Rhône Valley Vintage Chart

Rhône Valley Vintage Charts & Ratings

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Northern Rhône

Vintage Red Wine Quality White Wine Quality Drink Comments
2012 Pending Very wet spring compromised flowering, reduced crop. Warm and sunny summer. Good harvest conditions. Sound, mature grapes. Red wines are supple, possess ripe fruit, soft tannin & complementary acidities. Not a vintage for the long term.  Very attractive whites.

Drink/Cellar top reds

Drink whites

Ideal spring, healthy flowering boosted crop size. Cold and wet in late June & July, dry August, mixed September. Healthy fruit, generally sound mature grapes. Medium-weight reds with youthful charm, accessibility. Many excellent examples, best for mid-term aging. Fruit-filled, expressive whites ready now.
2010 Drink/Cellar top whites
Cellar reds
Flowering spoiled by rain, coulure reduced crop substantially. Dry & cool summer, slow maturation. Harvest extended into October. Highly concentrated, firmly structured reds with acidity & tannin, yet impeccable equilibrium. A vintage to cellar: patience will be rewarded. Whites offer intensity, substance & unusual tension.
2009 Drink whites
Drink/Cellar top reds
Healthy flowering in good conditions. Sunny, windy &  hot weather ran from July into August and advanced ripening. Reds with overt fruit, density & warmth; dry tannins need time to resolve. Superb Hermitage, Saint-Joseph. Diverse whites, some excellent, fruity & rich; best have balancing acidity.
2008 Drink/Cellar top wines Difficult, warm, wet spring led to widespread mildew, reducing crop. Rain prevalent throughout summer, with unusually frequent hailstorms. Delayed maturation & extended small harvest. Lighter reds with higher acidity. Condrieu stands out.
2007 Drink/Cellar top reds & whites Unusually warm, dry winter & early budburst. Well above average rainfall April to June. Precocious flowering & véraison (up to 3 weeks early). Reduced crop. Optimal conditions (sunshine, cool nights) from late August produced balanced, ripe reds & whites.
2006 Drink whites
Drink/Cellar top reds
Abnormally cold, snowy winter. Cool, dry spring, very low temperatures for flowering caused coulure, millerandage. June heat wave continued into July, with hailstorms. Healthy harvest of mature reds, some with lower acidities, more forward than ’05.  Notable Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.
2005 Drink/Cellar top wines Balanced season without extremes. Concentrated wines with dense fruit, well-calibrated acidity, firm & ripe tannin. Top reds have considerable reserve, demand long cellaring. Delicious, elegant whites; exceptional Condrieu.
2004 Drink whitesDrink/Cellar top reds A regular season with normal temperatures after two aberrant years. Generally high yields. Sound mature grapes of moderate substance delivering elegant reds. Cornas stands out. Harvest volumes rebounded from low ’03 levels are particularly generous at Condrieu, Côte-Rôtie.
2003 Drink whites

Drink top reds
A year of high temperatures & low rainfall. Early, rapid flowering. Localized storms and hail in late July cut crop. Heat shriveled berries in August on most exposed slopes further reducing yields. Early small harvest of healthy grapes with thick skins. Deeply colored, concentrated, potent top reds with “baked” aspect, imposing tannins. Resemble ’83 or ’78 at best; some are over ripe. As with ’03 Bordeaux, divided opinions.
2002 Drink top wines/Others past peak Cold, dry spring, then hot late May. Stormy summer into September. Rot a serious challenge in some zones (e.g., Côte-Rôtie). Rain in late September, but North avoided the disastrous storms in the South. Reds lacking maturity and substance; whites better.
2001 Drink whites
Drink/Cellar top reds
Healthy flowering, green harvest common. Largely dry summer with cooler periods. Warm, not hot September extended ripening. Best reds showed intensity, reserve & tannic structure for long cellaring.
2000 Drink whites
Drink/Cellar top reds
Generous fruit set led to crop thinning and saignée to concentrate top wines. Reds of moderate concentration & longevity weaker than both ‘99s & ‘01s. Excellent whites.


Southern Rhône 


Red Wine Quality

White Wine Quality Drink Comments
2012 Pending Erratic spring, irregular flowering, late harvest. Extremely dry April to July, similar to 2010. Rain at end of August controlled water stress. Variable levels of maturity often required several tries to pick ripe fruit. Mourvèdre struggled to ripen. Sorting also key to outcomes. Moderately concentrated reds with forward fruit & freshness, likely to develop in near term. Whites reveal ample fruit, definition & show well early.
2011 Drink/Cellar top reds Favorable spring, hot June with very early flowering. Cooler July, beneficial rainfall. August into autumn was particularly hot & dry. Compared to 2010, more  sunshine hours, more summer days of high heat, greater precipitation. Excellent weather extended harvest into early October. Extroverted reds of moderate concentration and attractive fruit. Most accessible & drinkable early; top cuvées will keep for mid-term.
2010 Drink/Cellar Significant reductions in Grenache crop due to poor flowering. Fully mature reds, alcohols equal to more flamboyant ‘07s, yet wines appear fresh, well-defined & balanced. Many reds will gain with cellaring; most concentrated ones are reticent now. Whites possess noteworthy concentration & uncharacteristic backbone. Both colors will have longer lives than is typical for Southern Rhône.
2009 Drink/Cellar top reds Rapid progression of growing season, hot & dry July, harvest commencing as early as mid-August. Water stress disturbed maturation of some sites; deep-rooted old vines handled conditions best. Full-bodied, powerful reds, elevated alcohol; Grenache with flavor of kirsch liqueur, some have a “roasted” aspect. Ripe, perfumed, fleshy whites to enjoy early as a rule.
2008 Drink Challenging growing season (delayed ripening & problems with mildew) demanded skill & careful husbandry in vineyard. Best reds are moderately concentrated, restrained & elegant: a “cooler” style than typical. Gigondas, Rasteau are attractive.
2007 Drink/Cellar top reds Very early start to season; summer without rain. Ideal final stretch for maturation, without extremes. Reds with bountiful & rich fruit, fine tannins, lower acidity. Soft, round whites for early drinking.
2006 Drink/Cellar top reds Colder August than usual, cool nights. Some locales affected by storms. Syrah particularly successful. Balanced wines offering depth, freshness & finesse. Many Châteauneuf will develop further.
2005 Drink/Cellar top reds Extremely low winter precipitation balanced by April rains. Optimal season producing concentrated, structured wines with ripe tannins for long cellaring. Memorable Gigondas, red & white Châteauneuf.
2004 Drink/Cellar top reds Some locales experienced heat & water stress, reducing yields. Châteauneuf & Gigondas are stars of vintage. They are more complete than leading Northern reds in ’04.
2003 Drink top reds/Whites past peak Intensely hot from June through end of summer. Lower rainfall. Record temperature of 109° F at Orange. Harvest of white grapes 2 weeks early, reds picked as of late August. Very high sugars, especially inGrenache. Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Mourvèdre performed better as did older vines. Very generous reds, higher alcohols, marked tannin. Some are past peak, now taste “cooked.” Gigondas from cooler sites has aged better. Some impressive Châteauneuf, but not to keep further. Fat, rich whites enjoyable early.
2002 Past peak Normal summer & ripening arrested by torrential rain on 8 September, equivalent of annual precipitation in some areas; flooding in Gard & Vaucluse. Cooler, windy late September. Strict selection needed. Minimum alcohol level dropped for many red AOCs.
2001 Drink top whites/most past peakDrink/Cellar top reds Grenache experienced uneven flowering. Very hot end of August with intense Mistral wind. High sugars, sound pH & acidity; a few wines short of complete phenolic maturity.  Lower volumes.
2000 Drink top whites/most past peak
Drink top reds
Grenache experienced uneven flowering. Very hot end of August with intense Mistral wind. High sugars, sound pH & acidity; a few wines short of complete phenolic maturity.  Lower volumes.


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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