These can be unwieldy things, dominated by the white noise of average years, full of wines you can’t afford and cluttered with caveats, asterisks and unnecessary explanations. Here is the skinny you need on every year since 2003 for bottles that you might actually see in shops in your area.
“Broke my own rules n°1: Caveat – most whites are drunk within a couple of years of harvest, so this list concentrates on red wine unless stated.”
Sweet white Bordeaux (Sauternes, Barsac…):
Broke my own rules n°2: 2001 was the best year of modern times. Also good in 2014, 2011, 2009 and 2005.
Bordeaux – Left Bank (Médoc, Pauillac, Graves):
Avoid 2013. 2010 wonderful but should be cellared for a couple of years. 2009 also exceptional, and can be drunk now (although holding it wouldn’t hurt). 2005 and 2003 were also great.
Bordeaux – Right Bank (Médoc, Pauillac, Graves):
2012 and 2010 wonderful but will improve as years go by. 2009 and 2008 also exceptional, and can be drunk now or kept for later. 2005 and 2003 were also great.
White Burgundy: 2004 – 2013:
were all pretty good.
2010, 2009, 2005 and 2003 were great years and are ready to drink.
2009 – 2012 were great, 2005 and 2003 were especially good.
2009 – 2012 were great, and 2005- 2007 were especially good.
2003 to the present day were all good years except 2013 and 2008.
Look out for 2011, 2010, 2007, 2006 and 2004.
2003 to today have all been good years, and in particular wines from 2010 will improve with age.
Your best bets are 2012, 2010, 2009 and 2004.
Port and Duoro:
Best years are 2011, 2007 and 2004.
Anything but 2011.
Everything since 2006 is OK.
Keep away from 2012, 2008 and 2003.
2012, 2010 and 2005 are the go-to years.