One retailer I talked with today commented on my story about how the wildfires may have affected the 2008 vintage, saying the article was soft. The retailer, who preferred not to be named, said the problem is far worse than the story let on.

Today I’ve heard people say they’ve tasted everything from ashtray to smoke in 2008s. Naturally no one wanted to on the record.

Hundreds of wildfires were sparked by lightning beginning June 20, 2008 and for three weeks smoke billowed for miles – as far south as San Francisco – as fires ranged out of control in the timberlands of Mendocino County and beyond.

The retailer said his store usually has 10 to 15 Anderson Valley pinots and this year it only has two. He suspects most Anderson Valley pinot producers will pass on the vintage or sell their grapes to the bulk market and they’ll wind up in pinots that sell for $15 and under. They won’t be selling for the usual $30 to $50 price range, he said.

Have you tasted any of the 2008 reds now rolling onto the market? What do you think?