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Displaying items by tag: vintage chart

Friday, 14 January 2022 12:54

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 13:00

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
Thursday, 21 January 2021 03:15

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 13:33

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 11:19

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
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 17:00

Rhône 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

Northern Rhône Vintage Chart

Vintage Quality Drink Comments
2020 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar

Autumn 2019 was very wet -- fortunately, as in general 2020 was a dry to very dry vintage in the Northern Rhône.  Spring warmth began early (the almond trees flowered 10 days ahead of schedule), with budburst in mid-March; there was little frost, though, apart from minor losses on April 1st in Crozes-Hermitage.  After a dry spring, May brought some welcome rain which, combined with balmy heat, produced a remarkable growth spurt in the vines.  Flowering passed off successfully, and thereafter summer was hot and dry, with véraison coming as early as the first week of July on the hill of Hermitage.  Drought was an issue as summer wore on, trimming yields everywhere and causing some sunburn losses in Crozes-Hermitage and elsewhere.  The white harvest began on Hermitage on August 19th, and reds on August 26th; there was some helpful rain on August 28th.  The harvest everywhere in the Northern Rhône was over by mid-September, whereas the Southern Rhône (normally in advance of the North) finished two weeks later.  Quality is good and occasionally very good, with fresher acidity than many growers expected after the summer heat; mitigating factors included the autumn rains, no heat spikes and cooler nights than in recent vintages.    

2019 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar

Winter was cool and dry, and budburst came around 10 days later than in the precocious 2018 season.  Frosts threatened but in the end didn’t materialise in early April, and there was welcome rain in the middle part of the month; a violent gale caused some damage to the upper parts of Hermitage on April 26th, and stormy, cool conditions persisted right through to flowering in early June.  This came to a head with a catastrophic hail storm in the southern half of Crozes-Hermitage on June 15th, destroying around half of the crop.  After this turbulent start to the year, the summer settled down into the hot, dry pattern seen elsewhere; mid-August rains caused some rot in Côte Rôtie, but in general had a welcome effect.  The whites were generally picked in beautiful early September weather (including Vin de Paille at Chapoutier – the first time for 10 years).  A pulse of mid-September heat (up to 30°C) teased the reds on to full ripeness, while cool nights kept acidity fresh.  The quality of both reds and whites looks outstanding, with vivacious acidity as well as richness, a high skin-to-juice ratio and (for the reds) beautifully lignified stems enabling the use of whole-bunch for growers who favour this technique.

2018 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar

A cold February aside, winter and spring were both mild and wet in the Northern Rhône; bud-break came with great warmth at the end of April followed by flowering at the end of May (with storms on May 30th causing some crop loss in Crozes-Hermitage).  Summer was in general hot and sunny, and a heavy storm on August 11th was beneficial to the vines.  Harvest began in late August for the whites, and early September for the reds, in beautifully clear and sunny conditions, and most growers were thrilled with both the quantity and quality of their harvest: a blend of the wealth and richness of 2017 with the vivacity and intensity of 2016.  Condrieu is outstanding.  Both red and white wines look set to age particularly well.

2017 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar First, the good news: the Northern Rhône escaped the depradations of spring frost that caused such trouble elsewhere in France. The bad news, though, was that flowering was erratic, and a very early, very dry season led to reduced yields in any case, with small clusters and berries making for a harvest of concentrated, intense and often high-alcohol wines. Flowering for Viognier in Condrieu was particularly difficult, with crop reductions of up to 50%. After a harvest that was often three weeks earlier than normal, though, producers were in general very happy with quality, particularly for the red wines: rich, relatively low-acid reds. The whites are fat and succulent.
2016 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar A mild winter and warm early spring gave way to cool and wet weather as spring progressed (March was as cold as January this year); hail struck Hermitage in April, cutting yields by two-thirds in some lieux-dits (such as Roucoules).  The cool, wet weather persisted into summer, meaning that flowering was three weeks behind schedule and mildew threatened.  In July, though, the tenor of the season changed with the onset of hot, dry weather; there was no further rain until midway through what proved to be an unusually hot and sunny September.  October was fine, too, meaning a leisurely harvest of well-balanced, fresh and pristine red and white wines. 
2015 Red:

White:
Drink 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/Past peak 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 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 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 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 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/Past peak 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 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 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 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:
Past peak 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
2020 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar Weather conditions in the Southern Rhône duplicated those in the North for much of the 2020 growing season, though there was some additional rain here at the beginning of June.  More moderate heat in July and August than in either 2018 or 2019, plus some blocked maturation in dryer parcels, extended the growing season a little, leading to a ‘classic’ September harvest.  Quality is good in general in a supple, silky, tender style which will drink well soon but age well, too, over the medium term.
2019 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar A cool start to the season and copious April rain was welcomed by growers in this perennially dry region; flowering from late May was languid but largely successful, the Grenache vines avoiding the coulure problems which marked 2015 and 2017.  Most French regions experienced two heat waves in 2019, in June and July, but the Southern Rhône underwent three, with an August heat pulse, too.  The June heatwave was the strongest, with temperatures reaching 42.5°C.  The early-season rain plus cool nights throughout the summer, though, meant that the drought-resistant Grenache came through summer well, and the Southern Rhône was one of the few regions in France to record a larger harvest in 2019 than in 2018.  Whites are succulent and vivacious, and the reds rich yet balanced, their sweet fruits vivified by both structure and freshness.
2018 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar The Southern Rhône in general has an earlier cycle than the Northern Rhône, and the very wet winter and spring conditions (600 mm of rain by mid-June: more than the average annual total) combined with less Mistral wind than usual meant rampant late May mildew attacks. These provided challenging conditions for the Grenache in many vineyards, with Ch de Beaucastel (for example) losing around half its average annual crop and Vieux Donjon 20 per cent. After that early season shock, a warm summer with a well-stocked water table followed by splendid harvest weather meant that growers could take their time and harvest at perfect ripeness. This was vital in the case of the Grenache, since the mildew attacks of early summer meant inconsistent ripening; in general, other varieties fared better and blends may include more Syrah and Mourvèdre than usual. Quality is good for both red and white wines, with low acidity, supple tannins and perfumed, seductive fruits, promising excellent mid-term storage.
2017 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar As in the Northern Rhône, the Southern Rhône escaped major frost damage in late April, though some small parcels with poor air drainage were hit. The early season, though, meant that heavy rain in May caused extensive coulure for the ever-sensitive Grenache, with losses for that variety of between 30% and 60%. Syrah was less badly affected, and Mourvèdre unaffected. The rains finished by early June – and there was almost no further precipitation all season. Conditions at the end of June were very hot (a peak of 41˚C), and meant that véraison was underway by July 7th in Châteauneuf; thereafter the heat of summer eased back to normal levels. Growers report perfect ripening conditions with freshness as well as richness and little drought stress. Quality looks very promising for both white and red wines.
2016 Red:

White:
Drink/Cellar In contrast to conditions in the Northern Rhône, the Southern Rhône enjoyed a trouble-free start to the 2016 growing season, with an early vegetative cycle and warm weather punctuated by useful but not excessive spring showers.  Coulure in the Grenache was less marked than in 2015.  “It was the hottest summer during daytime but the coolest summer during nighttime,” reported one grower of the 2016 vintage, and this steady, even heat mitigated by brisk nights produced an outstanding harvest of generous yet fresh, perfumed and emphatically structured wines.  These conditions suited whites as well as they did reds, and the wines have outstanding cellar potential.
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/Past peak 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/Past peak 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 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 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 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 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:
Past peak 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 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 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 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:
Past peak 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:
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/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.
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.

 

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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
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 11:00

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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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.

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