Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

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Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby Otto » Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:16 am

....because they are more typical. Take for example Bordeaux. Why do we call 82, 90 and 00 great vintages because they don't taste like Bordeaux? I'll hereby nominate 83, 88 and 01 as the new great trio! :)
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Sep 01, 2006 9:27 am

Otto Nieminen wrote:....because they are more typical. Take for example Bordeaux. Why do we call 82, 90 and 00 great vintages because they don't taste like Bordeaux? I'll hereby nominate 83, 88 and 01 as the new great trio! :)


Oh, that's a troll all right! A classic red herring. ;) Of course it all depends on how one defines "good," Otto. You and I and many of our forumites don't define "Good Bordeaux vintage" in the same terms as RMP does, or so it seems. In general, though, I'm on your side. '01 rocks! I'm thinking that '95 was pretty good, too, although maybe it kind of stood out because it was the first relief after such an awful string ...
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby JoePerry » Fri Sep 01, 2006 10:50 am

I nominate 1972, 1984 and 1992 as the new great Bordeaux vintages; since the wines are actually drinkable. 8)
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby David Creighton » Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:30 am

i'm with you on this - though i might word it as 'good vintages are better than great vintages'.
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby Mark S » Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:33 am

Otto Nieminen wrote:....because they are more typical. Take for example Bordeaux. Why do we call 82, 90 and 00 great vintages because they don't taste like Bordeaux? I'll hereby nominate 83, 88 and 01 as the new great trio! :)


I'll bite. We can try to define 'typical', which is not an easy thing to discuss. Typical wine qualities tend to run through vintages (for example, 'typical' Bordeaux would tend to have cedar-blackcurrants for Left Bank Reds), but then, certain vintages have their own typicalness too (look at 2003 in Europe) which can railroad these grape qualities, leveling the flavor profile of the grape.

I think great years are just that: years that exude and exemplify the typical qualities of that region. These are wines that will tend to last longer and be 'better' ovre a longer time span than a mediocre year. As long as grapegrowing and winemaking is an agricultural pursuit, there definately will be a hierarchy of years. But, just like there are bad years in apple production, some years (the 'good' ones) fresh apples off the tree will be best, average years perhaps better for applesauce, worse years it will become sow food. So I wouldn't recategorize the great years, but rather enjoy the off years as ones that will provide better value and drinking during a shorter time frame (witness the 1987's: a 5-7 year wine at best), while waiting for the greater years to strut their stuff after their slumber. It's all a matter of degrees. And I would never dismiss the 2001's and the 1983's were pretty good, as I recall.
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby Paul B. » Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:38 am

I've had Ontario Foch from '96 that was one of my most memorable table wines ever. That was a miserable vintage, yet the Foch really shone through - even to my utter surprise.

I'm also enjoying the whites from '04 here in Ontario - which from my recollection was a cool summer coupled with frequent rain around harvest time. Not an ideal vintage for reds, but the whites, as I say, seem uniformly crisp and well-structured.
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby wrcstl » Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:42 am

Otto Nieminen wrote:....because they are more typical. Take for example Bordeaux. Why do we call 82, 90 and 00 great vintages because they don't taste like Bordeaux? I'll hereby nominate 83, 88 and 01 as the new great trio! :)


Otto,
I agree with you as '83, '88 and '01 are excellent but I would add '86 and '94. The problem is that you want to leave '82 out of the mix. It is a classic year and will live forever just like '59, '61 and to a lesser degree '70. You tend to over spoofify wines but in general agree with you.

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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby wrcstl » Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:44 am

JoePerry wrote:I nominate 1972, 1984 and 1992 as the new great Bordeaux vintages; since the wines are actually drinkable. 8)


Come on Joe, think you may be pushing the point too far. Maybe '72 Latour but who else? I have a few '92's that I will trade. :lol:

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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:55 am

JoePerry wrote:I nominate 1972, 1984 and 1992 as the new great Bordeaux vintages; since the wines are actually drinkable. 8)


I want to agree, but man! 1984 was <i>bad</i>! I don't think I ever had one I really liked.

I notice that you didn't truly scrape the bottom of the barrel, though. It don't get no worse than 1991 ... surely all wine geeks can agree on this?
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby Hoke » Fri Sep 01, 2006 12:35 pm

surely all wine geeks can agree on this?


Ah hahhdhahahahahhahahahahahahahhahhahahahhahahah!

Thanks, Robin. That was great. Haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Very therapeutic. Thanks.
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Sep 01, 2006 1:08 pm

Hoke wrote:
surely all wine geeks can agree on this?


Ah hahhdhahahahahhahahahahahahahhahhahahahhahahah!

Thanks, Robin. That was great. Haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Very therapeutic. Thanks.


:oops:

Still, I'll bet you'd be hard-pressed to find ANY recent published comments of praise for a '91 Bordeaux, even among the Parkerites. Wanna try?
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby Dale Williams » Fri Sep 01, 2006 1:12 pm

First off, it is hard to imagine anyone calling 1983 mediocre. The argument is whether it's very good or excellent (I'd argue for latter). For years it offered comparative deals because of being in shadow of 1982, but auction prices on 1983s have seemed to move up (no more $200 Cheval Blanc).

And good wines from 1982, 1990, and 2000 from producers not overly interventionistic all do taste like Bordeaux to me. Anyone who needs to dump their "unBordeauxlike" 1982 Mouton, Figeac, Conseillante, LMHB, or Trotanoy please send to me. Also feel free to plie me with 1990 Poyferre, Leo-Barton, Pape Clement, Figeac, Conseillante, etc. The other notable thing about those ripe vintages is how many "minor" wines were delicious and long lived. 1982 Lanessan, Potensac, Meyney, Dalem have all been quite pleasant recently. And 1990 Cantemerle, Fontenil, Bourgneuf, etc. I do think some wines have a roasted note in 1990, but not like the '90 Burgundies do.

I'm happy to have '82, '83, '88, '90, '00 AND '01 wines in my cellar.

As to the truly "off" vintages, I agree with Robin '92 is much better than '91. '91 Haut-Brion was actually ok, but it would have to be $40 for me to buy one sample bottle. '92 LLC and HBrion are actually good though not outstanding wines.
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby Mark Lipton » Fri Sep 01, 2006 1:20 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:....because they are more typical. Take for example Bordeaux. Why do we call 82, 90 and 00 great vintages because they don't taste like Bordeaux? I'll hereby nominate 83, 88 and 01 as the new great trio! :)


Otto, as I recently mentioned to FL Jim elsewhere, Kermit Lynch -- the influential American importer -- in his recent book "Inspiring Thirst" repeatedly take issue with what he terms the "Vintage Chart" mentality and points out that he prefers many "off" years, using one his long-time client's (Chave) wines, such as the '81 vs. the '83 Hermitage as his illustration. So-called "great" years are almost always those that give intense (and, increasingly, forward) wines, regardless of what is typical for the region. So, hot years are almost always proclaimed "great" even when, as in '03, many of the wines are overtly freakish and often flawed. Recently, there has been much chatter about rethinking both the quality of '82 Bdx and Parker's reliability as a taster since the vintage and the career as so closely linked. Don't hold your breath that anything will change any time soon, though, which is a good thing for those of us who want to buy '01 Burgundies at a reasonable price.

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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby Dale Williams » Fri Sep 01, 2006 2:03 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:repeatedly take issue with what he terms the "Vintage Chart" mentality and points out that he prefers many "off" years


While I certainly think that in most "off" vintages there are overachievers (and underachievers on "good" vintage) , and my definition of good doesn't necessarily agree with RP, Rovani, Suckling, etc. one shouldn't totally dismiss vintage generalizations. Sometimes very helpful when looking in the discount bin or at a restuarant wine list.


Mark Lipton wrote:Recently, there has been much chatter about rethinking both the quality of '82 Bdx and Parker's reliability as a taster since the vintage and the career as so closely linked. Don't hold your breath that anything will change any time soon, though, which is a good thing for those of us who want to buy '01 Burgundies at a reasonable price.


I don't know whose chatter you're listening too. There have always been those who don't like the 1982s. While I'm no fan of overripe vintages such as say 2003, I have to say that the 1982s seem to have aged well from my viewpoint. But in a lot of horizontals (many blind) I can't think of one where the 1982 didn't make the top 5. Now, of course the question is whether they are good enough to command the premium they do now. I'd vote no (and haven't bought any in a while, with lone bottles of non-glamour wines like de Sales, Gloria, Magdelaine remaining). But they weren't AT a big premium at the time of Parker's "call."

As to 2001 Burgundies (at least CdN), I wouldn't hold my breath. May not have gotten Rovani praise, but most serious Burg buyers don't pay much attention to him. People like Kolm, Meadows, Gilman, etc were pretty positive on those wines, and fewer and fewer remain on shelves. I love the vintage,but doubt I'll see discounts from current pricing. You might see discounts on CdBeaune wines, but those are much riskier- not a stellar vintage for Volnay or Pommard (to throw in my own vintage generalizations)
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby wrcstl » Fri Sep 01, 2006 2:51 pm

Mark Lipton wrote: Recently, there has been much chatter about rethinking both the quality of '82 Bdx and Parker's reliability as a taster since the vintage and the career as so closely linked.


Mark,
Whoever is chattering about '82 is seriously mistaken. Yes if was a somewhat ripe year but it is one of the top 3 vintages in the last 50 years. I do not follow RP and do not like his style of wines that get high ratings but he got '82 100% correct.
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good one

Postby Otto » Fri Sep 01, 2006 3:52 pm

Yes, I'd better rename the thread to say that good vintages are better than "great" ones. But that wouldn't be so trolly, or would it? ;)

I do find vintage generalisations of some use, though I don't "like" them. I'm sure we can all agree e.g. that '97 Bx is sooner drinkable by and large than '96?

Atypicity sucks. But to troll on the troll, why do I place so much emphasis on typicity as, as noted above, it's so hard to pin down what is typical?

The troll trolls by trolling the troll. You don't get that happening too often here do you?
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good one

Postby Isaac » Fri Sep 01, 2006 5:08 pm

There are no mediocre vintages in Bordeaux!

I know, because I looked at the Bordeaux website!

http://www.bordeaux.com/r_vintage.html
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Sep 01, 2006 5:09 pm

wrcstl wrote:
Mark Lipton wrote: Recently, there has been much chatter about rethinking both the quality of '82 Bdx and Parker's reliability as a taster since the vintage and the career as so closely linked.


Mark,
Whoever is chattering about '82 is seriously mistaken. Yes if was a somewhat ripe year but it is one of the top 3 vintages in the last 50 years. I do not follow RP and do not like his style of wines that get high ratings but he got '82 100% correct.
Walt

What if I found a 1980 I preferred to a 1982? Does that make him 99.97% correct?

We still have our preferences: wine ratings and especially vintage ratings are quite personal and variations will exist.

For some 1982 is a stunning vintage, the same for 1990 2000 2003 and 2005. For others it's a very good vintage albeit in a different style to other vintages they also enjoy. I believe there are (varying levels of) credible opinions rather than correct (or 100% right) opinions. I know this is slightly pedantic, however it is never as black and white as people would like it to be (including me!).

I don't think anyones saying 1982 is a bad vintage (not a very credible argument), but they're entitled to say they prefer other vintages, just as you're entitled to say you believe it's one of the top three in the last 50 years. Both are opinions and both have some credibility.

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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Sep 01, 2006 5:44 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:....because they are more typical. Take for example Bordeaux. Why do we call 82, 90 and 00 great vintages because they don't taste like Bordeaux? I'll hereby nominate 83, 88 and 01 as the new great trio! :)


Hogwash. What is typical? Look at the '70s: 1970 was excellent, '71-'74 largely fogettable, '75 controversial, '76 & '77 largely forgettable, '78 good but no world beater, '79 different style from '78 but similar comment.

Otto, you are picking a limited subset of vintages and calling them atypical. Well complete washouts are just as atypical. Your "typical" vintages are just as typical.

I'm no 2003 fan (though Branaire and Sociando are among a select few wines I have tasted, bought and am cellaring with great anticipation), and pricing has pretty much shut me out of 2005, but 2000 has some great wines. Now '01 has some real gems as well (so does '02 by the way), but they will cellar and drink differently (shorter and sooner to be precise, though '02 will need lots of time).

Taking this to another regions, if we look at the '80s in Germany, '80-'82 were varying degrees of mediocre, '83 great but controversial and inconsistent, '84 lousy, '85 very good, '86 so-so, '87 lousy and '88-'90 excellent to varying degrees and in different styles. What is typical? Translating to more recent vintages, is '04 typical? Is '02 typical? I think to varying degrees both are typical, but '01 is better despite being a "great" vintage (overall...yes some '02s and '04s are better, but go with the concept here). '03 is just plain weird. It's too soon to declare '05 anything other than ripe.

So I do not in any way buy your premise, except that you like less ripe vintages. There's nothing more typical about them.
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby Mark Lipton » Fri Sep 01, 2006 6:24 pm

Dale Williams wrote:While I certainly think that in most "off" vintages there are overachievers (and underachievers on "good" vintage) , and my definition of good doesn't necessarily agree with RP, Rovani, Suckling, etc. one shouldn't totally dismiss vintage generalizations. Sometimes very helpful when looking in the discount bin or at a restuarant wine list.


I agree and think that even KL would with that statement. His point, as I read it, is to reject those who use vintage information as their main determinant. I know that I've seen many shoppers reject a wine recommended to them by a knowledgable staff because it wasn't from a "good" year. To me, that's KL's "vintage chart" mentality.


Dale Williams wrote:
Mark Lipton wrote:Recently, there has been much chatter about rethinking both the quality of '82 Bdx and Parker's reliability as a taster since the vintage and the career as so closely linked. Don't hold your breath that anything will change any time soon, though, which is a good thing for those of us who want to buy '01 Burgundies at a reasonable price.


I don't know whose chatter you're listening too. There have always been those who don't like the 1982s. While I'm no fan of overripe vintages such as say 2003, I have to say that the 1982s seem to have aged well from my viewpoint. But in a lot of horizontals (many blind) I can't think of one where the 1982 didn't make the top 5. Now, of course the question is whether they are good enough to command the premium they do now. I'd vote no (and haven't bought any in a while, with lone bottles of non-glamour wines like de Sales, Gloria, Magdelaine remaining). But they weren't AT a big premium at the time of Parker's "call."


Dale (and Walt),
Specifically, I heard people discuss whether '82 will prove to be as long-lived a vintage as '61 (or '59 or even '70), with some saying that some of their '82s were falling apart quicker than expected. I'll see if I can dig up who was saying that where. To that end, they were questioning Parker's prognostications of lifetime for those wines and, ultimately, his rating since aging potential figures into his rating scheme. Because I have only one '82 in the cellar (Gruaud-Larose) I have no dog in this race.


As to 2001 Burgundies (at least CdN), I wouldn't hold my breath. May not have gotten Rovani praise, but most serious Burg buyers don't pay much attention to him. People like Kolm, Meadows, Gilman, etc were pretty positive on those wines, and fewer and fewer remain on shelves. I love the vintage,but doubt I'll see discounts from current pricing. You might see discounts on CdBeaune wines, but those are much riskier- not a stellar vintage for Volnay or Pommard (to throw in my own vintage generalizations)


*sigh* bad example, Dale. Still, I do like buying (selected) Burgundies in "off" years since the better producers can do so much with those years. Conversely, I didn't bite on any '03s, even Chevillon's (they were OK, but they didn't really taste like Burgundy to me).

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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby Dale Williams » Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:32 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:I agree and think that even KL would with that statement. His point, as I read it, is to reject those who use vintage information as their main determinant. I know that I've seen many shoppers reject a wine recommended to them by a knowledgable staff because it wasn't from a "good" year. To me, that's KL's "vintage chart" mentality.

That I would agree with. Vintage is only part of the equation. And vintage isn't just numbers. The longlived 96 Piedmont vintage and the ripe precocious 97 might get equivalent scores from a reviewer, concentrating on a numerical chart ignores part of the sense of the vintage.

Mark Lipton wrote: Specifically, I heard people discuss whether '82 will prove to be as long-lived a vintage as '61 (or '59 or even '70), with some saying that some of their '82s were falling apart quicker than expected. I'll see if I can dig up who was saying that where. To that end, they were questioning Parker's prognostications of lifetime for those wines and, ultimately, his rating since aging potential figures into his rating scheme. Because I have only one '82 in the cellar (Gruaud-Larose) I have no dog in this race.


Do you remember what wines? Because I've had few classified '82s that were falling apart. And certainly plenty of bigger '82s (Mouton, Trotanoy, La Mish to name ones I've tasted) are very young. Now, there are some wines that got big scores that didn't impress me (LLC), but if anything they are closed not falling apart. And let's don't forget that lots of these references to 59s and 61s are based on the best wines- not a lot of cru Bourgeois floating around after 45 years. Besides, I'm not so certain - for me- that greatness is only indicated by longevity. In buying wine I'd prefer the wine that is a pointe in 15-25 to the one that is mature at 30-50. But I would like to try the '47 Firsts. :)

Mark Lipton wrote: *sigh* bad example, Dale. Still, I do like buying (selected) Burgundies in "off" years since the better producers can do so much with those years. Conversely, I didn't bite on any '03s, even Chevillon's (they were OK, but they didn't really taste like Burgundy to me).


Total agreement re the Chevillons. Couple '03 1ers didn't impress recently.
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby Bernard Roth » Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:36 am

Otto, don't be ridiculous. The word better means what it means. A better vintage is better than a less good vintage. Otherwise, you can make words means anything you want and we can talk past each other.
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good ones...

Postby John S » Sat Sep 02, 2006 3:25 am

[quote="David M. Bueker]

Otto, you are picking a limited subset of vintages and calling them atypical. Well complete washouts are just as atypical. Your "typical" vintages are just as typical. ...

So I do not in any way buy your premise, except that you like less ripe vintages. There's nothing more typical about them.[/quote]

I'm with David on this one. The problem with using typicity as a means of judging vintage quality is that it tends to assume a static 'background'. But both natural (e.g., climate change) and cultural (e.g., technology) are having a major yet normally hidden influence on vintage typicity.
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Re: Friday troll: Mediocre vintages are better than good one

Postby Otto » Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:31 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Hogwash....So I do not in any way buy your premise, except that you like less ripe vintages. There's nothing more typical about them.


Well, of course this is hogwash - it's a troll! I agree that typicity is difficult (impossible?) to define, especially if we talk about it in the context of vast generalisations like whole vintages. So yes, I suppose it is possible to say that I prefer ripe vintages, rather than over-ripe vintages. Which is troll-speak for saying what you said about me liking less ripe vintages ;)

But whatever way you look at it, there is a certain type of wine that one imagines when one hears e.g. the word "Bordeaux" and it is this image that I want in my glass when I drink Bordeaux. And this is not what these over-ripe vintages deliver. This was the serious stuff I was trying to get across with a light-hearted little troll.

Bernard Roth wrote:Otto, don't be ridiculous. The word better means what it means. A better vintage is better than a less good vintage. Otherwise, you can make words means anything you want and we can talk past each other.


Of course I will be ridiculous - I thought trolling was meant to be a serious matter presented in a ridiculous format in order to have a bit of fun. Or have I utterly misunderstood trolling?

I think you slightly misunderstood what I was after. I'm saying that I disagree with what is defined as better. I do understand what the words mean. But I happen to think that the "great" vintages of 2000, 1990, 1982 are not as much to my taste as the only "good" vintages of 1988, 1983, 2001. Therefore I propose reversing the generally accepted labels of "good" and "great".
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