As you might imagine the role of family plays a pretty big role in anyone’s life. Recently my grandfather, Gus Anderson (“G” in MTGA) or “Papa” to his grandkids, has played a large one.
With someone who has had as much life experience as him after 83 years, such as starting out as an orthodontist when there weren’t even schools for orthodontics (kind of scary right?) to gradually moving towards winemaking and everything in between, I give his advise and thoughts a LOT of weight.
One of the things that stuck with me recently was the idea of bad vintages versus good ones. As far as I am concerned it is damn near impossible to have a bad vintage in Napa unless it is really rainy or you have wicked frost season. That said both 2010 and 2011 were cooler, wetter years. So were they “bad” vintages?
There were definitely challenges. Though if memory serves 1989 was the last “bad” year Napa had unless you are still hating on 1998 in which case you are a fool. I mean have you tried any of those ’98s lately? Case and point can be found here. But we do have that same issue coming up between the 2011 and 2012 vintages. 2012 being a golden child, 2011 and 2010 being rough and inhospitable growing seasons.
Either way there is one thing that my grandfather said which stuck with me. This isn’t exactly verbatim but it will get the point across:
Regardless of the year great winemakers make great wines. It separates the men from the boys or women from the girls.
I will say I disagree with the statement a bit; as we all know d’Yquem, amongst others in Sauternes, isn’t making a 2012 vintage. Not to mention other parts of France and the world that have temperate climates where bad weather can have serious repercussions.
That said I agree with his statement more than I disagree with it, especially when it comes to Napa. Just hold off your climate change comments for now… we’ll get there.