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An Early Look At The Northern Rhône

Photo by: David Yellen

Posted: Sep 8, 2006 10:32am ET

The northern Rhône is gearing up for harvest as well, and it seems the area also has outstanding potential in 2006. Here are some early comments from some of the region's top vignerons and domaines...

Nicolas Jaboulet, Paul Jaboulet Aîné

After a spectacular month of July, very warm and nice, August was fresher and less sunny. Now the wind is back, and it looks like the nice weather and the sun are just coming back. So far we estimate the beginning of the harvest around the 16th of September, which means five days delayed compared to 2005.

Paul Amsellem, Domaine Georges Vernay

We made a walk through all the vineyards in Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie last weekend [with Christine Vernay] and we are crossing our fingers, because it looks great.

July was very hot, but August was cooler with good rains, not too much but more than usual. Maturity and acidity are very good in both appellations. If it still goes on like that, it should be a very, very good vintage. Leaves are green like never before.

The next seven days, the temperatures will be hot, around 27° and 30° (81°F to 86°F), which is more than usual at this time. We are expected to harvest around the 20th of September and hope the weather will be fine until this moment.

Erin Cannon-Chave, Domaine J.-L. Chave

So far, the season has been really great. We had rain at the right time at the end of flowering, unusually hot and dry [weather] during late June and all of July, and rain when it was needed in August. And for the past few days, gorgeous, sunny, high 70s to low 80s! So now all we need is for it to continue! We should start [picking] sometime around the 21st....but we'll keep our eyes skyward!

François Villard

I think the harvest can begin around the 20th of September in Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie, maybe a little bit earlier. The vintage seems good because the weather was dry and hot in the beginning of July, but we had a little rain; it was a good thing.

August wasn't very hot, a little lower than the average, but the [grape] maturities go up well. It can be a very good vintage, but we need two sunny weeks. The Syrah grapes are already very colored.

René Rostaing

We had a very hot and dry July, which made it possible for the vines to mature well and to be in excellent health.

The beginning of August had less sunshine, and in the second half, it became rather cold with some rain. However the vines' health remains good, and everything waits now. We can make a very good vintage if we have heat and very little rain.

At this moment the weather is very nice, and we have all the hopes...

Steven Haught
Oklahoma City, OK USA —  September 10, 2006 10:55am ET
My wife and I enjoy reading your evaluations of Rhone wines and are planning a trip to visit the wineries. When will the 2005 vintage, particularly the CDP, be released?
James Molesworth
September 11, 2006 9:27am ET
Steven: Look for '05 CdPs to be released this time next year. The '04s are hitting shelves now...
Raul Mena Md
Glendale ,California —  November 19, 2006 12:50am ET
What did you think of Chapoutier 2005 Hermitages and Cote Rotie wines?
James Molesworth
November 20, 2006 9:10am ET
Raul: My early look at the '05s will be provided in a web package slated to appear the week after Thanksgiving...

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