Monday, January 31, 2011

Washinton vintage, 2007 or 2008?

I am often presented with the question "how are the 2008 reds from Washington?". Before I get a chance to respond, the second question "2007 and 2005 are better right?" is asked. I've spent a considerable amount of time thinking about the difference between 2007 and 2008. The new edition of Wine Spectator included a vintage chart for Washington, rating 2007 at 96pts and 2008 at 95-100pts. How could this be?

It's true, 2007 produced some of the most cellar worthy reds we have ever seem. Would I agree with the statement "if you didn't make great wine in WA in 2007, then you don't know how to make wine", not so much. Critical decisions present themselves in every vintage, and 2007 was no exception. When did you pick? How much tannin was extracted during fermentation? What was your final alcohol concentration? It all depends on the skill and experience of the grower and winemaker in any vintage.

The 2008 reds from WA are already showing a very accessible personality, and many have very bright acidity. On average, I would say that we will drink the 2008's well before we will even begin to work on the 2007's. Does this make them lesser in quality? I don't think so. I appreciate vintage variation, it's what makes drinking and collecting wine so interesting. If I had to sum up the character of the 2008 vintage, I would say it has immediate charm.


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