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Want to know if a specific year is good or bad? And whether you should drink it now?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to make accurate generalisations for whole countries (see the bottom of this page for reasons why).

So, use the following chart as a guide, but don't get obsessed by vintage or rely solely upon it.

Vintage Chart

Why can't we give accurate ratings?

Many factors affect the quality of each bottle of wine: the weather in the previous vintage (when the buds start to form) and the weather in the year the grapes were picked; the care taken during the growing period; the approach taken in creating the wine; how the wine is matured/stored; how the wine is cared for after it leaves the winery.

For these reasons, vintage charts, which cover whole regions or countries, have to be taken with a pinch of salt. They are not a guarantee of a specific wine's quality, but are meant as a guide. For example, the 2005 vintage in Bordeaux is one of the greatest vintages in recent times. Therefore, if you were looking at buying a good Bordeaux, it would help explain why a bottle of 2005 was more expensive than, say, the 2001. However, some bottles of 2005 Bordeaux are bad: the vintage might have produced good quality grapes in many vineyards, but weather is not even across the whole region, and bad winemaking can easily turn good quality grapes into bad wine. As the saying goes, "it is easy to make bad wine out of good grapes; but impossible to make good wine from bad grapes".

So, use the following chart as a guide, but don't get obsessed by vintage or rely solely upon it.

If you would like more specific details on specific wines by vintage, a good reference book is the annually published Hugh Johnson's "Pocket Wine Book" (published by Mitchell Beazley).