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millésime (F)
vintage (GB)
cosecha (ES)
annata (I)
ano (PO)

Besides, it has a decisive influence on the quality of the wine soil type. varieties and art of the winemaker that climate, In some cases, to a considerable extent, wines reflect very often the weather-specific peculiarities of a year. In this context one speaks of age-related typicality, for example, wines can be a “vintage botrytis "Or due to heat periods a" toasted note " exhibit. In warm growing areas, the fluctuations are usually not as great, and the deviations are therefore less. In contrast, in cooler growing areas, the weather differences can be considerable, for example in the Italian regions Piedmont and Tuscany, in Austria the wine region Wachau and the wine regions in the state Styria, the German region Moselle, as well as the French regions Burgundy. Bordeaux. Alsace and Loire,

Criteria for a wine: topography, soil type, climate, grape variety, vinification and vintage

Influences on quality

From Bordeaux comes the statement that the châteaux do not produce good wine, but only good vintages or even good bottles. Climate- and weather conditions are not uncommon for very large areas and even countries within a year (although of course the climate does not adhere to national borders), the quality can vary from area to area, from place to place and even from location to location turn out very differently within the year. One can therefore only speak very generally of a certain vintage quality and may rather only understand it as a relatively rough guide and not as a blanket for all producers.

In a "low vintage", the wines usually have fewer total extract (especially at flavorings ) and alcohol content, As a rule, such wines mature more quickly and reach their climax or earlier maturity, The type of expansion also has a major impact. Cry with barrel aging respectively. Barrique usually have a longer one durability than those in the steel tank. Special vintages were mentioned in antiquity, to the oldest wines the famous one counts Falernian “Opimians” from 121 BC. However, mostly only the very bad (due to weather, wars, pests or other catastrophes) and the particularly good years were documented. In addition, it was previously common to simply add the new vintage in a barrel.

Vintage Chronicle

The best wines of very special years are considered poetic Wine of the century designated. A legendary vintage was also significant from a historical point of view 1811er (for further crescences see under oldest wines ). The following chronicle is partly from the documentary "Vintage Chronicle, Wine in the Last 2000 Years" by Peter H. Jordan, This is also a brief history of viticulture. The comments are often related to certain wine-growing regions and are of course not in principle valid for entire countries and all wines. Unless otherwise stated, they mainly refer to Germany and Austria:

  • 121 BC BC - the first documented vintage of wine history, the famous one dates from this year Falernerwein "Opimianer"
  • 306, 312, 411, 545, 585, 604 - crop failures
  • 765 - blessed wine year, thanksgiving service of King Pippin III. (714-768) - father Charlemagne
  • 900 to 1350 - this long period is called Medieval warm period referred to, which followed a very long cold period from 1450 to 1850, the so-called Little ice age
  • 987 - very hot and dry year, complete crop failure
  • 1150 - Years of crisis on the Moselle and Rhine, presumably due to overproduction due to the enormous expansion of vineyards due to the warm climatic phase, led to a large wave of emigrants from winegrowers primarily to the Carpathian region
  • 1185 - wonderful wine in large quantities, start of reading August 1st
  • 1293, 1295, 1297 - excellent wine in abundance
  • 1343 - a wine from Lindenfels-Pfalz was still in the castle in the 17th century Heidelberg proffers
  • 1346 - disaster year, extreme frost Mid September
  • 1407 - Heavy winter frosts, the Rhine frozen over, many vineyards destroyed
  • 1437 - Heavy frosts and extreme winter destroy the vineyards on the Vistula
  • 1443 - extremely acidic and inedible wine, therefore it was used for mortar when building the Viennese St. Stephen's Cathedral used; see also under Reif biter
  • 1450 - After a warm phase from around 900 to 1350, the so-called Little ice age that lasted with different phases until about 1850
  • 1484 - very good vintage with huge amounts, over a million liters of old wine was poured into Lake Constance to make room in the barrels
  • 1485 to 1488 - four-year period of bad harvests and bad, sour wines
  • 1525 - a good vintage, the wine was demonstrably served in the Strasbourg hospital cellar in 1730
  • 1526 - in the Burgenland community Donnerskirchen (Austria) one Trockenbeerenauslese pressed, which was still edible after 326 years and as Lutherwein became famous
  • 1529 - poor vintage with sour wines - see also under Turks wine
  • 1530 - bad vintage, grapes very sour, wine almost inedible
  • 1540 - a millennium year; it was so hot that the Rhine dried up; a Würzburger stone was drunk 421 years later and was edible
  • 1606 - very good vintage, hot summer, great Tokaj
  • 1628 - as bad as it has not been for 100 years, even the vinegar was spoiled
  • 1632 - very bad year, unusual heat and drought from mid-July to mid-September, many vineyards destroyed by the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648)
  • 1645 - bad vintage; in the "Heilbronn Chronicle" it is reported that the "sour wine can be called 'the French'."
  • 1659 - first by the wine pioneer Jan van Riebeeck (1619-1677) produced in South Africa with 15 liters of muscatel wine
  • 1679 - a Madeira this vintage with intact original cork was made by Michael in 1999 Broadbent tasted and found very good
  • 1703 - very bad year, the cooper Hans Jakob Erni was executed because he "improved" the bad wines from 1701 and 1703 and some people died from it
  • 1709 - extreme frost in the French area Pays Nantais on the Loire, which caused many vines to freeze (see under Muscadet )
  • 1726 - excellent wines in abundance
  • 1727 - a great vintage in Germany in terms of quantity and quality; the so-called "Rüdesheimer Apostelwein "(Rheingau) from this year is stored in the" Bremer Ratskeller "
  • 1735 - a Rheingau wine of this vintage from the winery Schönborn Castle was auctioned in 1987 for around € 27,000
  • 1748 - a Johannisberg Castle Johann W. von Goethe (1749-1832) served for his 66th birthday (one copy was still edible in 1985 at the age of 237), Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) received a 1748 Rhine wine in Cologne
  • 1766 - excellent vintage, was demonstrably drunk in 1780
  • 1775 - very good vintage with magnificent wine, first botrytis late harvest in Johannisberg Castle with the famous story of Spätlesereiter
  • 1776 - a very good year, wines from 1748, 1775 and 1776 were still offered in Hochheim in 1830 as "fine, old vintages"
  • 1786 and 1787 - bad wine, "only for servants, maids and day laborers"
  • 1794 - supposedly first Eiswein in Germany (Franconia)
  • 1804 - exceptionally good, mature vintage
  • 1811 - a as comet vintages, Napoleon wine and Wine of the century designated legendary vintage in many growing regions of Europe; are to be emphasized Château d'Yquem and that of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe mentioned famous " 1811er “, A Riesling from Bassermann-Jordan
  • 1816 and 1817 - blatant miss years; the grapes froze before ripening, 1816 went down in history in northeastern America and in the west and south of Europe as "year without summer", in Germany called misery "eighteen hundred hundreds" (probably caused by the eruption of the Indonesian volcano Tambora in April 1815)
  • 1821 - Missing year, almost nothing was harvested
  • 1830 - Frost year (the end of a very long frost period from 1799 to 1830), which also made the cultivation of the frost-hardy Riesling forced, there was the first documented Eiswein in Germany from the 1829 harvest near Bingen (Rheinhessen)
  • 1840 and 1841 - the 1840 vintage is by George Saintsbury (1845-1933) in his famous "Notes of a Cellarbook" as very good, but in 1841 as bad
  • 1845 - Echter steps in for the first time mildew in Europe in England
  • 1846 - documented ice wine in Germany
  • 1857 - very good vintage, extremely hot summer, the wines are characterized as "summer delight potion, as a mild, wild barrel potion", for a Fuder (1,000 liters) Scharzhofberger (Moselle) were paid up to 13,000 thaler, for best Moselle wine up to 15,000 thaler
  • 1858 - very good vintage (see also under comet vintages ), documented Eiswein on Johannisberg Castle in Germany
  • 1861 - very good vintage (see also under comet vintages )
  • 1863 (in other sources as early as 1858) unexplainable vine death in the French Provence - The reason was the one that first appeared on the European continent phylloxera
  • 1864, 1865, 1867 and 1870 - some exceptionally good years with Century wines; this period went down in history as the so-called "golden Bordeaux era" (when in June 1940 the German occupiers of the wine cellar of the famous restaurant La Tour d'Argent was robbed in Paris, these vintages in particular were saved by walling in a niche in the cellar just before)
  • 1867 - Phylloxera arrives at Klosterneuburg in Austria with American vine material
  • 1870 - above-average vintage, the average yield from 1870 to 1879 in Germany was 17 hectoliters per hectare
  • 1874 - Phylloxera occurs for the first time in Germany in the Annaberg gardens near Bonn
  • 1877 to 1883 - consistently bad vintages with mostly cold, wet summers
  • 1878 - Downy mildew occurs for the first time in Europe in southern France
  • 1880 - documented Eiswein in Germany
  • 1886 - for the first time in many years, a very good vintage with low harvest quantities
  • 1888 - miserable year, the vintage is described by the poem "Der 88er Wein"
  • 1890 - documented Eiswein in Germany
  • 1893 - an outstanding year with many Century wines, Competitor to 1811, excellent noble rot, the best Fuder Scharzhofberger (Mosel) cost 10,500 marks (10.50 marks per liter), German wines of this vintage were awarded the world's best at the world exhibition
  • 1900 - very good and sought-after vintage, a so-called "picture book summer"
  • 1911 - very good vintage (see also under comet vintages ), blazing hot summer ( drought year ), a Riesling selection from the Rheingau was tasted in 1996
  • 1921 - long and very hot summer, some fruit trees bloomed a second time, outstanding wines in Germany (here the term was used widow wine used) and France-Bordeaux
  • 1926 - very good vintage, especially France (Bordeaux)
  • 1928 - very good vintage, especially France (Bordeaux)
  • 1929 - very good vintage, hot, long summer in many parts of Europe, especially many top wines from Bordeaux (a "glorious year")
  • 1937 - some Wines of the century in France-Burgundy and Germany; in Germany with outstanding, extremely long-lived Rieslings from the Rhine and Mosel, excellent quality wines (late harvest, dry berry selection - see under Steinberg ), at the baptism in Neustadt (Palatinate) the wine was called "bomber" (two years later they fell); in Burgundy there were top qualities from Pinot Noir, for example from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
  • 1945 - very good vintage, many exceptional wines - the "Friedensjahr-Weine"; see examples below Wine of the century
  • 1947 - very good vintage, especially France (Bordeaux), also in Austria
  • 1949 - very good vintage, especially in France (Bordeaux, Burgundy), partly also in Austria and Germany
  • 1951 - very bad vintage due to heavy rains in May and early summer, extremely bad in Bordeaux (Michael Broadbent in the "New Great Vintage Wine Book": Terrible, the worst post-war vintage and one of the most disastrous ever ")
  • 1953 - very good vintage, in France (Bordeaux) and in Germany for fine sweet wines
  • 1956 - a bad year in many countries; extremely low temperatures down to minus 30 ° Celsius and frost in many European countries (e.g. France, Germany, Austria), which also led to the destruction of many vineyards
  • 1959 - century vintage, many exceptional wines in Germany u. France
  • 1961 - a great vintage worldwide with long-lived wines, especially in Bordeaux but also in Spain, Italy and overseas (Australia, California)
  • 1966 - a century vintage, especially France-Burgundy and also Germany
  • 1968 - large quantities with moderate quality in Austria, poor vintage with low must levels in Germany
  • 1970 - Record harvest in Austria with acidic wines, great ice wine year in Germany
  • 1976 - long heat wave and drought in Europe, partially Wines of the century, excellent vintage in Germany with botrytis wines (the wines were called "sun swallowers" or "bikini wines" - because the harvest was also carried out by "lightly dressed" staff)
  • 1976 to 1984 - Austria was established in 1985 wine scandal uncovered, some producers have been crying diethylene glycol admitted, the first vintage concerned was 1976, strengthened the years 1980 to 1984
  • 1979 - vintage above average in Germany, long-lived wines in Austria - special qualities in Burgenland and Styria
  • 1982 - very good vintage, especially France (a "miracle year" in Bordeaux), Germany's greatest wine harvest of all time, also a record harvest in Austria
  • 1983 - Germany's second largest wine harvest of all time, the 1983 Grange became famous by the Australian winery Penfolds
  • 1984 - cold weather in spring, bad vintage in Germany and Austria with very few good wines
  • 1985 - very good vintage, especially France (Bordeaux, Rhône), some Wines of the century, severe frost damage in Austria, had a negative impact on 1986
  • 1986 - The Chernobyl year (accident in the nuclear reactor), very good vintage, especially France (Bordeaux) and wines from the appellations Montrachet in Burgundy
  • 1987 - late frost damage in spring, late flowers, still a good vintage
  • 1988 - large crops with different qualities
  • 1989 - very good vintage, especially in France (Bordeaux) with alcohol and tannin-rich wines
  • 1990 - outstanding vintage, applies to many wines in Europe and overseas

Year tables

Only after you started to wine in bottles began to fill, the division into vintages. From around the beginning of the 19th century, records from monasteries provided precise information about each year. Today an attempt is made to present the quality of a vintage broken down by country, region and area. This should provide clues for tasting, wine review or buying wine. Vintage tables are of course not static and are by no means valid for all eternity, but must be corrected annually to reflect the development of the wines through the aging respectively. bottle aging to consider. Society International Wine & Food Society published one of the first year tables in 1935. Since then, an updated table has been published annually. The wine evaluation is the responsibility of a specially commissioned committee, in which three Masters-of-Wine-members are represented.

A vintage table can only be a rough guide. Even within a small area, the wines are rarely of uniform quality. A good example is 1964, when a generalization for the quality of all wines in a country (specifically Bordeaux-France) would be wrong. This year there was heavy rainfall during the main harvest season. Those wineries that harvested before the rain achieved excellent results, such as Château Latour, Many others like Château Beychevelle. Château Calon-Ségur. Château Lafite-Rothschild and Château Mouton-Rothschild, harvested (too) late and produced more thin, weak body wines, the peak of which was already exceeded after a few years.


For some producers or areas, special vintages are mentioned. These are Barbaresco. Bardolino. Barolo. Brunello di Montalcino. Château Haut-Brion. Château Lafite-Rothschild. Château Latour. Château Le Pin. Château Mouton-Rothschild. Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Château Palmer. Château Petrus. Château d'Yquem. Chianti Classico. Côte Rôtie. Opus One. Penfolds Grange. Sassicaia and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, These are regularly among the best and most expensive wines in the world, for the at Auctions highest prices are achieved. See also under oldest wines and Wine of the century as well as under Records,

Picture: © Norbert Tischelmayer

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