The wine world is evolving, and it’s changing the way we buy wine. As our climate becomes alarmingly more erratic and the extremes more pronounced, the disparity between great and dismal vintages is becoming ever more dramatic. The mood of wine follows the seasons with metronomic regularity. The hot summers and drought stress of El Niño in southeastern Australia in 2018, 2019, and 2020 built structured, generous, and impactful wines. As our hot and dry continent becomes ever hotter and ever drier, El Niño years make it challenging to deliver the elegant wines for which the world increasingly thirsts. The cooler, wetter conditions of La Niña vintages like 2021 and 2022 provide a refreshing counterpoint. Natural acidity is the most important ingredient of all wine styles, and these seasons delivered the brightest in decades. The last time we saw a vintage of such crystalline refinement was 2002. As hit after hit from these wonderfully elegant seasons rolls across my tasting bench, I find myself regularly proclaiming ‘best in 20 years’ and not uncommonly, ‘best ever’. Of course, wine is far too complex to ever perfectly obey such gross generalisations. But I’ll certainly be paying very close attention to every worthy new release from 2021 and 2022 across southeastern Australia. Don’t miss them because come hell or high water, El Niño will soon return.
International Wine Communicator of the Year and author of The Champagne Guide
Tyson Stelzer is a multi-award winning wine writer, television host and producer, author of 18 wine books, international keynote speaker and wine show chairman and judge.
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