I fully accept that in the early years wines especially in barrel can evolve considerably. But SURELY it must be possible to say ‘XXXX’ vintage was a regional potential disaster or success ? And that is all we are looking for - generic guidance, for all wine regions, all years.
If you Google ‘Wine Enthusiast vintage charts’ there are loads, and - depending on your tech-ability/patience/proclivity - are quite detailed and informative.
They are actually quite useful, if you read it with the knowledge that it is primarily produced for, and consumed by, the American market.
They’re also fairly good in a respect that they give you a bit of a rounded view of what raw materials you can expect. I actually wish there was more around these basic characteristics of vintage, rather than an end judgement on overall quality (which is highly subjective). I think ultimately that would help the consumer to make purchasing decisions more then rankings and scores, but ultimately come down to the tastes of an individual (and possibly the financial desperation of the producers!).
Winemakers are free to do as they please with any vintage, but, taking Rioja, it’s difficult (not impossible, but difficult) to escape the high acidities of 2005, or the densities of '98 and '04, or the balance of '01. I wasn’t aware of those characteristics until I’d tasted plenty, but if you’re tasting plenty as a professional, surely that’s the picture you’d form?
Indeed it is - but that is their website’s error not mine.
My main gripe is still unanswered: ALL the charts start around 2019 and have no opinion on 2020 & 2021. YET if you walk around any French hypermarket, the majority of stock will be more recent - especially with Beaujolais & ready to drink lighter wines (Muscadet, Roses, Loire reds). AND all the wine experts have plenty to say about the recent harvests in XX vineyard - so it’s not as if they don’t have personal opinion & ratings for the latest vintages.
This also translates to buying E.P. (or cellar door) - should I get a case of the 2021 or the 2020 - which is more likely to be a lighter or fuller wine?