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Rhône Valley Vintage Chart

Rhône Valley Vintage Charts & Ratings

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Northern Rhône Vintage Chart

Vintage Quality Drink Comments
2015 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar Both winter and spring were wet, but by June the clouds had gone and there was no more rain until mid-August. It was a splendid summer, with the Northern Rhône actually hotter than the Southern Rhône for most of July; August brought cooler nights. There was welcome rain on August 15th and in early September, followed by more fine, warm weather. Marcel Guigal declared 2015 the best vintage in 55 years and as good as 1929, 1947 and 1961. The reds are outstanding in all appellations, and whites very good save in the very warmest sites (such as Condrieu) where some chunkiness is evident.
2014 Red:

White:
Drink Spring was warm and precocious and flowering went well, setting a large crop. After that, though, summer turned cool and wet; there were episodes of hail in July and September in Cornas, Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage, meaning that some growers in those regions had to pick prematurely. Hillside vineyards, in general, fared better than flat-land vineyards in this wet year. Whites can be good, but reds are often light and grassy.
2013 Red:

White:
Drink Reds/ Cellar whites After a lingering winter, spring was gloomy and cool, with record rainfall in May. This was a dismal start to the season resulting in crop losses of up to 40%. June and July remained cool, and July was wet. August and September, by contrast, were beautiful months, hot and sunny, and since the crop was small much of the lost ripening time could be recovered. Harvest took place during the first half of October before further rain arrived. These conditions produced fine white wines: concentrated, fresh and aromatic. The reds are pure and shapely, but with high acid levels.
2012 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar 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.
2011 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar 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 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar 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 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar 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 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar 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 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar 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 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar 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 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar 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 Red:

White:
Drink 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 Red:

White:
Drink 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 Red:

White:
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 Red:

White:
Drink 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 Red:

White:
Drink 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 Vintage Chart

Vintage Quality Drink Comments
2015 Red:

White:
Drink A wet winter and early spring gave way, in March and April, to warm, dry weather, though some coulure (shatter) affected the Grenache at flowering. June, July and August were all hot and dry which caused some instances of blocked maturity, especially for younger vines. Storms came at the end of August and in September just as the heat moderated, but the weather was still fine enough for growers to be able to wait for perfect levels of ripeness. The reds are pure, ripe and rounded; whites combine freshness with richness and aromatic charm.
2014 Red:

White:
Drink Very warm early spring conditions led to early bud break and, eventually, a generous and precocious fruit set, especially for Grenache as it struggled to reassert itself after its troubled 2013 season. At the end of June, though, summer turned cooler, and the weather remained mixed throughout July, August and September, as brighter periods were followed by clouds and rain. Fastidious vineyard work, including crop-thinning for the Grenache, was necessary to make good wines, and this was complicated by the presence of Drosophila suzukii flies with their attendant risk of acid rot. After the early start to the season, harvest was relatively late, and this long hang-time made for some attractive, supple red and white wines for relatively early consumption.
2013 Red:

White:
Drink Reds/ Cellar whites After a long, cold winter with freezing February conditions, spring was unseasonably cool and wet (twice the average rainfall) with catastrophically poor flowering weather for the Grenache. This resulted in losses of up to 70% of this key Southern Rhône variety. During June, the weather finally turned warmer, and July was hot and sunny with mixed but generally good weather thereafter. Nonetheless, harvest for most was in October. There are some good though atypical red wines due to an emphasis on Syrah and Mourvèdre and lighter-than-usual alcohol levels. The whites, by contrast, were good: pure, fresh and bright.
2012 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar 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 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar
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 Red:

White:
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 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar
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 Red:

White:
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 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar
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 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar
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 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar
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 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar
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 Red:

White:
Drink red/White 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 Red:

White:
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 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar 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 Red:

White:
Drink/Past peak 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
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Good
Good Good
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Excellent
Excellent Excellent
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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); Hugel family (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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