Well, to start with, it makes life exciting for both producers, sometimes dangerously so, as well as consumers. One of the huge fallacies of the 100-point system, for example (though any rating system is equally incapable of quantifying a vintage), is that a vintage is something that is ratable using an uninformative absolute scale.

Vintages certainly can be described as difficult or easy, opulent or lean, but to say that one vintage is simply better than another is, as a general rule, foolish and myopic. Why is a vintage considered better simply because it produced wines with more fruit and opulence? You got me, but that certainly seems to be the rule of thumb when trying to encapsulate a year's worth of weather, farming and winemaking in some easy-to-digest, and particularly unsatisfying, score.

Vintage variation is awesome and one of the features that makes the wines of Oregon so fascinating. As many consumers note, wines from regions with consistently fine growing regions have evolved into rather monolithic and profitably consistent products, but is that good? Is that fun? Does that really help the consumer?