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    Blog

    Displaying items by tag: Vintages

    Friday, 14 January 2022 07:54

    The 2020 Vintage in France, by Andrew Jefford

    The vintage chart and harvest reports provided by the Wine Scholar Guild gives you the ranking for every French wine region and vintage from 2000 to today.

    Andrew Jefford, award-winning author and columnist in every issue of Decanter and World of Fine Wine, Co-Chair Decanter World Wine Awards; Vice-Chair Decanter Asia Wine Awards as well as Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor, gives us his insight about the 2020 vintage in France.

    The COVID pandemic made 2020 difficult in France as elsewhere in the world, but France’s winegowers had every reason to feel a sense of relief and gratitude as the year ended. Their future prosperity depends on both the quantity and the quality of each year’s harvest. Every French wine region was satisfied with quantities in 2020 and thrilled with quality. Sales may have been difficult in 2020 with the restaurant trade in abeyance and export markets disrupted, but after the run of good to great French vintages since 2015, no one had cause to complain about stocks.

    Published in Blog
    Friday, 22 October 2021 08:00

    Italian Vintage Chart, from 2010 to 2020

    Wine Scholar Guild is pleased to provide its readers with vintage and harvest reports for some of Italy’s most famous regions, from 2010 onward. We felt it was time that we expand our assessment of vintages and harvest reports outside of France and Italy was first on our list. To compile this in-depth report, we reached out to Italian wine specialist Tom Hyland.

    Tom seemed like the perfect fit for this project, as he has been reporting on and promoting Italian wines for more than twenty years as a journalist, educator, and photographer. He has made more than 75 trips to wine regions throughout all of Italy from his home in Chicago. In that time, he has written for numerous publications, including Decanter, wine-searcher.com and most recently Wine Spectator. He has written two books on Italian wine: Beyond Barolo and Brunello (2013) and The Wines and Foods of Piemonte (2016). Tom has conducted seminars on Italian wine for the trade and public; over the past year, he has led more than two dozen webinars with Italian producers; among these were several for Wine Scholar Guild. He also served as US ambassador for Consorzio I Vini del Piemonte for five years. He is also an accomplished photographer, having been named Wine Photographer of the Year (Category: Places) in 2020 at the prestigious Pink Lady competition in England.

    Andrea Eby, Italian Programs Director, asked Tom to provide a short blog article describing how he went about compiling this fantastic resource. We hope you enjoy the article and find the vintage charts as useful as we do. As always, we look forward to your questions and comments!

    Published in Blog
    Wednesday, 20 January 2021 22:15

    The 2019 Vintage in France, by Andrew Jefford

    Andrew Jefford, award-winning author and columnist in every issue of Decanter and World of Fine Wine, Co-Chair Decanter World Wine Awards; Vice-Chair Decanter Asia Wine Awards as well as Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor, gives us his insight about the 2019 vintage in France.

    The beat goes on. The 2019 vintage in France marked five continuous years (since 2015) of warmer-than-average weather. Global warming is with us and accelerating – but so far, for the wine growers of France, it has been merciful.

    Published in Blog
    Wednesday, 16 October 2019 08:33

    The 2018 Vintage in France, by Andrew Jefford

    Andrew Jefford, award-winning author and columnist in every issue of Decanter and World of Fine Wine, Co-Chair Decanter World Wine Awards; Vice-Chair Decanter Asia Wine Awards as well as Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor, gives us his insight about the 2018 vintage in France.

    As October 2018 got underway, wine-growing France let out an audible collective sigh of relief. After shortages due to repeated hail and frost traumas in recent years, 2018 marked a gratifying return to generosity for French wine growers.

    Published in Blog

    Andrew Jefford, award-winning author and columnist for Decanter Magazine and World of Fine Wine as well as Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor, gives us his insight about the 2017 vintage in France...

    Published in Blog
    Wednesday, 18 July 2018 06:19

    A Guide to Recent Barolo and Barbaresco Vintages

    Thanks to a string of successful vintages, there has been a great deal of recent publicity regarding Barolo and Barbaresco wines.

    Produced entirely from Nebbiolo, these two iconic wines have changed in style over the past 20-30 years; where once, the wines were reserved upon release, today, the wines are riper and more forward. This is largely due to climate change, as warmer temperatures throughout the growing season have necessitated Nebbiolo harvests some two to three weeks earlier these days than in the 1980s, ‘70s and prior; while late October to early November was normal for a Nebbiolo harvest thirty and forty years ago, today, harvest is more typically in early-mid October.

    Published in Blog
    Thursday, 15 December 2016 11:09

    Chateauneuf-Du-Pape 2016… A Fabulous Vintage !

    As autumn is drawing to a close and the wine presses have been washed and put away, the first wines tasted before being blended confirm what had been sensed: 2016 is going to be a fabulous vintage! And if some compare it to the magnificent 2010, some others do not hesitate to go as far as the famous star-vintage 1990… Either way, the evidence that we are witnessing the making of a great vintage is clear.

    Published in Blog
    Tuesday, 27 May 2014 06:00

    Loire Valley Vintage Charts & Ratings

    Back to French Vintage Chart

    The vintage chart and harvest reports provided by the Wine Scholar Guild gives you the ranking for every French wine region and vintage from 2000 to today.

    Andrew Jefford, award-winning wine journalist for Decanter Magazine and author of twelve books on wine including The New France has compiled information and written the vintage charts starting with the 2013 vintage. He is also updating information for the vintages prior to 2013.

    Last updated: Jan. 14, 2022

    Loire Valley Vintage Chart

    Vintage Quality Drink Comments
    2020 Drink/Cellar Winter 2019-20 was the warmest ever recorded in the Loire valley, with periods of intense rain that left soils fully replenished.  March and April were alternately warm and cool, with budbreak around April 5th, eight days in advance of the ten-year average.  Late April and May remained very warm, with flowering in early May (two weeks ahead of the ten-year average).   June was disappointing, with hail affecting Reuilly, Menetou-Salon and Chateaumeillant; July began cool, but turned very warm; August was hot.  Harvest began in mid-August for Crémant wines, while for most wines it began after some welcome rains at the end of the month, in fine September weather.  2020 is an excellent vintage throughout the Loire valley for both dry whites and reds: the wines have concentration, freshness and poise.  Late-season noble rot made a range of fine sweet wines possible this year, too.
    2019 Drink/Cellar A mild late winter was followed by a long cold spell in April and May with a least five episodes of frost between April 4th and May 6th.  The worst affected regions were Muscadet and Anjou; further east, the frosts were less severe, with little damage in Pouilly-Fumé -- and Sancerre emerging unscathed.  The cold and rainy conditions lasted through flowering in June, though, with most growers reporting at least some losses due to coulure.  Late June, here as elsewhere, saw a switch to hot, dry weather – and in contrast to other regions of France, the Loire valley had a dry August, too; many Loire growers saw no rain at all between the second half of June and the second half of September.  This posed problems for some growers with sandy soils (as in parts of Chinon), and heat spikes in late June and July caused some sunburn issues.  In general, though, growers are as happy with their 2019 harvest as they were with the 2018 harvest; indeed dry whites may be even better in 2019 than they were in 2018.  The only disappointment concerns sweet wines, as the rains which fell after September 21st were not conducive to sweet-wine production
    2018 Drink/Cellar A dark, wet and cold winter in the Loire persisted well into March, and it was only with the advent of much warmer weather in April that budburst took place (the 21st was the warmest April day on record). The frost danger receded with a very wet May and early June, though this caused some mildew losses. Flowering went well in early June, and from mid-June the weather pattern became stable, with hot, dry and sunny weather. It was the hottest summer since 2003, and the driest since 1945, eliminating stubborn mildew outbreaks. Sunny, dry weather persisted throughout the harvest period, from the end of August all the way through to October for some of the Cabernet-based reds and botrytis-affected whites.  Growers throughout the Loire, from Muscadet to Sancerre, were uniformly pleased with both the quantity and quality of their harvest (“1947 but with quantity!” according to Alphone Mellot Snr): clean fruit, with ample ripeness yet sustained by vivid acidity. The wines are set to age exceptionally well.
    2017 Drink/Cellar After a difficult season in 2016, most Loire growers were happy with the quality of this remarkably early vintage, though quantities remain below average. As in so many French regions, some parts of the Loire were badly hit by April frosts: Muscadet was 35-40% below normal; Savennières was catastrophically affected; Saumur-Champigny saw a reduction of 30% after frost over four nights (26-29 April); while Cheverny, Menetou-Salon, Coteaux du Giennois and some parts of Pouilly-Fumé were badly hit among the Sauvignon-producing zones. After the frost traumas, though, the summer was near faultless, and the harvest took place from the end of August around two weeks in advance of the normal date. The wines are intense, pungent and vivacious, and the best are expected to age well; the sweet wines are as successful as the dry wines this year. Chinon and Bourgueil have produced noteworthy reds.
    2016 Drink The 2016 vintage was a difficult one in many parts of the Loire valley.  The culprits were frosts on the nights of April 26th and 27th, followed by heavy rains in May and June which led to catastrophic outbreaks of mildew; drought and high temperatures in July and August also had a negative effect.  Muscadet was very badly hit, with a third of the zone unpicked and the smallest crop since 1949; other areas affected include Montlouis, Chinon, Bourgeuil and St Nicolas de Bourgeuil, Saumur-Champigny, Menetou-Salon, Pouilly-Fumé (but not Sancerre), Quincy and Reuilly.  Fine September weather towards the end of the season, though, helped create fresh and vibrant wines with ample classicism from those grapes which survived the early season depradations and the summer heat.
    2015 Drink After the warmest winter in a century, late February and March were cool, so flowering came normally in early April, with more cool weather at the end of April and early May.  After that, summer was sunny and warm with a very hot, early July.  The growers were happy to see some mid-August rain, and fine, warm weather then returned for a leisurely September harvest.  This is a great vintage across the board in the Loire, for dry wines, for red wines (which are riper than in 2014), and for sweet wines too (with vivid, fresh acidity as well as generous sugars).  The best wines will make superb cellar prospects.
    2014 Drink After a warm end to winter and a very dry March, bud break came early at the beginning of April.  There was good weather for successful flowering, too, but apart from that, summer was cool and, between mid-July and mid-August, very wet.  The weather finally changed at the end of August, and September was record-breakingly dry, sunny and windy, meaning that with maturity came concentration.  Harvesting began in mid-September and gave an excellent crop of dry white and red wines with outstanding Muscadet and Sancerre and very good Anjou-Villages and Chinon.  There was rain in early October which cut the crop of sweet wines, but those who waited for fine weather at the end of October made small quantities of moelleux and liquoreux, the latter with over 20˚ of potential alcohol.
    2013 Drink/Past peak Late winter and spring saw prolonged cold, meaning that bud break came two weeks late, into mid-April (with Saumur-Champigny suffering a late April frost). Late spring was barely better, with delayed flowering, sometimes as late as early July, accompanied by coulure (shatter) and millerandage (shot berries).  Vouvray was hit by a severe hail storm on June 17th which destroyed two-thirds of its crop.  July and August, by contrast, were hot and sunny, while September was generally benign, although more humid.  The October harvest (late September in Muscadet) was the latest in two decades.  Fair to good results were achieved by those white-wine producers who worked hard in the vineyards and sorted their crop, but it was a less exciting year for reds, and there were few late-harvest wines.
    2012 Drink 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/Past peak 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 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 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. Generously, lushly endowed sweet wines from Anjou and Touraine.
    2008 Drink 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 Past peak 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 Past peak 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 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. A great sweet-wine vintage, with both raisining and noble rot giving wines of concentration, depth and succulence.
    2004 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 Past peak 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. The best sweet wines, by contrast, remain generous and opulent.
    2002 Drink 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. The sweet wines are rich yet balanced thanks to raisining rather than noble rot in this vintage.
    2001 Past peak 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 Past peak 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.

     

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    Chart Legend

    These vintage notes have been prepared by Andrew Jefford, Academic Advisor to the Wine Scholar Guild. New vintage information, and any revisions of previous vintage drinking suggestions, are made each autumn.  Use the chart as a guide only; in every vintage there will be outperforming and underperforming wines.

    Back to French Vintage Chart

     

     

    Published in Vintage Charts
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