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A vintage without precedent, producing wines with exceptional levels of ripeness, concentrations of flavours and at their best, a certain majesty.
Spring was wet with tropical-like conditions towards the end, bringing both heat and incessant rain. The north coped well; the south, used to the Mistral blowing rain clouds away, far less so. Treating against moulds was complicated and as a result crop loss became an important factor, especially for the sensitive grenache grape.
And then, quite suddenly, the rain stopped. Blue skies returned and temperatures rocketed. Summer remained hot and dry throughout with several days of especially high temperatures. With so much water in the ground, there was little stress. The vines thrived and the crop raced towards perfect ripeness. In the end, this was a vintage that once again showed the importance of terroir. It was also a vintage that showed up human frailties in the face of a widely different and unpredictable climate.
What came out of it at the end was in many cases quite miraculous, and for members looking for a variety of wines to enjoy for years to come, we include eight mixed cases priced from just £90.
Region by region
The northern syrahs are astonishing. They are big, often voluptuous wines, with bags of black, ripe, rich fruit. For me it’s a year for Cornas and Saint-Joseph. These wines, above all have an ideal balance while Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie are on a truly epic scale. The mainstay of the north is Crozes-Hermitage and the 2018s are quite delicious with oodles of soft, deeply coloured, ripe-tasting fruit.
In general, the south produced lots of wines that will be very attractive when young. The bad weather occurred early in the growing cycle, so while it reduced the size of the crop, actual quality was not affected. Balance was another issue and not always easy to achieve when grenache, the key grape variety, was often missing.
But the south is more than just grenache. Both syrah and mourvèdre thrived. Hillside sites in Vinsobres and Gigondas always enjoy breezes that mitigate against oppressive heat. I have tasted several hundred 2018s from the south and I’ve enjoyed most of them. It’s the abundance of ripe-fruit flavours that does it for me and I’m sure they are going to be universally liked.
The 2018 whites are exuberant and fleshy with no lack of fruit. The key was not to pick too late. Lovers of ripe-tasting viognier are in for a treat.
Order by Tuesday 18th February, 2020
Orders will be then be entered into an allocation system and confirmations of successful orders will be sent out by mid March.
UK delivery in autumn 2020 for the whites and spring 2021 for the reds
Once the wines arrive, members may opt to have them delivered within the UK or stored in Members’ Reserves.