The 2016 vintage is widely considered to be truly great – in the southern Rhône. In the northern Rhône, the weather wasn’t quite so clement. Much of spring was cool and damp. Thankfully, a warm, dry summer followed, leading to an unhurried harvest. The result is a classic vintage in the very best sense: the wines will be delicious and approachable relatively early, with a good sense of freshness and balance. What impressed me most of all was their consistency.
It’s hard to say that 2016 is a better vintage than 2015 just from this tasting – they weren’t the same wines after all – but among these 2015s I saw some of the shortcomings of what is considered to be an exceptional vintage in the northern Rhône. It was a very hot growing season, and though some of the wines are impressively concentrated, others displayed overripe flavours, high alcohol or low acidity. Both 2014s showed well, in a leaner, more austere style that is the hallmark of this cooler year.