Vintage Variation: What is it & Can We Taste It?

Hi Wine Friends! My wonderful wine friend Rob Frisch and I received some fabulous Pinot Noirs from Alloro Vineyards. They were three different vintages. What is a vintage you ask Don’t be shy – lots of people don’t know. A vintage is simple: it is the year that the fruit was grown and picked and made into wine.

There are millions of factors that affect a vintage, weather being the main one. Mother Nature can unleash hell in many forms, from temperature extremes, precipitation of every type, size and flavor (rain, sleet, hail, snow), wind, humidity, sunlight, no sunlight. It all matters and winemakers invest a lot of time in checking the weather. Adding to Mother Nature’s basket of tricks is each grape’s particular hardiness. Pinot Noir is a famously finicky grape, with very thin skin. Weather extremes can easily send Pinot Noir into a spinning funk of freakish behavior.

This made it extra fun to taste through three vintages of Alloro Vineyards Pinot Noir: 2015, 2014 and 2013. Each of these vintages – or years – had its own set of characteristics, but all were markedly hot (warmer-than-average summers), which drove earlier-than-normal ripening. And I will say this: the wines were all super-delish, bursting with the dark cherry fruit and appealing earthiness that marks a well-made Pinot Noir.

Check out the video to see if we can taste the differences. And why not collect a few vintages of one of your favorite wines and try the same experiment – it’s a great way to train your palate to pick up the differences in freshness, fruit and other variables. Cheers!




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