That the trend of a vintage is capable of strongly influencing the organoleptic characteristics of a wine is a notion that has now been learned by everyone.
But will those historic bottles of Barolo that you have kept in your cellar for years still be good? Will they be worth anything?
This too depends on the specific vintage: some were so excellent that they had amazing aging potential, others were already uninteresting from the start, and today certainly do not reserve surprises.
Here is a list of all the vintages from 1951 to 1989: find yours and find out what product you have in your hands.
1951 Good vintage. Strong, velvety wine of good stuff.
1952 Normal vintage. Quite strong, winy wine, though fairly hard.
1953 Bad vintage.
1954 Normal vintage. Weak wine, though elegant, fine, velvety.
1955 Good vintage. Splendidly balanced, rightly winy, intensely scented wine.
1956 Normal vintage. Light wine, though intensely colored and on average scented.
1957 Excellent vintage. Complete, velvety, balanced wine.
1958 VERY GOOD VINTAGE. Not too strong but complete wine, of very good stuff, exceptionally elegant, intensely scented.
1959 Mediocre vintage.
1960 Bad vintage.
1961 (majestic) VERY GOOD VINTAGE. Complete wine,splendidly velvety, with a very strong character, high alcoholic level, very intense and fine scent.
1962 (elegant) Normal vintage. Wine of good stuff, not intensely scented.
1963 Bad vintage.
1964 (majestic) VERY GOOD VINTAGE. Splendidly balanced, complete wine, intensely scented, perhaps a little too hard, suitable for a long life.
1965 (balanced) Normal vintage. Fairly strong, balanced wine, with an intense and pleasant scent.
1966 Mediocre vintage.
1967 (majestic) Excellent vintage. Complete, strong, intensely scented wine.
1968 (elegant) Good vintage. Velvety, delicate, on average strong wine, elegantly scented.
1969 (balanced) Normal vintage. Fairly strong, delicately scented wine of good stuff.
1970 (majestic) VERY GOOD VINTAGE. Complete, intensely scented, strong, velvety, splendidly balanced wine of very good stuff.
1971 (majestic) EXTRAORDINARY VINTAGE. Both splendidly balanced and harmonic, extraordinarily velvety, intensely scented, very elegant wine.
1972 Very bad vintage. The producers, during a meeting in the Grinzane Cavour castle, decided to renounce this wine, not considering it suitable for conservation and curativeripening (European Community code n. 817770 and n. 1697/70).
1973 (elegant) Normal vintage. On average strong wine, with an intenseand persisting scent, along with an harmonic composition.
1974 (majestic) Excellent vintage. Perfectly balanced, velvety and fine, pleasantly scented wine.
1975 (balanced) Good vintage. Balanced, harmonic and pleasant, elegant wine, with a delicateand intense scent.
1976 (elegant) Normal vintage. Fairly strong, balanced and fine wine, delicately scented.
1977 Normal vintage. Fine, not too strong, balanced, delicately scented wine. Sometimes mediocre.
1978 (majestic) VERY GOOD VINTAGE. Strong and complete, intensely but delicately and harmonically scented, extraordinarily balanced strenght and velvetness, suitable for a long life.
1979 (balancedo) Excellent vintage. Wine of very good stuff, fairly complete, elegant, intensely scented, with a pleasant character.
1980 (balanced) Excellent vintage. Intensely and widely scented, complete wine, of good stuff, extraordinarily balanced, harmonically built.
1981 (elegant) Normal vintage. On average strong, delicate, elegant, harmonic, finely and delicately scented wine.
1982 (majestic) VERY GOOD VINTAGE. Complete, strong, balanced wine; with an intense, wide and delicate scent; extraordinarily balanced strenght and velvetness, good character; suitable for a long life.
1983 (elegant) Good vintage. Balanced and pleasant wine, strong enough, elegant and velvety, with a fine and intense scent.
1984 (elegant) Normal vintage. On average strong, well balanced wine with a pleasant structure, delicate and persisting scent. Modest production.
1985 (majestic) EXTRAORDINARY VINTAGE. Perfectly balanced wine with a strong character, a pleasant scent, intense, fragrant, wide and exciting; perfectly balanced velvetness and tannin level, elegant and generous, Suitable for a long life. An honour for the Langhe.
1986 (elegant) Excellent vintage. Very harmonic wine, of good stuff, complete, elegant, intensely and widely scented, with a pleasant character. Very modest production because of a hailstorm in spring.
1987 (balanced) Good vintage. Well balanced wine, harmonic and elegant with a gentle and pleasant structure, of good stuff. Delicate, persisting and pleasant scent.
1988 (majestic) Excellent vintage. Remarkably elegant structure, great balance and strong character. Pleasant and intense scent with a remarkable fragrance. Right tannin level, wide, delicately bitter, on average long-lived.
1989 (majestic) VERY GOOD VINTAGE. Fairly structured and balanced wine; with a wide, intense and conplex scent; generous and complete taste with an elegant tannin level, very good stuff and persistence; long-lived.