Harvest Season 2015: Exceptional Harvests for the Rhône Valley
Quantities are back to the 5-year average – and quality is second to none!
After 2013’s historically low harvests and 2014’s sharp upturn, the Rhône Valley’s harvests are now returning to levels consistent with the 5-year average. Although it is still too early to give any concrete figures, initial estimates suggest a fall of 5 to 10% compared to 2014.
First barrel tastings show incredible promise
From the north of the region to the south, initial tastings confirm that we can expect an exceptionally high quality vintage. Reds are showing intense colour, a pleasing amount of fruit and good tannic potential; the wines are beautifully coloured and rich in polyphenols. Françoise Dijon, Head of the Observatoire du vignoble (Wine Monitor) is happy to predict that “we can look forward to flavourful wines with excellent ageing potential.”
Phenolic compound extractability is excellent, as shown by the first Syrahs; these display outstanding intensity of colour and an impressive total phenol index, and are developing an admirable range of fruit flavours. Initial barrel tastings show that the new Grenaches are also intensely coloured, with good tannin levels.
Looking forward to some superb blends
Harvesting has been consistent across all varietals and grapes should be displaying their full range of flavours, making wines with good aging potential. The vineyards withstood three spells of heavy rain in September, with no ill effects on vine health. “The grapes had particularly thick skins, and this served to protect the berries,” explains Françoise Dijon.
Good vine health coupled with fine weather towards the end of September encouraged the fruit to ripen well, and grapes were picked at their peak. Françoise Dijon again: “This means we can look forward to some outstanding blends – it’s going to be very exciting!”
With volumes now back to normal again, this has been one of the best harvests in recent years; red wines are showing an incredible level of potential.