Wine and weather
Inside the wine belt itself, the big variables influencing the taste, quality and price of wine are: the weather, exposure to water and sunlight and the quality of soil.
The best wine comes from the central part of the wine belt, where in a bad year you have very good wine, and where in a good year wine is just exceptional, simply because of a favorable and stable combination of climate conditions.
That is why Bordeaux and Burgundy are so famous, not only because the French are so superior and self-important!
This wine paradise also includes Northern Spain and Italy. The landscape here is sloping, therefore excessive water drains easier, which in turn prevents grapes from being too watery. There are longer days, clearer skies, warmer nights and more direct sunlight. The skins of grapes therefore ripen more, the pulps develop more sugar and a fuller flavor. This is the land of good reds and fuller-bodied whites.
In the northern part of the wine belt a good year typically means more sunny days, which allows the grape to ripen and be richer in sugar. In these northern territories a good year means the days are warm, but not too hot. Nights are cool, but not too cold. The resulting wines develop greater delicacy; they also tend to be low in sugar and have lower alcohol content.
A bad year here means untimely rains or cooler weather. That ruins the harvest, making grapes acid and watery.
So vintage years are terribly important in the northern vineyards and winegrowing is a risky business.
In the southern part the situation is exactly opposite. Cooler weather allows for gradual ripening and balanced sugar development, creating full and rich in flavour Madeira of Spain, Marsala of Italy, Port of Portugal.
But hotter summers mean that grapes are burnt before they ripen. Baking sun destroys the harvest.
To conclude our trip, a little warning: before paying for a bottle from a “good year”, you need to understand, who was it good for? In many cases a year claim is just a marketing tool.
The next move in our game of wine is food.
What would be a perfect company for your bottle? Stay tuned!