That the weather has a direct influence on each year’s results is irrefutable.
Every winemaker knows that the same wine can never be had, because the weather, which is unique and unrepeatable each year, has such an effect.
Often I realise that consumers look for a product they can recognise, with a familiar taste. This is just like going to a restaurant and asking for a drink of a particular brand and getting a similar, but different drink–one that we aren’t used to.
Of course wine isn’t–and shouldn’t be–compared to an industrial drink.
The latter should indeed have the same flavour to satisfy each client and reassure with the same, consistent taste.
But wine is an expression of the land,
the vintage, the weather
and the winemaker.
I find it really interesting to look for different sensations attributable to the weather in all its aspects (for example, different temperatures at different points during the year, the number of millimetres of rain, the percentage humidity, or the differing lengths of each season) and how these are expressed in the wine and influence each year.
- Vintages with higher than average temperatures (especially from flowering to harvest) usually bring early-ripening grapes, with greater quantities of sugar. This results in higher than average alcohol content than in cooler years, which usually result in less alcoholic wine.
- Years that are sunnier than usual can result in wines with more lively and intense colour (keeping in mind the colour characteristics of each variety) or wines with more attenuated colour.
- Years with greater temperature fluctuations between day and night (especially towards veraison) enrich and amplify aromas and bouquet, while also adding to elegance and refinement.
- Vintages that are especially favoured and of unusual quality are a result of excellent ripening (in all aspects) of the grape clusters, leading to a perfectly-timed harvest.
The ideal weather for each variety differs; it is a rare-enough occurrence and it makes wines from exclusive parts of the world (for example, Nebbiolo in the Langhe region) unique.
It is stimulating to look for and find all these aspects in a glass of wine, instead of looking for identical characteristics each year.
To be able to taste different vintages of the same wine and perceive the many different sensations is what I look for and prefer.
And it is also what distinguishes wine from any other type of conventional drink.