Yet another great vintage? That makes it five in a row for the Rhône and this could, possibly, be the best of the lot! After two vintages where quality has been good, but quantity low, it seems 2019 has shone on both counts, with an excellent yield of top quality fruit for much of the region. Following on from a very hot 2018, the 2019 summer was only marginally cooler, registering as the third hottest of the century (behind 2018 and 2003). However nights were cool and there were late August showers, along with a cooling Mistral in September. This has produced healthy bunches with perfect berries, and a great balance to the wines with alcohol and acidity all being there in just the right amounts. The reds are full of ripe black, blue and red fruits with an edge of power; these are not powerhouses though and they already show a sense of approachability. There is also plenty of spice to be found. Many growers are comparing 2019 to the outstanding 2009, saying freshness is the key and the wines have wonderful promise, despite the heatwave!
The start of the 2019 season was both mild and wet, which was useful for replenishing the water table reserves. After April the growing season went on to be both hot and dry. The exception here was an extraordinary hail storm on the 15th June that lasted just 15-20 minutes and decimated vineyards throughout Crozes-Hermitage. The ferocious storm showered vineyards with hail as large as tennis balls and saw winds of up to 100 kph. Some growers lost up to 100% of fruit in certain vineyards, though around 50% seems to be more usual – for all involved this was a rare and unprecedented natural weather event.
Beyond this, the weather conditions around the region were much more stable and largely similar north to south. A dry, hot summer with cool nights has led on to late August showers at just the right time to ensure freshness and a healthy crop. The Perrin family predicted a precocious harvest at the beginning of the season, yet it proved to be only slightly earlier than usual.