -- at least in *my* interpretation of Tanzer's note -- that instead of being rich, powerful, and full-bodied, the wine is a more elegant, delicate (for its type), and more feminine (than is typical).

                                          Does that make sense?

                                          That said, based upon those two descriptions, I'd never buy the wine they are describing. Then again, as I have already said, I personally don't like Guigal's "La-La's" and would prefer several other producers . . . or even, in some vintages, Guigal's "regular" Côte-Rôtie.

                                          Cheers,
                                          Jason

                                          1. re: zin1953

                                            That said, based upon those two descriptions, I'd never buy the wine they are describing
                                            ================
                                            That was what I was trying to figure out. Does a Burgundian style mean it's more elegant and I should get a Cote Rotie in that style? Or it it actually a negative descriptor meaning it is atypical and less powerful. I'm leaning towards the latter based on your clarification.

                                            Sorry to hijack the thread but what would you recommend for my first bottle of cote rotie. Something that will be "that bottle" of cote rotie for me.

                                            Thanks in advance.

                                            1. re: Porthos

                                              Look for the following producers, shown in alphabetical order:

                                              Patrick & Christophe Bonnefond
                                              Yves Cuilleron
                                              Philippe Faury
                                              Pierre Gaillard
                                              Henri & Philippe Gallet
                                              Yves Ganglof
                                              Jean-Paul and Jean-Luc Jamet
                                              Stephane Montez (Domaine du Monteillet)
                                              Michel & Stephane Ogier
                                              . . . to name a few.

                                              Cheers,
                                              Jason

                                              1. re: zin1953

                                                What if you ranked them by quality instead of price?

                                                Looks like all I have available to me is the following at Wally's:

                                                2002 and 2004 Domaine Jamet
                                                2003 Ogier
                                                2002 Ogier Embruns
                                                2001 Michel Ogier
                                                1995 Jean-Paul and Jean-Luc Jamet

                                                Any recs from this batch that's good for drinking now?

                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                  >>> What if you ranked them by quality instead of price? <<<

                                                  I didn't rank them by price; I ranked them alphabetically. Also, look for the wines from René Rostaing and Patrick Jasmin (can't believe I left them off the list!),

                                                  From your list, let me just say that I'm a big Ogier fan -- but either the 2001 or the 1995 Jamet should be superb, all things being equal . . .

                                                  Two more points, just to be clear:

                                                  1) While I am not a big fan of the so-called "La-La's," many, MANY people are. You should decide for yourself, at some point.

                                                  2) I've enjoyed many bottles of Guigal's "regular" (i.e.: négociant) bottling of Côte-Rôtie, and would think this would actually be a great place to start.

                                                  Cheers,
                                                  Jason

                                                  1. re: zin1953

                                                    Sorry. I mean to ask, "How would you rank them if you were ranking by quality instead of alphabetical." I think I was looking at prices on the Wally's website in another window and that crept in somehow in my response to you.

                                                    There is also a 2001 Rene Rostaing available. If you had to pick between the 2001 Rostaing, the 2001 Ogier, and the 1995 Jamet, which would it be? All things being equal of course :)

                                                    Thank you for the advice!

                                                    1. re: Porthos

                                                      Ranked in quality order is something I am hesitant (if not loathe) to do, as it's a very subjective thing, and "YMMV" is then the rule-of-the-day. After all, I'm leaving Guigal's "La-La's" off the list, and many people believe those are the finest available . . .

                                                      I should also acknowledge that I know and/or have worked with several of these producers, and so that no doubt biases my opinion . . . .

                                                      So, with the recommendation that you take as many grains of salt as you deem appropriate . . .

                                                      Group One -- Jean-Paul and Jean-Luc Jamet, Patrick Jasmin, Michel & Stephane Ogier, Rene Rostaing.

                                                      Group Two -- Patrick & Christophe Bonnefond, Yves Cuilleron, Philippe Faury, Pierre Gaillard, Henri & Philippe Gallet, Yves Ganglof, E. Guigal (négociant), Stephane Montez (Domaine du Monteillet)

                                                      Remember, this is a HIGHLY subjective listing . . . and I've enjoyed many a bottle of Côte-Rotie from every one of the producers listed here.

                          2. I also pay much more attention to who made the wine than what year it was from. A good winemaker will make good wine even in lesser years (just will probably make less of it!).

                            As for the 2010 vintage in Napa and Sonoma -- I don't think anyone is expecting great things, but some very drinkable wine will still be made.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ChefJune

                              And then there is the rest of the state! As in:

                              "For the 2010, we have what we think is an extremely good vintage, if not one of the finest. We have this wine, with this analytical level which will be phenomenal for aging, and yet the wine itself has come together beautifully and is amazingly accessible" ~ Paul Draper

                              Or, as I used to (and still occasionally) say, "Remember, 'Napa' is just a four-letter word the rest of us in the wine trade have to live with . . . " ;^)

                              1. re: zin1953

                                Ah, but it CAN be a lovely "four-letter word," at least to some of us... [Grin]

                                Hunt