Growers throughout the region are calling 2009 a winner. While heat – particularly in the south – drove yields down and sugar levels up, rain during harvest helped balance the sugar and ensure decent acidity. Word has it that it will be a particularly strong year for the pepperpot Mourvedre. Up north, the Syrahs of Cornas, Côte Rotie and Hermitage promise complexity and structure.
‘We took nearly a whole month – from 1 – 28 September – to harvest,’ said Jean-Paul Versino of Bois du Boursan, who has 27 parcels across 16 hectares in Chateauneuf du Pape.
‘This was necessary in order to ensure maturity and freshness. Yields were low, but the quality is very high, with good, round tannins and luscious fruit. So far, the vintage reminds me a bit of 2005 and 2000.’
Conditions from October to March 2008 were considered normal, giving way to a somewhat humid and hot spring – in both the north and south. Flowering took only about two weeks, and was also week early. Both the north and the south baked in the summer sun, with 20 very hot days in July (the norm is 14) ensuring an early harvest. While rain was scarce, there was enough groundwater from the previous winter rainfall to keep the vines from drying out.
Harvest on both Côtes began on 25 August du Rhône, while picking of Syrah in the north began on 1 September.
Production figures will be made available shortly.