Early small harvest of healthy grapes with thick skins. Rain in late September, but North avoided the disastrous storms in the South. While the 2018 growing season in France's Rhône Valley had some travails, vintners are happy with the quality of the harvest. The bad news, though, was that flowering was erratic, and a very early, very dry season led to reduced yields in any case, with small clusters and berries making for a harvest of concentrated, intense and often high-alcohol wines. Huge ageing potential. Lower volumes. A mild winter and warm early spring gave way to cool and wet weather as spring progressed (March was as cold as January this year); hail struck Hermitage in April, cutting yields by two-thirds in some lieux-dits (such as Roucoules). Fully mature reds, alcohols equal to more flamboyant ‘07s, yet wines appear fresh, well-defined & balanced. Unusually warm, dry winter & early budburst. High sugars, sound pH & acidity; a few wines short of complete phenolic maturity. Spring was warm and precocious and flowering went well, setting a large crop. Sound mature grapes of moderate substance delivering elegant reds. {"api":{"host":"https:\/\/pinot.decanter.com","authorization":"Bearer YmYyYjVmMDU3NDRhYmRiNzNjNGFkZjk2MTY0MjU2NTAzNzg2Y2M1NGNkYzk3YzExZTRjMmY3MmQ1MGIwNTQ0Zg","version":"2.0"},"piano":{"sandbox":"false","aid":"6qv8OniKQO","rid":"RJXC8OC","offerId":"OFPHMJWYB8UK","offerTemplateId":"OFPHMJWYB8UK","wcTemplateId":"OTOW5EUWVZ4B"}}, {"location":"Keystone Header","subscribeText":"Subscribe Now","version":"2","menuWidgetTitle":"","myAccountLnk":"\/wine-reviews\/account","premiumLnk":"\/subscribe","menuLnks":{"2":{"text":"My Wines","href":"\/wine-reviews\/my-wines"}},"colors":{"text":"#ffffff","button":"#decc8f","link":"#ffffff"}}, Top five Northern Rhône vintages ready to drink now, Top five Southern Rhône vintages ready to drink now, Best value Northern Rhône 2018 - Top buys, Southern Rhône 2018 report: The top scorers, Northern Rhône 2018 report: The top scorers, Southern Rhône 2017 report: 'Structured and ageworthy wines', Northern Rhône 2017 report: 'A vintage for the cellar', Mature Rhône from the cellar for Christmas, Top Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016 wines for the cellar, Northern Rhône 2016: Full report and wines to look for, Southern Rhône 2016: ‘Unmissable’ wines and full report, Wine Legend: Jaboulet, La Chapelle Hermitage, 1961, Southern Rhône 2015: Côtes du Rhône Crus and more – part two, Southern Rhône 2015: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and Vacqueyras – part one, Stolen Côte Rotie wine found in hidden cellar. August into autumn was particularly hot & dry. Cold and wet in late June & July, dry August, mixed September. Very high sugars, especially inGrenache. Both winter and spring were wet, but by June the clouds had gone and there was no more rain until mid-August. Largely dry summer with cooler periods. Mourvèdre struggled to ripen. In July, though, the tenor of the season changed with the onset of hot, dry weather; there was no further rain until midway through what proved to be an unusually hot and sunny September. Plus, when to drink the wines. Some locales experienced heat & water stress, reducing yields. The most highly rated wines from this vintage... Find out where to look in the Northern Rhône 2016 vintage.. A vintage 'not to miss' says Matt Walls... See the top wines and read our overview... A cache of stolen Côte Rotie wines has been discovered in a hidden cellar only a little further down the river Rhône after a year-long search.

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