Skip to main content

To visit our site, you must be old enough to consume alcohol according to the local legislation.

L'abus d'alcool est dangereux pour la santé, consommez avec modération.

2016 came together so well in the Rhône Valley, it puts other regions to shame.

The perfect winter, with mild temperatures sometimes verging on cold, was followed by the perfect spring - frost-free and with enough beneficial rains to build up water reserves as needed. Then came a very hot summer, just as predicted.

Outstanding both in quality and quantity

Winter was particularly mild this year, although the sun rarely showed its face. Cool temperatures at the beginning of spring slowed down vine development, and rainfall has been regular if not copious, promoting good leaf growth.
After a very dry summer, September's beneficial rains resulted in fresher grapes at harvest time. The effects of the Mistral coupled with cool ambient temperatures made for perfect harvesting conditions, and grape health remained excellent. Denis Alary, co-president of the Cairanne appellation expresses his enthusiasm: "Harvesting has been a pleasure this year,” he says, “and we've brought in some superb grapes.”

Marie-Thérèze Combe, co-chair of the Vacqueyras appellation, is no less upbeat. “Our grapes have thick skins and a fruity pulp, while pips are beautifully crisp. The berries are small but plentiful and highly concentrated. Vinification will be an exciting time!

One of the key features of 2016 is the way in which ripeness and concentration have developed side by side, giving good levels of acidity. Concentration helps to preserve acidity, which in turn gives the wine greater aging potential.

“Acidity levels are excellent, and wines are showing an unrivalled capacity to age and develop. We haven't seen anything like this for 35 years!" says Alain Aubert, President of Côtes du Rhône Villages.

From an analytical point of view, colour intensity and TPI (total polyphenol index) are exceptionally high.

A dream summer for the southern varietals

This year's superb weather conditions meant that all varieties could be harvested at their best. Syrah and Grenache are excellent, while later varieties such as Mourvèdre and Carignan show remarkable concentration. The Rhône Valley varietals are particularly well-suited to the region's dry, windy conditions, and this year has given them the chance to develop their full potential.

In the southern part of the region, winegrowers and négociants are thrilled to see reds achieve a rare intensity of colour and whites display an array of stunning flavours. Even now, Rhône Valley Crus are rich, with admirable texture and good concentration.

Thomas Giubbi, co-president of the Lirac and Tavel appellations tells us that, “In the Gard, Syrahs are high in quality with the supple tannic structure needed to support high levels of extraction. Grenaches have reached an excellent level of phenolic ripeness and are full of intense colour and flavour, adding body and a touch of sweetness to our blends alongside good depth of flavour - especially in Tavel.

The Mourvèdres are stunning, expressing their full potential along with a fairly intense note of spice. 2015 was superb - but 2016 is perfect!”. 

"The 2016 vintage is very promising, with good balance in the reds as well as the whites. It is rare to see a vintage with such superb minerality and so much freshness!” says Julie Paolucci, co-chair of the Rasteau appellation.
Further north, ideal weather conditions at the start of autumn meant good ripening and high concentrations of sugar; meanwhile cool temperatures helped to preserve acidity. "This highly unusual vintage has made us look again at our normal practices; but ultimately it has given us a great feeling of satisfaction to be able to produce a great range of wines!” says Marcel Guigal.

Xavier Gomart, Director of the Tain l'Hermitage Cooperative Winery is equally enthusiastic. “This has come as a wonderful surprise! Our growers have managed the vineyards beautifully, and now it's all systems go. This vintage is set to be absolutely delightful; things are looking very favourable particularly for the whites, testament to the technical progress we’ve been making to help us look beyond terroir.”

Moving away from the Côtes du Rhône and Rhône Crus, wine professionals in other Rhône Valley appellations (Côtes du Vivarais, Clairette de Bellegarde, Costières de Nîmes, Grignan-les-Adhémar, Luberon and Ventoux), are also full of optimism: "2016 is the most balanced vintage I have ever known. In Luberon, the reds are likely to be very good indeed. Their colour, texture and concentration lead us to expect great things!" says Jean-Louis Piton, co-president of the Luberon appellation.

Meanwhile Henri Bour, co-president of Grignan-les-Adhémar explains that, "Even though the summer was dry enough to cause concern, the vines have produced far more fruit than we anticipated. Viognier and Syrah, our top two varieties, have been particularly generous. The wines they produce will be high in quality with good freshness and plenty of colour - a harmonious, fruit-driven vintage".

"This is the vintage of our dreams. Acidity levels are a key feature – I’ve never seen anything like it! The balance of acidity to sweetness is almost perfect, we’ve really surpassed ourselves. Tannins are elegant, and there is plenty of colour. This year’s wines are set to be fine, ethereal and beautifully balanced. This is most definitely not your standard vintage," says Samuel Montgermont, co-president of the Ventoux, Duché d’Uzès and Cairanne appellations.

Finally, Michel Gassier, co-president of the Costières de Nîmes appellation is also more than satisfied with this vintage. "2016’s weather has been particularly favourable to vine growth, giving us a vintage which I believe will go down in history. The whites are already showing complex aromas, an unctuous mouthfeel and impressive, fruit-driven persistence. Reds are highly concentrated with good depth of colour, plenty of body and an elegant vein of tannin".
In terms of volume, the Rhône vineyards should see a slightly larger harvest in 2016 than in 2015, although still well within the fifteen year average.

But for now, even though the Rhône winemakers recognise how lucky they are to have such an abundant harvest, it is still an emotional moment: they realise they have before them one of the best raw materials it has ever been their privilege to work with.

Discover our grape varieties

Rhone wines derive their style, richness and originality from the diversity of the region's grape varieties. Learn all about them…

Discover our appellations

Find out about the Rhone vineyards : terroirs, soils, climate, grape varieties and, of course, flavours… as if you were visiting in person.