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1977 Vintage Wine

Decent 1977 vintage wines are without doubt one of the hardest years for us to find. In France, it was a difficult vintage with a cold summer and very little rain in Bordeaux and rain followed by thunderstorms at the end of the season in Burgundy. Even for California, it was a drought year. Italy fared better with the 1977 wines from Tuscany rating highly and names like Tignanello from Antinori pleasing the critics. For port lovers however, 1977 was an entirely different story. A coolish summer was followed by the hottest autumn for over a decade. Perfect conditions for Vintage Port. Many of these ports are still sleeping giants with Dow’s given a 50 year drinking window (up to 2039) by wine critic Robert Parker. He also awarded it an impressive 93 points. With similar scores for the other big names and even 96 points for Taylor’s Fladgate Vintage Port, 1977 is a Port vintage of serious note.

For France, vintages like 1977 are frustrating, especially when you consider one of the basic laws that applies to all French wines that have been granted ‘Appellation d’Origine Controllée’ (AOC) status; namely irrigation. For AOC wines, it is illegal to water the vines and the farmers must rely solely on the vagrancies of the weather. That said, there are always examples of good wines in poor vintages. Timing of the harvest and micro-climates are just two of the factors that may work in a wineries favour over neighbouring properties. Time can also work wonders with wines that are completely out of balance when they are young developing into stars a decade or more later. This is when a wine goes to sleep. Though buyers shouldn’t raise their hopes. For 1977 vintage wines, these wines are the exception.

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