Some locales experienced heat & water stress, reducing yields. October was fine, too, meaning a leisurely harvest of well-balanced, fresh and pristine red and white wines. June heat wave continued into July, with hailstorms. There are some good though atypical red wines due to an emphasis on Syrah and Mourvèdre and lighter-than-usual alcohol levels. Best reds showed intensity, reserve & tannic structure for long cellaring. Cooler, windy late September. Finesse and elegance, but with nuance and subtlety - a charming 'gourmand' vintage. Rot a serious challenge in some zones (e.g., Côte-Rôtie). He is also updating information for the vintages prior to 2013. Find ratings for recent vintages in France’s Southern Rhône, summing up the quality and character of the reds and whites, including Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and more. In Brief: Rhone 2018 En Primeur Northern Rhône 2018 4/5 Very hot and dry, resulting in a plentiful ripe crop. Syrah particularly successful. Classic vintage, with even lesser sites producing stylish, harmonious wines. Rhône Rhône (North) (South) THE WINE SOCIETY 1874 VINTAGE CHART 2018 wINES Burgundy Alsace Germany KEY YEAR Sauternes (Côte d'0r) Chablis 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 = very poor = poor = unexciting = sound Whites offer intensity, substance & unusual tension. Mourvèdre struggled to ripen. Precocious flowering & véraison (up to 3 weeks early). First, the good news: the Northern Rhône escaped the depradations of spring frost that caused such trouble elsewhere in France. 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%. The most highly rated wines from this vintage... Find out where to look in the Northern Rhône 2016 vintage.. A vintage 'not to miss' says Matt Walls... See the top wines and read our overview... A cache of stolen Côte Rotie wines has been discovered in a hidden cellar only a little further down the river Rhône after a year-long search. Vintage Quality Drink Comments; 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. We hope our more than 800 tasting notes will be useful for anyone considering buying these wines en primeur. A year of high temperatures & low rainfall. Very wet spring compromised flowering, reduced crop. Cool, dry spring, very low temperatures for flowering caused coulure, millerandage. 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. Many Châteauneuf will develop further. Huge ageing potential. These conditions suited whites as well as they did reds, and the wines have outstanding cellar potential. Resemble ’83 or ’78 at best; some are over ripe. Some concentration and power in wines from the north but a poor vintage for Southern Rhône. These conditions produced fine white wines: concentrated, fresh and aromatic. Optimal season producing concentrated, structured wines with ripe tannins for long cellaring. Flowering for Viognier in Condrieu was particularly difficult, with crop reductions of up to 50%. For early drinking. Many reds will gain with cellaring; most concentrated ones are reticent now. Minimum alcohol level dropped for many red AOCs. Gigondas, Rasteau are attractive. Excellent weather extended harvest into early October. Summer was in general hot and sunny, and a heavy storm on August 11th was beneficial to the vines. The rains finished by early June – and there was almost no further precipitation all season. Variable levels of maturity often required several tries to pick ripe fruit. Water stress disturbed maturation of some sites; deep-rooted old vines handled conditions best. Fully mature reds, alcohols equal to more flamboyant ‘07s, yet wines appear fresh, well-defined & balanced. Superb Hermitage, Saint-Joseph. Early, rapid flowering. Significant reductions in Grenache crop due to poor flowering. Northern Rhône: 1985, 1983, 1978, 1970, 1961 Southern Rhône: 1985, 1983, 1981, 1978, 1967 ... 2018 VINTAGE CHART Download the 2017 Vintage Chart at United States Some are past peak, now taste “cooked.” Gigondas from cooler sites has aged better. Healthy harvest of mature reds, some with lower acidities, more forward than ’05. Favorable spring, hot June with very early flowering. 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. Sorting also key to outcomes. Flowering spoiled by rain, coulure reduced crop substantially. Deeply colored, concentrated, potent top reds with “baked” aspect, imposing tannins. Not a vintage for the long term. Ideal final stretch for maturation, without extremes. Châteauneuf & Gigondas are stars of vintage. Excellent whites. Good weather, healthy vineyards Although the 2018 … Continued It was a splendid summer, with the Northern Rhône actually hotter than the Southern Rhône for most of July; August brought cooler nights. Sound mature grapes of moderate substance delivering elegant reds. Memorable Gigondas, red & white Châteauneuf. Many wines with low acidity and potent alcohol, but those that could achieve balance made impressive wines. Those who waited for full ripening have created fresh, mineral, balanced wines for early drinking. Château Rayas had particular cause to obscure its famously hidden sign (pictured) this year because it isn't releasing any wines from the vintage. Generally high yields. Ripe, perfumed, fleshy whites to enjoy early as a rule. Chunky wines with high but ripe tannins meant for laying down. Plus, when to drink the wines. {"api":{"host":"https:\/\/","authorization":"Bearer YmYyYjVmMDU3NDRhYmRiNzNjNGFkZjk2MTY0MjU2NTAzNzg2Y2M1NGNkYzk3YzExZTRjMmY3MmQ1MGIwNTQ0Zg","version":"2.0"},"piano":{"sandbox":"false","aid":"6qv8OniKQO","rid":"RJXC8OC","offerId":"OFPHMJWYB8UK","offerTemplateId":"OFPHMJWYB8UK","wcTemplateId":"OTOW5EUWVZ4B"}}, {"location":"Keystone Header","subscribeText":"Subscribe Now","version":"2","menuWidgetTitle":"","myAccountLnk":"\/wine-reviews\/account","premiumLnk":"\/subscribe","menuLnks":{"2":{"text":"My Wines","href":"\/wine-reviews\/my-wines"}},"colors":{"text":"#ffffff","button":"#decc8f","link":"#ffffff"}}, Top five Northern Rhône vintages ready to drink now, Top five Southern Rhône vintages ready to drink now, Best value Northern Rhône 2018 - Top buys, Southern Rhône 2018 report: The top scorers, Northern Rhône 2018 report: The top scorers, Southern Rhône 2017 report: 'Structured and ageworthy wines', Northern Rhône 2017 report: 'A vintage for the cellar', Mature Rhône from the cellar for Christmas, Top Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016 wines for the cellar, Northern Rhône 2016: Full report and wines to look for, Southern Rhône 2016: ‘Unmissable’ wines and full report, Wine Legend: Jaboulet, La Chapelle Hermitage, 1961, Southern Rhône 2015: Côtes du Rhône Crus and more – part two, Southern Rhône 2015: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and Vacqueyras – part one, Stolen Côte Rotie wine found in hidden cellar. Record temperature of 109° F at Orange. See also this 2013 article about the difficulty of visiting Château Rayas that we republished on 21 November 2019.

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