Using wine charts can provide a gateway into understanding more about wine for budding connoisseurs.

Vintage wine charts rate wines based on a 1-10 or 1-100 scale, helping buyers to discern what years have been particularly good for a vineyard or a region, so they can make informed decisions before purchasing wine.

Understanding Vintage Charts

A wine”s vintage refers to the year that the grapes were harvested for its making. Wine charts review the quality of a wine and can help the connoisseur to:

  • asses the overall quality of the wine
  • find a rating for the wine”s aroma, balance and flavor
  • learn when it is best to drink or hold a particular bottle of wine
  • understand the environmental conditions under which the grapes were grown.

Although wine charts are based on averages, and so cannot offer comprehensive information about all the wine produced during a particular year, understanding vintage charts and staying up with the growing conditions in particular regions can help increase the likelihood of purchasing some excellent bottles of wine.

The Importance of Growing Seasons

One of the most important items to take note of on a wine chart is the grape”s growing season. Regional climate is everything when growing grapes. Any negative climate changes during the grapes” growing season can have a detrimental effect on the harvest.

A favorable season will yield grapes with flavor that is delicately balanced between sweetness and acidity. Tasty grapes will inevitably produce a wonderful wine.

Helpful Wine Terminology

In order to best understand vintage charts, learning some basic wine terminology may be of help. Below, you will find some useful popular vocabulary words:

  • Balance: The elements of a good wine will include equal notes of fruitiness, sweetness, alcohol and acidity.
  • Blend: The blend of a wine may include a variety of different grapes. For example, a selection of champagne grapes harvested at a particular chateaux in France may be used.
  • Body: A wine”s body refers to the heaviness or lightness of the wine once it is in your mouth. The body of a wine is key when selecting food pairings.
  • Bouquet: The fragrance and aroma of the wine. The smell of a wine is just as important as its taste.
  • Dry: Wines that have a small amount or no amount of sugar are considered dry.
  • Finish: After drinking a wine, the taste and sensation left in the mouth is referred to as the finish.
  • Oaky: Wines that have been aged in an oak barrel will have a woody flavor.
  • Sparkling Wine: Wines that have bubbles. A popular sparkling wine is Champagne.
  • Tannin: A taste only present in red wine.
  • Varietal: The variety of a grape(s) used to create a particular wine.

Learning about Different Wines

Vintage charts are a great tool when delving into unfamiliar wines in different regions and expanding your wine horizons.

Understanding vintage charts will also assist with knowing how to store your wine, as well as the proper serving temperature.

Wine charts will give you guidelines on all the wines out there, including, but not limited to:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Champagne
  • Chardonnay
  • Gewurztraminer
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Noir
  • Port
  • Riesling
  • Sangiovese
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Syrah
  • Zinfandel.

Although wine charts provide a great guide for the aspiring connoisseur, it”s important to keep in mind that the ratings are based on experts” opinions, which may be biased, and may be quite different from your own! Once you become more familiar with a variety of wines and the conditions in their respective regions, you soon will have all the tools necessary to rely on your own knowledge and tastes when purchasing wines.

 Posted on : May 15, 2014