Or to ask an even bigger, burning question - What in the heck's a vintage?

In wine-speak, a vintage is a wine from a particular year or crop.  It's basically the year the grapes were harvested to make a particular wine.  The quality of the wine produced can be influenced by everything from what the weather was like that year in the area to, well...  Have you been watching the stars?

According to folklore, for generations many would look to the night sky to predict the quality of their wine year after year.  The more comets they saw per season, the more likely they would produce a premium crop.  These were called comet vintages.  Back in the day, did they draw any correlation between clear night skies and ideal weather conditions?  Did they notice the cloudier it was, the less likely they'd notice any comet activity?  Which do you think would excite someone more? A meteor shower in the dead of night or a rain shower come high noon?  

Did you know too much rain can make grapes rot and produce mildew?  Too much rain right before the grapes are harvested changes the grape's sugar and acidity levels, too.  According to THIS SITE, several weeks of dry weather prior to harvest produces a much better grape.  ...Think you'd see more night sky activity if there wasn't any rain?
One of the most expensive bottles of wine on record is an 1811 Chateau d'Yquem aka The Comet Vintage.  More on this wine here on YouTube.  I wonder what it will taste like when the buyer actually tries it sometime in 2017? :^)

Add into the mix the power of suggestion.  We're all familiar how the power of suggestion can influence so many.  If your kids know the Elf on the Shelf is watching them, you know you're going to have a easier time of it come bedtime.  They might even help clean out the dishwasher or clean out the litter box just to score brownie points.  What happens when farmers who don't have access to the type of information that we have today - meteorological maps and storm-tracking systems online and on TV - or if they don't have to contend with things like light pollution, never mind smog and haze that block the view - notice an increase in the number of comets over a season?  What happens if you witnessed a comet that was bigger and brighter than all of the others?  If you believed in comet vintages, think you'd be easily convinced you have an extra spectacular vintage on your hands that year?

So what do we do come 2013?  How do we determine if a wine from a certain area is truly worth a buy?  What to look for?  Check with Google.  Somebody out there somewhere has likely already sampled the wine that you're looking to purchase but there are a few things you still have to look for, including the power of suggestion.  That's right, it's still here.  Ask yourself where any particular critic was during a review.  Are they friendlier with one brand over another for any particular reason?  Do they travel independently?  Who covers their expenses?  

Still, if there's any hint of truth with the notion of comet vintages, check out what sort of crops we can expect THIS YEAR.  


Photo source:  YouTube.

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