Loire Valley Vintage Chart

Loire Valley Vintage Charts & Ratings

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Loire dry whites & reds

 

Vintage

Quality

Drink Comments
2012 Drink/Cellar top wines Troubled spring across region, cool & rainy, reducing yields severely, (1.9 million hl, well below 5-year average & 34% less than ’09). Good September weather rescued early-ripening varieties, sites.  Rain & cold returned in October. Excellent Muscadet albeit drastically reduced crop: intensity, acid backbone; best will keep. Anjou-Saumur, Touraine Chenins picked in good conditions. Cabernets are supple, fruity & forward if rather light.
2011 Drink/Cellar top wines Promising start to season, less favorable later. Very early start to season, then cooler in mid-summer. Good Muscadet, successful Anjou Chenins secs.  Early harvest in Centre, mostly picked by mid-September. Ripe Sauvignons often with lower acidities for early drinking. At best, mature Cabernets harvested as early as beginning of September in Chinon, Bourgueil; less maturity in poor locales.
2010 Drink/Cellar top wines Regular conditions. Season with contrasting hot & cool periods, irregular flowering & ripening by parcel. Muscadet with above average concentration & structure. Cabernet Franc of sound ripeness if picked late. Many Sauvignons have intensity, aromatic complexity. A year combining quality & above average quantity.
2009

Drink/Cellar top whites

Drink/Cellar top reds

Dry from June through warm September. Very successful Muscadet, ripe Chenins in Anjou, Touraine.  Hailstorms cut crop in Menetou-Salon, Sancerre. Sauvignons attained high sugars, sound acidity from cool September nights in Centre; last to be picked lack acidity. Fully mature Cabernet Franc, generous Chinon & other Touraine reds with flattering fruit qualities. Prolific vintage of 2.9 million hl.
2008 Drink/Cellar top whites Cold summer, favorable September & October. Best wines harvested later & benefitted from long maturation. Concentrated whites will keep well. Fruity, fresh reds; weaker examples are not ripe.  Reduced overall volume, decimated crop in Nantais (1/2 of 2009) due to frost.
2007 Drink/Cellar top whites Difficult flowering, wet & cold summer, notably stormy August with low temperatures. Mildew a problem. Best whites are expressive, possess pointed acidity; some lack maturity. Best in Muscadet, Anjou. Many under-ripe, herbaceous reds; successes were harvested later.
2006

Drink/Cellar

top wines

Good summer weather, rain in mid/late September complicated picking across region.best are ripe, full-bodied. Results hinged on skill & timing of vigneron, particularly picking dates.Muscadet suffered. Most Sauvignon in Centre brought in before storms;best are ripe, full-bodied. Results hinged on skill & timing of vigneron, particularly picking dates.
2005 Drink/Cellar top wines Early harvest in benign conditions, consistently ripe & balanced wines. Concentrated whites with backbone, often very full-bodied. Reds even better, for many best of decade: fully mature, atypically dense, age-worthy.
2004

Drink top wines

Others past peak

Favorable September, generous yields. Typical light- to medium-weight wines, sound maturities; most to drink early. Some examples were weak, green. Centre saw late harvesting extending into October producing etched Sauvignons with herbaceous notes.
2003 Others past peak

Drink top wines
Earliest harvest since 1893 (e.g., starting 19 August in Nantais & Centre). Variable season, extremely hot August, grapes “burnt” by sun. Old vines fare better. Very high levels of maturity likened to 1959 or 1947. Reduced volumes. Rich Muscadet & Chenins. Full, ripe Sauvignon with unusually high alcohol lacked typicity. Many excellent reds: fruity, supple, fine tannins. Nearly all to drink young.
2002

Drink top whites

Others past peak

Below normal harvest volume, uniform quality. Rainy August, warm & dry September/October. Muscadet endowed with rich fruit. Successful Chenins secs in Anjou-Saumur, Touraine. Appealing Chinon, Saumur-Champigny; some reds insufficiently ripe. Sauvignons in Centre possessed generous, ripe fruit.
2001 Others past peak
Drink top whites & reds
Excellent flowering, high temperatures in summer. Muscadet performed well. In Anjou-Saumur, rich Chenins. High rainfall in Touraine, earlier harvest; wines reflect maturity  similar to 2000. Solid reds. Mixed results for Sauvignons in Centre where rain & rot disrupted maturation.
2000 Others past peak
Drink top whites
Cool, wet July, hot June & August. Grapes picked before mid-October rains made successful wines. Rich, full-bodied Muscadet. Light Chenins in Anjou-Saumur & Touraine; Savennières above average. Ripe, balanced Sauvignons in Centre benefitted from favorable September. Soft, forward reds.

Loire Sweet whites (moelleux)

 

 

Vintage Quality Drink Comments
2012 Pending Limited botrytis, minuscule yields of Bonnezeaux, Chaume, Quarts de Chaume.
2011 Drink/Cellar top wines A year favoring Chenin with attractive moelleux in Coteaux du Layon.
2010 Drink/Cellar top wines Anjou was able to produce good sweet wines in the Layon appellations. Touraine was less successful.
2009 Drink/Cellar top wines Many remarkable wines in both Anjou & Touraine, among them Coteaux du Layon &  Vouvray. A vintage to challenge 2005 as the best of the decade for moelleux.
2008 Drink/Cellar top wines Very limited output of sweet wines. Some finely calibrated, rather light, elegant successes.
2007 Drink/Cellar top wines Extremely small production of moelleux with some fine results among the Anjou Chenins.
2006 Drink Below average wines with a handful of lighter, elegant, moderately sweet successes.
2005 Drink/Cellar top wines A year in which the grapes experienced noble rot or desiccation through passerillage. Uniform quality. Wines with exquisite equilibrium in a diversity of styles. A great vintage, arguably best of the decade.
2004 Drink/Past peak Light wines, absence of sweetness… with few exceptions.
2003 Drink/Cellar top wines Opulence, density & sweetness. A minority miss sufficient backbone to offset richness. Cellar selectively after evaluating individually.
2002 Drink/Cellar top wines Sweet wines resulted from desiccation of grapes on vine (passerillage). Wines possess real density with high sugar levels complemented by well-matched acidity.
2001 Drink top wines Anjou Chenins were attractively sweet and stand above Touraine where Vouvray & Montlouis lack substance.
2000 Drink top wines Simple, straightforward & delicately sweet wines without the concentration & dimension of finest years.

 

Quality Poor Poor-to-Fair Fair Fair-to-Good Good Good to Excellent Excellent Excellent to Exceptional Exceptional
Chart Legend

Methodology: This report has been compiled utilizing multiple authoritative sources including regional trade associations, experts in each region, wine producers, academic studies, leading journalists, and the editor’s personal notes.
Acknowledgements: E. Gabay MW (Provence); E. Hugel (Alsace); D. Markham (Bordeaux); K. McAuliffe (Rhône); M. Stubbs MW (Languedoc-Roussillon).
Editor’s comment: This chart is intended to serve as a reliable guide for professionals, educators and collectors. Judgments as to the quality, longevity and current maturity of a given vintage are by definition simplified assessments describing the average profile of the year. There will always be individual wines which surpass, or fail to reach, the overall standard, or which may have a shorter or longer life than their peers. Last, these evaluations are not fixed and permanent; rather, they will be revised as needed to reflect the wines as they age in bottle.

 

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