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    Provence Vintage Chart

    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

    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

    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 00:00

    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: October 2nd 2019

    Loire Valley Vintage Chart

    Vintage Quality Drink Comments
    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/Cellar 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 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 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.

     

    Quality Poor Poor
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    Excellent Excellent
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    Exceptional
    Exceptional
    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.

    LEARN MORE ABOUT LOIRE VALLEY WINES:

    Back to French Vintage Chart

     

    • Alsace

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      Sep 13 - Sep 18, 2020

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      Oct 11 - Oct 16, 2020

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    Published in Vintage Charts
    Tuesday, 27 May 2014 00:00

    Provence 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: October 2nd 2019

    Provence Vintage Chart

    Vintage Quality Drink Comments
    2018 Drink/cellar reds Provence, like the Southern Rhône, suffered from acute mildew pressure due to warm, almost tropical conditions with much less Mistral than usual in the first half of the year, and this led to heterogenous ripening in many parcels. There were also three hail episodes in the Var on June 24th, August 5th and August 14th which caused local damage to around 500 ha of vines. As elsewhere in France, though, harvest conditions (from mid-August in Provence) were ideal, and for those who were able to overcome the mildew challenge quality was good. Quantities, by contrast, were lower than usual again this year, meaning that Provence rosé was, during the 2019 sales period, in relatively short supply.
    2017 Drink/cellar reds Provence, like the Rhône valley, generally escaped the frost problems which affected so much of France -- though a small area in the Var suffered, mostly planted with IGP fruit. It was, however, the third year of summer drought in Provence, and this meant small berries, small bunches and reduced yields; the harvest was 18% down on 2016.  The early season and bright, hot summer also meant an extraordinarily early vintage, beginning in Pierrefeu on August 11th, and everywhere at least two weeks ahead of the previous average for warm or hot years. Tempier in Bandol began on August 22nd and finished on September 12th. Gowers were very pleased with the quality, suggesting that the Mistral had been critical in ensuring freshness in the fruit, and that 2016-2017 winter rains had also kept the vines healthy during the long, hot summer.
    2016 Drink/cellar reds The wet spring which characterised many French wine regions in 2016 eluded Provence as it did Languedoc, and apart from a minor frost on April 29th the main growing-season challenge was drought: less than 200 mm of rain throughout the entire season in Bandol, for example, and an almost completely rainless summer in Bellet.  The result was a shortfall of 10 to 30 per cent depending on  zone, and very small berries which were not always ideal for rosé production where ‘juiciness’ is a desideratum.  The quality of both white and (especially) red wines, though, was high since the summer heat was tempered by cool nights and the grapes retained fresh acidity, while the lowered yields provided impressive concentration of flavour.
    2015 Drink After a very wet winter for the second year running, spring was warm and dry and bud break took place earlier than usual.  Flowering went well, and summer was generally warm but without excessive heat; rain around June 15th was helpful.  The conditions of steady, tempered heat continued throughout August, and the rosé harvest began at the end of that month under clear skies, with grapes for white and red wines generally picked in the first half of September.  Quantities are slightly lower than in 2015 but quality is exceptional; Bandol reds are outstanding.
    2014 Drink Winter was wetter than average, especially in January and February, and there were further episodes of rain in March and May.  Summer was cooler than usual with occasional further storms and hail episodes around Mont Sainte-Victoire and in Coteaux Varois.  The weather cleared at the end of August, and September was the warmest month of the summer, though from mid-September the Mistral gave way to an easterly wind which saw the return of humid conditions.  September 19th brought violent storms and hail in Bandol, though many growers had picked by then.  Quality was better than growers had feared, with fresh, lively whites and rosés and poised, mid-weight reds.
    2013 Drink After a long, cool and slow spring, the entire growing season (bud break, flowering, véraison and harvest) was about two weeks later than usual.  There were hail storms in the Var in June, but the disease pressure of early summer gradually abated thanks to the Mistral as September approached.  It was a good vintage for those who long for delicacy and freshness in white and rosé wines, but the reds are light to mid-weight and, generally  speaking, not for long storage.
    2012 Drink 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 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 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 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/Past peak 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 Past peak 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 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 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 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

    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.

    LEARN MORE ABOUT PROVENCE WINES:

    Back to French Vintage Chart

     

     

    Published in Vintage Charts

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