Wednesday, 11 November 2015

2014 – A Rhône Insiders’ Vintage

2014 was certainly an unusual vintage. The growing season started extremely well with a lovely warm Spring and such little rain that growers started to worry about vine stress. That all changed in June and July. A cool, wet summer slowed ripening right down and brought increased risk of disease. Just when all looked doom and gloom, the weather took another about-turn. They say that September ‘makes’ a vintage and the weather conditions in September could not have been better. High temperatures and dry weather enabled the grapes to reach full maturity and dried out the vineyards. So while the erratic weather conditions necessitated lots of effort and plenty of man hours in the vines, where this effort was put in, there was the potential for excellent wine to be made.

“2014 is distinctive for a freshness, minerality and texture which simply aren’t there in sunnier vintages.” Michel Chapoutier

Overall, the 2014s can be described as wines ripened by light rather than heat. These are not big or particularly powerful wines but instead display clarity, freshness and precision with lovely aromatics and purity of fruit. Many have a bright crocquant acidity leaving them brisk and lifted, with good typicity and terroir characteristics that will be much appreciated by Rhône lovers.

During this year’s London tastings of his 2014 vintage Michel Chapoutier commented, ‘I really believe that St Joseph has amazing potential because it has some of the best soils’. This echoed my experience in the northern Rhone this summer and the 2014 Saint Josephs were a particular highlight for me, showing beautiful aromatics and impressive finesse I’d also urge you to take a look at the wines of Ferraton Père & fils where we had an especially good tasting this year and as a result, we’ve significantly expanded our offer from them.

Finally, it’s difficult to make comparisons with other years because 2014 was such an atypical vintage.But they remind me of 2006 and, like the ‘06s, whilst they will never be blockbusters, those who buy and cellar them will likely enjoy them very much indeed. This is a Rhone-insiders’ vintage rather than one that will score massive points from all the critics. But it’s none the worse for that!

If you would like to view our Full 2014 offering please follow this link;

by Matthew Hemming MW

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