SOUTHERN RHONE VINTAGE GUIDE
Click on each vintage to see what we currently have in stock on our main website:
2017 – A vintage that despite low yields may have produced the best of both worlds: wines with relatively early drinkability and surprising freshness but also with marked concentration and good aging potential. The 2017 vintage is a lesson of quality but not quantity, as yields were down up to 70 percent across the region (Gigondas was especially hard hit, with reports of 25% crop loss). Heavy spring rains during the vines’ flowering period resulted in shatter, especially for Grenache, so the blend of many cuvées had to be altered to make up for the lack of Grenache (expect more Syrah as well as Clairette Blanche). Low yields and drought conditions led to a vintage with small but beautifully formed berries that produced wines of very good concentration.
2016 - A remarkable vintage that will rank among the all time greats in the region. A bit less structured than 2010s, but a bit more focused than the 2007s, it borrows some of the most attractive elements of great Châteauneuf vintages and will produce some thrilling wines to follow over the years. This quality can also be clearly seen in regions outside of Châteauneuf, with many stellar selections from Gigondas, Vacqueyras, and beyond.
2015 - A terrific vintage that will thrill Southern Rhone fans of all stripes. The appellations saw great quality across the board and even the whites are some of the region’s best. A bit more cool and less concentrated than 2010 or 2007 for example, it is still a vintage that is quick to draw comparisons with the best of the Southern Rhone.
2014 - An easygoing vintage of wines that will be enjoyable in the near-term, 2014 wasn’t without its challenges. Often paired with its predecessor 2013 in that they’re both cooler vintages, this is a vintage that will be one that will reward a sharp eye for value where it can be found in some of the top producers or cuvees that saw top sites and luxury cuvees declassified into the entry-level wines.
2013 - Very low yields produced some compelling wines, but it was another challenging vintage for Chateauneuf and the surrounding areas. Where the 2014s are more attractive at this stage, the 2013s have more stuffing and ability to age. A lot of comparisons are to classic 80s vintages, or the charming 2008s with a bit more concentration. The whites, however, are very strong.
2012 - A very solid, beautiful vintage for the Southern Rhone. It does not reach the heights of the elite vintages insofar as concentration or top wines, but the quality across the board well surpasses its surrounding vintages and there are many ageworthy and rewarding wines to be found. It is not a vintage of extremes, but the overall quality is attuned to a high level and the best examples are stunning.
2011 - Fresh, lively wines with early accessibility. In the shadows of the tremendous 2010s, these are instead refreshing wines that drink well young and have an admirable focus and verve. Those that enjoy the style will find a ton of great value and wines that can be enjoyed without a long decant or too much planning/cellaring.
2010 - Wines of incredible quality and caliber, they are superlative examples of how a great vintage in the Southern Rhone is not just built on concentration and ripeness, but also structure and acidity. These wines have a ton of stuffing and the quality across the board from varietals to communes is equally exciting. A reference-point vintage if there ever was one, 2010s will long go down as some of the greatest wines to ever come out of the region. They’ll require some time in the cellar and/or a long decant.
2009 - A vintage that quietly showed its true mettle after a few years, it balances a big, ripe characteristic with poise and potential. The wines at the higher end often approach the best of some great vintages and there are plenty of gems to be found throughout different price-points. Often found at fault for not being up to the region’s epic vintages, it is one full of sleepers that have terrific upside.
2008 - As it often happens, 2008s got lost in the shuffle with the massive 2007s looming over them. For those that don’t want to have to cellar forever or spend a premium for back vintages, the wines are on a quick maturity track that has often found admiration from folks who appreciate that in their Chateauneuf.
2007 - A very controversial vintage, but one that is often considered among the best modern vintages for those who love the full throttled, ripe side of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. The top wines in the vintage are undeniably special and will be fascinating to follow for decades as they have been a point of comparison for everything to follow.