Red Rhone 1996: Drink now
Leathery, mineral wines, some lack proper flesh. Good aromas. Difficult ripening the problem. The wines are sound but may not be long-lived.
In the north, after a successful flowering in June, the summer was cool and quite wet. September was sunny and the grapes were picked in good conditions. The weather pattern was similar in the south, but the Mistral kept rot damage to acceptable levels, although conscientious growers selected rigorously despite sunny conditions during the harvest.
Northern Rhone: reds were a touch gawky, with high acidity and some lack of typicity, which may be the consequence of very high yields as well as the weather. Southern Rhone: the wines are sound but may not be long-lived.
Fine Hermitage from Chapoutier, Domaine du Colombier, Delas, Bernard Faurie, Alain Graillot, Grippat, Jaboulet and Marc Sorrel. A good vintage in St Joseph for Chave, Colombo, Coursodon, Yves Cuilleron, Andre Perret, and Vernay.