What a difference a year makes — just 12 little months, but a universe of subtle changes. In the esoteric field of wine, the unique, seasonal alchemy of rain, heat, humidity, sunshine and coolness often conspires to make wines that are markedly different year-to-year. This is the frustrating, unpredictable lot of the farmer and the vintner — but it is what gives wine its unique magic and cachet. Where else, after all, do we categorise produce by the year in which it was made? Naturally, the vintage phenomenon is most pronounced and profound in the spiritual home of wine itself, France — where superstitions mingle with state-of-the-art technologies to monitor and harness the weather patterns and atmospheres that render a crop truly great. Here are some of the finest French vintages of all time, and the reasons for their brilliance.
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