• Why is it that sometimes when you taste a wine produced by a specific vintner it might taste fabulous. Then the next year it doesn’t float your boat. In fact the little cargo ship that carries your happy wine thoughts gets torpedoed by a U-boat.

    Just as you were laying on the deck chair reading about how chaos exists in nature. The explosion rips through the hull sending you flying into the water shouting “Why God why!?!”

    A bit of debris finds its way under your arms and you drift to a deserted island. At least you think its deserted. A sleeping dart hits your neck, and the next thing you know you’re tied to a spit with furry little ewoks poking you to see if you are done.

    Maybe that’s not exactly what went down, but wine can definitely taste different from year to year. The last two blogs were about wine laws in various regions. With the countries that have stricter practices about what one is allowed to do to their wine, like France and Italy. The variation between vintages is more drastic then California for example. Which has given wine makers the ability to manipulate the wine to keep it more consistent.

    In Australia there was so much rain that the fruit was diluted and received mildew damage.

    In France a dry spring caused the vines to stretch their roots which helped add mineral absorption to the grape’s character building classes. The wet July equalled fuller grapes just when they needed it most and now 2010 might be an unbelievable year.

    Napa’s spring this year held rain and hail like nobody’s business. This unusual weather caused blossoms to fall off the vine. Regrowing the blossoms was sporadic at best. With lesser bud growth less fruit was born causing the remaining fruit to get all the attention from the vine. It made the fruit more complex.

    A longer growing season due to cool weather has kept the growth slow giving the grapes more time to develop, but gives cause for fear of temperature spikes. This longer season could be just what the grapes need to be more balanced with fruit, complexity and acid. As long as September and October keep warm and dry.

    Fingers crossed, but it could be a dynamite year for Napa although the yield will most assuredly be lower. This being said, better quality with less product equals higher prices.

    I like the variety, but its tough to keep up with. All in all it may keep you on your toes, yet the differences in wine are what make it interesting.

    – Jonathan Hood