anniversary vintage chart
This guide is for people wishing to purchase a special bottle to commemorate a noteable anniversary.
Please remember that with old wines there really are no guarantees: even a top wine from a top vintage can be ruined by poor storage.
The broad summaries below are for top Bordeaux, but where other areas had a particularly good vintage these are noted.
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Large and good quality vintage.
Moderate to good Bordeaux, but almost certainly past it.
Very good vintage all round, tipped for Armagnac and Cognac.
Poor Bordeaux vintage. Spirits like Armagnac probably safer.
Average vintage, but some good Bordeaux. Excellent Port.
Another poor to moderate vintage for Bordeaux.
Excellent vintage for Bordeaux, but again a small crop.
War time in France, so very little wine available.
Average year and always tannic. Unlikely to be great drinking now.
Bordeaux had a good vintage, but still war time so not much about.
Good vintage but earlier drinking style, so not a lot has survived.
Fine vintage in Bordeaux. Top wines should be very good.
Big, hot vintage produced profound wines, so may have lasted well.
A great vintage and reputedly still drinking very well.
Another deemed as 'early drinking', so scarce and may not have lasted.
Great Bordeaux vintage; top Burgundies may have some interest.
Sauternes a better bet than Claret, but excellent Port.
Very good Bordeaux.
Superb vintage. The Latour is renowned, but will cost a packet.
Poor Bordeaux year, so back to Cognac and Armagnac once more.
Poor year again except excellent Port.
Three strikes in a row; a very poor year indeed.
Better, but a small crop and scarce.
Very good indeed. I recently drunk a lovely Duhart-Milon Rothschild '34.
Decent Bordeaux, very good red Burgundy, Great Port.
Good to very good vintage in general throughout Europe.
Another good year, but not renowned for staying power.
Start of the war years, so production and supply was disrupted.
Very good Bordeaux, short supply.
The best of the war-time vintages.
Average Claret, better Sauternes.
Fabulous vintage. Candidate for 'vintage of the century', including Port.
A decent year, always in the shadow of 1945.
Another superb, legendary year for Bordeaux and Burgundy.
Poor to moderate year, except VG Port.
Third of a truly great 1940's trio. Finest Burgundies of the century?
Good vintage, even better for the top wines. VG Port.
Not a great vintage.
Fine year, with the right bank (St-Emilion and Pomerol) on top form.
An excellent vintage in Bordeaux and throughout Europe.
Average vintage, will need luck to find good drinking.
Another average vintage, though Burgundy did better and VG for Port.
Very poor year.
A little better than 1956, but unlikely to have survived
A very good year that could surprise if bottles have been well stored.
This is another top-notch vintage, one of the century's best.
A decent but light vintage. Most wines past it. Port good but fading.
Vintage of the century? A recent Smith Haut-Lafitte was stunning.
In the shadow of '61, but a great year. I've had some lovely '62s
Poor year, wines past their best except excellent Port.
A very good vintage that has drunk well throughout, so now scarce.
Poor weather led to a poor year.
Fine year. I have drunk several great wines from 1966
. VG Port.
Pick and choose, but Claret not great; Sauternes better.
Poor to moderate year.
Poor in Bordeaux, but very good in Burgundy.
Great for Port, top wines only now in Bordeaux, Rhône and California
Great in Germany, some good Bordeaux and Loire stickies.
Most fading or past it. Top Rhônes best of bunch possibly
Good in Germany, and still great top wines, but fading
Mostly past it. Top Piedmont, Tuscany & Rioja possibly
Some Bordeaux, Sauternes, Germany, Champagne still good. A few Ports
Germany (especially sweetest), Californian Cabs, some Champagne
Top Port year, all long-lived. Bordeaux mostly past it.
Top Rhônes are stars, California Cabs, Barolo, some Bordeaux and Port
Some Bordeaux still good, top Barolo excellent
A poor year in most of Europe and past it. California & Australia better
Wines fading, but some Rioja and Bordeaux still very good
Bordeaux superb, elsewhere patchy; some Champagne, Barolo, Port
Bordeaux fading, but top wines still great, good Port and Germany
Poor year, now generally all past it.
Lovely year in Bordeaux, Port & Champagne, top Burgundy still good
Great, long-lived Bordeaux and Sauternes, top Californian and Australia
Not good most of Europe or Australia, but Californian Cabs very good
Excellent Sauternes, good Bordeaux, Champagne
Excellent Bordeaux, Sauternes, Rhône, Germany, Barolo & Champagne
Great year for Europe, Port not declared, OK in California & Australia
Europe all very risky, though Port declared and very good in California
Another poor European vintage, though excellent Ports
Slightly better in Europe, though no long keepers. Choose carefully
Bordeaux right bank best, Germany, Port, California all good
Very good Bordeaux, Rhone, red Burgundy and consider Rioja
Very good Bordeaux, Piedmont, Ribera del Duero & Australia
Forward european year, so dangerous. Piedmont & Tuscany excellent
Top right bank Bordeaux year, also southern Rhone, Piedmont, Australia
Solid year across Europe, Italy VG, poor in California
Millennium fever means high prices, but most European wines VGI
Good right bank, superb Sauternes, also Southern Rhone, Italy, Spain
Challenging. Burgundy, Australia & California best bets. Port declared
Extreme heat raises question marks. Best: Bordeaux, Rhone, California
Pretty good Bordeaux and Rhone, Italy, Germany & Spain better
Potentially great year across Europe, Australia and California