A big vintage of classic wines
This was the impossible dream – an ‘Excelente’ vintage with what was (then – superseded in 1996 and again in 1997 and 1998) the biggest harvest of all time (albeit after a three-year drought), and the second 5-star year in a row. The late autumn and winter of 1994/95 were mild and comfortable, and the vines were showing signs of life by the end of January, with bud-burst at the beginning of March. There were frosts in the second half of April, affecting mainly the area around Najerilla in Rioja Alta, some parts of Rioja Alavesa and quite
substantially in Rioja Baja. However, the residual water in the subsoil, combined with very much better temperatures in May, allowed for a second budding which saved the day, and the more mature vineyards recovered all their losses in the highlands. Rioja Baja, having suffered badly during three years of drought, did not recover as well.
There was a late flowering at the end of May/beginning of June in Alta and Alavesa and by the end of June the grapes were setting well. The summer provided well-spaced rains, high daytime temperatures and cool nights which allowed the grapes to develop very well. The vintage was early – picking started in Rioja Baja at the end of August and in the Alta and Alavesa around the 26th September, finishing by the 27th October, and production was 30% up on 1994.