I am sure those labels are recognizable by many of the readers of this blog and on many restaurant menus across America. Most Americans sadly buy wine by brand names and labels they recognize and secondly from the retail shop that carries these brands for the cheapest price. Sadly, they are leaving out the most important element to buying wine, The Vintage or Year! Most people who drink these brands will say “I never care about the year. This is my favorite wine and it tastes the same every year for the last 20 years”. I guess winemakers across the globe should listen to the consumer and stop worrying all year long about weather conditions or when to harvest their grapes. I guess magazines like Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate should all go out of business since they review the same brand of wine every year. Why bother since consumers say the wine tastes the same every year?
It is impossible for any wine to taste the same every year. It is mostly out of the winemaker’s control. No one can control mother nature. Bad weather produces bad grapes which produces bad wines. European wines are always categorized in retail shops with different prices for the same producer based on how good or bad that vintage or year was however Americans don’t even look at the year when buying a case of wine and may go home with 12 bottles of wine from the supermarket all from different years. Restaurants know this mindset sadly when putting together a wine list. I have visited some of the finest restaurants in the country and their wine lists are PATHETIC. The servers are not knowledgeable about wine, the diners couldn’t give a crap about vintages so they just put together for the most part a mediocre wine list with no vintage listed but with names like Mondavi, Mark West, Simi, Ruffino, Santa Margherita (Don’t even get me started on how much I and every wine reviewer has hated the taste of that wine in all years since 1992), Jordan Cabernet, Opus One, Caymus, Cakebread etc etc etc….BOOOOOORING!. I have also watched Bartenders at high end restaurants, where they pour over 50 wines by the glass, pour what was left from a bottle of wine for a guest and to fill the glass, open the next bottle with a totally new vintage and just top off the glass!
I am not hear to preach what wines you should be drinking. All I am trying to get across to you is the next time your friend Shirley recommends a wine for you to try or your neighbor asks you to pick up a bottle at your local wine shop or supermarket or you find a wine you like, write down the year of wine you liked, ask Shirley what year you should buy (She won’t know but ask anyway), ask your neighbor which year of that wine you should pick up for them (they won’t know either but ask anyway). Everyone has a different palate and I am certainly aware that my tastes may not be the same as yours and you should for certain drink the wines that YOU like. In summation: NO ONE CAN SAY (INCLUDING ME) THAT ANY WINE IS THEIR FAVORITE WINE UNLESS THEY KNOW WHICH YEAR THEY LIKED. I am sure there is a 12 step program for those who don’t believe in that statement and are addicted to the brand. Remember, the first part to getting help for any addiction is admitting you have a problem 🙂