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Sunday 20 April 2014

Rhône reaps benefits of Med climate

26th November, 2013 by Rupert Millar

With the harvest complete in the Rhône Valley, Inter-Rhône has declared that 2013 was, “quite simply, a really good year”, with yields and alcohol levels down.

Hermitage 3For Michel Chapoutier, president of the Union des Maisons de Négoce: “Once again, the Mediterranean Arc countries are reaping the benefits of a favourable climate.”

In common with most regions in France, 2013 presented producers in the southern French region with a late harvest and low volume (though they were not quite as dramatically reduced in the Rhône compared to Burgundy).

Nonetheless, quality has stayed high. “Quality is just as we’d hoped,” the President of Inter-Rhône, Christian Paly said.

“How could we claim otherwise? Our only regret is that we can’t say the same for quantity. The unpredictable weather has caused a major reduction in volume, making 2013 one of the smaller harvests.”

Although the vintage was three weeks later than the recent average, with harvests beginning in late October, it was in fact a return to the harvest dates of the 1970s – with sugar levels also reduced the vintage is unlikely to be as alcoholic as some previous ones.

“I’m re-living my youth”, said Alain Aubert of Domaine du Grand Retour in the Côtes du Rhône. “For me, it’s a good vintage, although we’ve needed to exercise our patience in the winery too, as fermentation has been taking a long time.”

Whites, rosés and sweet wines are also expected to be good quality this year.

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