I don't really go much by year. I can say that 2009 was an outstanding year, and probably 2003. It's hard to generalize years because it matters exactly when you pick the leaves (relative to rains at a specific place), and there seems to be more fashions about processing that cycle through those years as well.
People have also unnecessarily trashed a year, like 2007, or 2004 and 2005. Puerh is not really like wine. If there was only one picking time per bush/tree, it would be, but it's not.
From my perspective, I have not had any tea from 2013 (but will try one in a week or so), but in general, my impression is that overall puerh quality has been declining from droughts and overpicking. My judgement from 2012 tea is that just about anything new worth buying and storing today (my standards) will cost about $150+/400g, and of course, only from the right vendors/brands. Remember, a Yihe Tea Factory Manzhuan 2012, that at least does the minimum of all the right things, but without qi, costs about $80 for 357g. No way. Either I pony up for the real stuff, I don't look at new stuff at all, or I look for acceptable cheap new tea to drink every day. Option B would probably be my choice.
As for Chinese perspectives, what they see as their chief issues is adulteration, the general expense, and pesticides to some degree. There is definitely talk about degrading quality of Bindao and Xigui this year, both in terms of the tea and in the quality of their care and local landscape. It might be a hassle to get very high quality Banna, but it may be the case that there is more control over the groves and some degree of interest in shearing, rather than flaying the arbor.