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. Across the board, from appellation to appellation as a whole, 2019 is superior to 2018 - there is much greater consistency of quality.
A dry and very hot summer marked the wines, which are full of packed content, robust and firm in style, with extended length. 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 key, 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 tasted 2019 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE BLANCs that are being sent to me one by one, and so far, it’s a very good year, many wines with stuffing, and the best giving elegance as well as rather stylish content. The notes on these have been posted, as has a Report on 2019 LIRAC BLANC, 2019 CAIRANNE BLANC and 2019 CÔTES DU RHÔNE BLANC and 2019 CÔTES DU RHÔNE ROSÉ - it's a good white vintage for both those Cru appellations, a firm content present in the wines, leading them to LA TABLE, while the CÔTES wines have been drawn from DOMAINES at CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE, CAIRANNE, RASTEAU, LIRAC, VISAN and VINSOBRES - they are well worth a look, as they give such good VALUE.
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.
Next up will be a large mass of 2019 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE RED with more 2019 WHITES, wines arriving in early November, 2020 if all goes well.