Any "Off" or "Bad" vintages you really like?

If you like cab, most 2011 cabs. from Sonoma and Napa are better than the critics say. Also, many of the other wines made in CA are good and long lived if you buy the longer lived varieties.
Some 2011 Pinots from CA are also good but there aren’t as many as the Syrah, Mourvèdre, Merlot wines.
I’ll let others with more experience advise on wines from elsewhere.

Aside: my bias is almost always to stay away from the well known/hyped/expensive wines. In 2011, there are exceptions to that prejudice; those that could afford heavy triage did much better than those that couldn’t.

And lastly, the very best cab. I tasted from 2011 was the Calluna, Colonel’s Vineyard from the top of Chalk Hill in Sonoma. If I could find it, no one else would get a chance. Reminded me of some of the ‘70’s bottlings from Phelps and Diamond Creek. And built to last . . .

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I tasted 2011 Paul Hobbs Dr. Crane a few weeks ago and it was fantastic. The winery has a few of those and also some 2011 Las Piedras that the tasting room manager said he preferred to the Dr. Crane. Whether they are among the great wines of the vintage is way outside of my depth, but some options for you!

I’ve had some lovely 2011s from Barbaresco, if that’s an area of interest for you.

I do think that places like Beckstoffer can turn lemons to lemonade most vintages. I’d rarely get against them in any vintage.

2011 was fantastic in Piedmont. I have almost a case of wines from top producers (Cappellano, Rinaldi, Scavino) but it’s a good reminder to keep an eye out and buy more. They will also last another 20 years or more.

Thanks Jim. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for one of Calluna’s wines along with other good Napa and Sonoma cabs. As you mentioned, I can also look for other varieties like petite sirah that are pretty much immortal.

What is a off or bad vintage? Given that someone on this board once called 1966 an off vintage in Bordeaux, some people have a very different definition of what is an off vintage than I do.

So, like others, I am going to list vintages I consider underrated (or overrated) whether or not people consider them to be bad or off vintages.

Bordeaux - 1979, 1996 [overrated 2009 and 2010] [I wonder if I should include 2016 in the list of underrated vintages as I think this will be a legendary vintage like 1982 and I am not sure this is yet a universal position]
Burgundy (red) - 1980, 2000, 2007, 2017, 2021 [overrated 2005]
Germany - 1987, 2010 [overrated 2001, 2011]
California Cabernet - 1973, 1980, 1984, 1991

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2011 Germany is overrated? Does anyone actually think it’s a highly successful vintage?

2021 is not an off vintage. Some wines were overpriced but they’ve generally come down in price. It shouldn’t be priced ahead of 19-20 but it’s a good vintage.

Sort of the other side of the coin from what usually people think of for off or bad vintages, I’d say 2007 Southern Rhone and 2003 in Bordeaux and Burgundy are widely derided for their ripeness rather than suffering from a cold/wet/mildewed year. Of those, 2003 Bordeaux is probably the least controversial as there’s been some support for them voiced previously in WBers. There’s probably been way more criticism than favorable comments on the 2007 Southern Rhone. To the OP, I’ve enjoyed all of these to varying degrees and have only had a couple of misses, I’m guessing about 95% favorable to my palate.

They were not great to taste on release as they had blocky tannin structure due to oak trwatment following 1997, and had an herbal note almost got to pyrazine, and had zero demand after 1994-1997.
Most people just passed on the vintage for the most part or had plenty of wine to get to 1999 or 2001/2002. Ultimately they turned out well, I think of 2000 as the weaker vintage that wasn’t heat struck like 2003.

Totally agree. And these were wines that Premier Cru actually delivered.

The problem with 2007 southern Rhone was just that people weren’t pairing it with the right food. If they’d just focused on magnums and paired it with sushi there would have been little or no criticism of the vintage.


Agreed. But for me, 1997 was not my “jam” as they say. Most of my friends and I preferred the 1998s.

Makes sense. The 1996s have turned out well.

I think 2004 + 2014 are great in both the Loire + Bordeaux.

Also think '08 is great in Bordeaux, easily above '09, '15, '18 for my preference.

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Some excellent CA 2011s that will last - Shafer HSS and from Peter Michael look for Les Pavots and Au Paradis.

Of course port is an option as well. We stashed away a mixed case for a nephew born in ‘11.

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I think that’s pushing it a bit. It was a touch warm for purists but I also think it delivered some pretty nice wines that drink early and that will also go the distance if someone is looking for a birthyear wine. Some people knocked it as too hot but IMO that’s an exaggeration.

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Lots of good stuff, and largely points to the fact that there are very few bad vintages in the last 20+ years.

And as for truly bad years there are always a few good wines, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

Most of you are lucky to have grown up in the climate change/better winemaking era.

There were some real duds in the early 1990s from various spots around the wine world. 2000 in Germany (too much bad rot), 2004 Burgundy (the green meanies), and 2002 in the Rhône are some of the few real duds in this era.

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This. The level of consistent quality in Bordeaux since about 1999 and Burgundy more recently is amazing. Even vintage rankings these days are more about what style you prefer than one vintage being far better than another in an absolute sense (with bigger / fruitier vintages rated higher). 2013 in Bordeaux was the last truly awful vintage. Maybe 2011 for Burgundy but that vintage has defenders