Rhone (North) - 2009
Quite simply, 2009 is the greatest vintage in a long time with the kind of profile that will beckon comparison with 1990. It came as a result of heat and drought. Only 131mm of rain had fallen on Hermitage between April and September. Importantly though, there had been sufficient rain over the winter so water reserves below ground never dried up. While there were hot days in July and August, the heat was not unrelenting and the nights stayed cool. The fine weather stayed till the end of the harvest so again conditions were ideal. What became evident was that while the crop seemed generous, the berries were small, thick skinned and had little juice so that yields were often quite low.
For the money, there is much to be said for Cornas which produced wines of real majesty in 2009; likewise Saint-Joseph. Crozes-Hermitage performed fantastically. The style at every level is one of ripe fruit, intense and generous flavours.