The other day I had occasion to contact our local denomination office to ask them for some information about recent vintages. In reply, they sent me a sheet listing all the statistics of every vintage since the creation of the Rias Baixas D.O. (back in 1987).
The information that I actually needed was the number of kilos picked and the number of litres produced, but alongside each vintage they also listed the official D.O. quality rating, which made absolutely fascinating reading…..
In the 20 vintages since the creation of the D. O. there have been no fewer than 10 officially ‘Good’ vintages, 6 ‘Very Good’ vintages and 4 ‘Excellent’ vintages. Significantly, the last three consecutive vintages have all been categorised as ‘Excellent’.
As I have said before, such sweepingly generalised ratings serve of little use to us, and even less to the average consumer (not even taking into account that I disagree with some of their assessments). For example, the top-quality 2001 vintage has only been officially rated as good, whilst 2006 appears as excellent. OK, so our 2006 wine was pretty good, but I certainly think that in our bodega the 2001 wine was superior.
In addition, not one single vintage since the creation of the D.O. is listed as poor, or even mediocre quality – I have to question whether this is entirely truthful?
Whilst it is clearly not in the interest of our local denomination office to shoot themselves in the foot by saying that any particular vintage is poor, there is a train of thought that says it might be better to be honest with the consumer, rather than giving them a false impression.
Perhaps the answer is to introduce some new official categories? How about ‘Nice’ or ‘Interesting’?!
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