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2019 SOUTHERN RHÔNE

After the vast challenges presented by mildew in 2018, notably at appellations such as CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE and CAIRANNE, the healthy harvest of 2019 came as a blessed relief to growers. A dry and very hot summer has marked the wines, which are full of packed content, robust and firm in style. The GRENACHE performed well, but the high sugar level led to high degrees, and careful blending with less "hot" varieties was required if that option were open to domaines. Likewise, it was essential to proceed with a light touch in the cellar - excess extraction was was a no-no, given generally thick skins and low juice levels inside the grapes.

2019 is claimed to be excellent by growers whom I respect at GIGONDAS - fresher, later vineyards have done well. It will be hailed as a very good vintage, but balance will be the watchword, within all the body mass of the wines. There’s a touch more freshness than 2018, I feel. The MOURVÈDRE also did well, while growers are starting to input more cool, low degree varieties such as CINSAULT and COUNOISE into their blends wherever they can. I have been tasting 2019 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE BLANCs that are being sent to me one by one, and so far, it’s a good year, many wines with stuffing, and the best giving elegance as well as rather stylish content. The notes on these are being gradually posted. I have also tasted around 30 2019 TAVELs, and it's a top vintage there, with the full body and extended length of the year. The  report on 2019 TAVEL is up under the subtab THE LEADING WINES.