Verticals - how many years constitute a vertical?

I was reviewing my Cellar Tracker account this morning and saw that I have several multi-year verticals. Got me to thinking about how many years does a vertical make? I have lots of 2 and 3 year ‘verticals’. I have one 4 and one 5 year vertical. The question of the day is, what’s the minimum number of years to make a vertical?

My technical answer: 2

That said, I think for a vertical tasting to have much meaning there needs to be at least 3 vintages poured; 4 is better; anything beyond 4 is icing on the cake.

No idea how many of anything it takes to have a verticle. [wink.gif]

For a vertical I would propose 3 (consecutive vintages not required). 2 is just a comparison.

I would say at least 8, preferably 12. I think of a vertical as a tasting. For me, 3-5 would be enough for one flight, and I would call that a “mini-vertical”.

Go big or go home! neener

I think the answer depends on the wine in question. Is it Old World with 100 vintages under its belt, or is it a relative CA Cab newcomer?

For Classified BDX, Burgundy, Barolo/Barbarescos, etc., I think Ken is on track. For something like Maybach, Schrader, etc., four or five might be all that has been produced so far. Personally, I consider four consecutive vintages in my cellar to be a vertical.

Ken + Bill = Correct. If you can, you want enough wines so that you can get a feel for the wine in question… what’s the wine, what’s the vintage? So you need enough samples that you can start to identify things about a wine that transcend vintages. If you were going to do something with a short history, you might only have 4-6 years. And you could specialize, i.e. do a “great vintages of the 80s” and those might be 82, 85, 88 and 89.

Or you could do Vintages of the Century: '07, '08, '09, '10 etc… [snort.gif]

I own no verticals then, sigh. That’s what group tastings are for, I guess.

I would agree with Ken; 9 - 12 vintages so that you can do 3 - 4 flights. Anything else would be a " mini - vertical " [cheers.gif]

A vertical tasting needs to illuminate the family resemblance of the vineyard while still highlighting the vintage characteristics. In order to do so, I would think there needs to be wines spaced far apart enough to show different stages of the wine’s evolution, while still factoring in vintage variation.

As such, if you have an 92 Bordeaux and an 05, I wouldn’t call that a vertical, as the 92 may be swill at this point due to the crap vintage and the 05 may be completely wound shut because of its relative infancy…So basically, it depends on the wine and the vintages.

At a minimum 3 years IMHO.

I think 3 is minimum . . . on this vertical topic. . . how many are you allowed to skip? Say you have 00, 01, 02, 05, 08 . . . would the latter part (05 and 08) be considered part of that vertical from 00 to 02?

Two’s company, three’s a vertical.

Or, err mini-vertical.

Frankly, I think a three vintage min-vertical, as long as the three are thoughtfully chosen, is very enjoyable.

I like to have lots of time with each glass, lots of revisits, and give each glass its best shot of doing its thing.

Not to get too far off-topic and into a rant, but I’ve seen so many tasting notes from these marathon vertical sessions where wines I know are really good get shorted because the participants either don’t have a large enough pour, don’t have the time to enjoy its development, or – let’s be honest – some wines just suffer when they’re inserted between 10 or 15 others.