Vintages don't really matter any more, says Hugh Johnson
It might be hard for some wine connoisseurs to swallow, but wine critic and author Hugh Johnson has declared that wine vintages hardly matter any more. Hugh wrote in the opening pages of his 2008 Pocket Wine Book that, ‘Modern viticulture, providing a grower knows what he or she is doing, can mitigate the effects of drought or rain. Rot can be controlled, so can most pests and diseases.’ As a result of this, he told The Times newspaper, any year is a perfectly good one for drinkers.
He also said that it is only snobbery that is forcing up the price of some years against others. ‘Vintages used to be really crucial but the difference now is not so much in quality as reputation, because the most famous ones are traded up to ridiculous prices,’ he told The Times. ‘If you sold a non-vintage Bordeaux nobody would buy it. It would be just as good, but it would not have the romance and the interest.’
He says he sometimes longs for the days when he could write off one vintage with a contemptuous score of ‘1’ and praise the next to the skies with a ‘10’, but that he now finds scoring wines a ‘very dull process’ because so many are alike.