Provence Vintage Chart

Provence Vintage Charts & Ratings

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Vintage Quality Drink Comments
2012 Drink/Cellar top wines Rainy spring, hail in central Provence in late May. Hot, dry summer, drought in Bouches-du-Rhône. Rainstorms from mid-August into September. Fresh, elegant rosés. Concentrated whites with marked acidity, best will keep. Restrained, balanced reds, Coteaux Varois Syrah stands out. Moderate alcohol levels. Overall volume down by 20%.
2011 Drink/Cellar top wines Mixed growing season. Dry, sunny spring, flowering in good conditions. Uneven summer: cool, wet July; hot, dry mid-August to mid-September. Beneficial moisture in early September followed by drying Mistral wind. Cool nights during harvest. Heterogeneous maturation. Elegant, aromatic rosés, well-defined reds, especially Coteaux Varois & d’Aix.  Bandol particularly successful & structured; best will need cellaring.
2010 Drink Widely varying weather by département. More rainfall in some sectors than recent years. June floods in central Var.  Harvest pushed back by 1 to 3 weeks depending on locale; some red varieties not picked until end of October. Most reds moderately concentrated, whites & rosés with high acidities, generally lower alcohol: a year of finesse. Alternating sun/rain resulted in late, extended harvest in Bandol: spicy, defined reds, moderate alcohol.
2009 Drink/Cellar top wines Beneficial winter rains, good weather. Dry summer. Early vintage, balanced sugar & acidity enhanced by diurnal temperature variation. Ripe wines of all colors, very successful reds. In some cases, elevated alcohol, low acidities. Hot, dry summer in Bandol, even Mourvèdre ripened early. Reds reveal fruit, notable acidity, fine tannins.
2008 Drink/Past peak Difficult year. High levels of mildew & colder, wetter end to growing season demanded careful vineyard maintenance. Smaller crop of fresh rosés & whites, fruit-filled & defined reds. Generally lower alcohol, higher acidity. Varied September weather in Bandol yielded reds with tension & definition. With a“cooler,” more classic expression than 2007.
2007 Drink/Cellar top wines Warm August leading up to harvest. Cool nights. Storms in Var, Coteaux d’Aix. Elsewhere, water & wind stress in summer. Early healthy harvest but rather low volume. Atypically ripe, fleshy, sometimes heady whites & rosés. Reds with concentrated fruit. Bandol shines very expressive with generous fruit; best demand further aging. Some compare 2007 to 1998, an exceptional year.
2006 Drink Mild spring, some rain April through July. Hot windy August. Elevated amount of sunshine throughout season, lower precipitation. Drought in central Provence salvaged by late rains. Agreeable rosés, elegant whites. Structured reds suitable for mid-term cellaring, most are now ready. Extremely early harvest of healthy, ripe fruit in Bandol:  reds are fresh, elegant.
2005 Drink/Past peak In general, a dry season with absence of heat extremes, small harvest. Expressive, typical whites & rosés; firm reds with intense fruit. In Bandol, cool August nights, September punctuated by rain, no mistral; low yields, concentrated, well-defined reds for keeping. In general, less salutary results in Provence than other regions in ’05.
2004 Drink/Past peak Low yielding year (35-40 hl/ha) across all types, particularly small for Mourvèdre. Above average acidity. Balanced reds with moderately concentrated, fine tannins. Hot summer days, cool nights freshened by Mistral produced attractive Bandol with moderate alcohol, spice & fresh acidity.
2003 Past peak/Drink top reds Summer heat wave, coastal vineyards enjoyed moderating winds. Notably low yields in driest areas. Grenache suffered, Cinsault & Mourvèdre tolerated extremes better. Many wines with low acidity, high alcohol. Dry tannins in some reds; best are concentrated & required cellaring. Bandol reds have softened & surprised after time in bottle.
2002 Past peak Rosés were good, many other wines often weak, green, unripe. Tiny yields in Bandol: reds are fruity with moderate alcohol.
2001 Drink top wines/Past peak Reds were a success, notably Bandol: powerful, aromatic with better phenolic maturity than 2000. Rosés to drink on release, heavy whites now well past their best.
2000 Past peak High temperatures, low yields in Bandol resulted in dense wines with high alcohol. Reds tended to have unripe, dry tannins. Weak, fragile whites.

 

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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