Vintage Wine-Part II
Abundant rainfall during the spring of 2009 in the Californian region meant the harvest yielded excellent results for a vintage year. White wine vintage was in some jeopardy following a very dry winter and there were some concerns that further rainfall during the October and November months may have held concerns for those Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vine growers. In total there was a yield of around 3.8 million tons to go with an excellent fruit quality.
It was by sheer fortune that those vines growing the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot harvested just before the rains. A slow maturing fruit led to a tremendous quality and winegrowers in the region admitted it was a “one year-in-ten vintage.” The grape had arrived without a rush and had slowly ripened to produce a good fruit.
French wine vintages saw a very good year for red wine producers in Bordeaux in 1996. Yet strangely enough the weather that year certainly was not good for the fruit to become a vintage with a great year for quality. August was a month where it rained constantly but then a warm, dry September saved the harvest and ended up producing a VG rating for Medoc wines. St Emilion and Pomerol wines however, did not fair so good and received a wine vintage rating of G.
Australian white wine vintage enjoyed a sensational year in 2009. However the continent is huge and spans such a wide range of weather conditions from New South Wales to Western Australia that a vintage wine can be enjoyed one year in one district and you could easily have an appalling year in another region, in the same year. Hilltops district was a vintage year in 2006, for example and Cowra district was a low quality fruit that year despite the districts both being in around the New South Wales region. A good guide to Australia vintage quality is to follow a chart by James Halliday; it shows ratings for every Australian vintage over the last 20 years.
In South America the year 1995 was a very good vintage, particularly in Chile for drinking now or soon. Argentina also produced superior high quality fruit that year, with some excellent wines that have still to reach their peak. Two years later in 1997, Chile produced another year of red wine vintage yielding rich, fruity wines with good ageing potential.