Rhône Valley

Shop Rhône Valley WinesHighlights

Click on the years below to shop by vintage!

2022 – 2022 was the hottest vintage ever recorded in the Rhône, but mercifully the wines do not betray their record-breaking origins. Rain in August and, speculate many growers, adaptation of the vines to hot years, means ripening was slower in 2022. The wines are rich and juicy certainly, but with plenty of freshness and purity of terroir expression. This will be a lovely vintage for a long time.

2021 – In keeping with elsewhere in France, 2021 was a challenging vintage: wet and cool. If that were not bad enough, there were also April frosts, reducing yields. The whites enjoyed the cool year, producing perfumed, fresh styles. The reds are light, aromatic and easy-drinking, but should probably be consumed within their first decade or so. They lack the concentration and complexity of other recent vintages.

2020 – 2020 is an excellent Rhône vintage. It is another hot, ripe year, but in spite of it all, the wines have an appetizing freshness and balance, with lower alcohols and less density of fruit than the two preceding vintages. While potentially this renders them a little shorter-lived, the 2020s should appeal to purists, with their supple tannins and elegant fruit.

2019 – 2019 was a hot and dry year which produced many outstanding wines across the region, in a rich, powerful style. Expect well-structured reds, with excellent depth of fruit and perfume, and sufficient acidity. Most will take a decade to unwind but will then last for many years to come. Côte Rôtie and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are particularly successful.

2018 – 2018 was a small vintage of very ripe, concentrated wines from a baking summer. There are some very good wines from the top producers, but in general the heat was too much for many, and the wines too often lack freshness or definition. Acidity is in short supply while alcohols are universally high. It is a poor vintage for white wines.

2017 – 2017 was a warm vintage, especially in the southern Rhône. Here, some wines lack acidity to balance their rich, concentrated fruit and soft tannins. In the north, the wines show greater balance, with lower alcohol levels, higher acidities and more precision. In fact, some winemakers believe that 2017 is among the great recent northern vintages, in a dense, powerful style.

2016 – 2016 is a classic and outstanding vintage in the Rhône Valley. In the north, a wonderful second half of the growing season yielded bright, vibrant wines with great perfume and succulent fruit. The wines show superb transparency to terroir and ageworthiness, thanks to their firm but ripe tannins. In the south, the fruit is generous and mouth-coating, the tannins soft and the wines already alluring. These are hedonistic but controlled wines and beautiful examples of their origins.

2015 – 2015 is an excellent vintage in the northern Rhône, and a very good one in the south. A hot summer gave rich, powerful, abundantly fruity wines which have always appealed for their sheer ‘come-hither’ quality; their irresistible bounty and outgoing style, somewhat reminiscent of 2009, albeit with more structure. The top northern appellations will certainly be better after their 10th birthday while the southern wines have been delicious for a long time. Arguably the southern reds lack the complexity of the 2016s, however.

2014 – 2014 is not likely to be a vintage that lasts long in the memory of collectors; a wet, cool summer gave way to a warm but wet September (there’s nothing worse than harvesting in the rain!) with the concomitant effects on quality. In the north, the wines are at most medium-bodied, with some pleasant perfume but lacking fruit concentration. In the south, the wines are a little more juicy but most should be drunk now and over the next few years.

2013 – A generally cool summer across the Rhône valley led the sun-loving Grenache to suffer in the south, leading to blends which include an unusually high proportion of Syrah and Mourvèdre. While these varieties gave excellent freshness, the reduced proportion of Grenache gave lighter wines, and probably not for long-term aging. In the north, September sun allowed better ripening. The northern wines are fresh and balanced with moderate alcohols; a pleasingly classical style for drinking over the next decade.

2012 – In the north, 2012 is a mixed vintage, with some wines lacking acidity to compensate for the generous fruit. Others are more firmly structured, but in general the late summer sun has resulted in an hedonistic, opulent style. In the south, the 2012s may lack a little acidity, but they compensate by their easy-going, succulent fruit. There is a lot to like here, although there would be little advantage holding them beyond their 15th or 20th birthdays.

2011 – Generally speaking, 2011 is a weak vintage for the region, blighted by rain, including at harvest. The best wines show a pleasant perfume but rather limited fruit and should be drunk now.

2010 – In keeping with elsewhere in France, 2010 is a monumental vintage for the Rhône, producing remarkably complete wines, with outstanding balance between concentrated fruit, supple tannins and good acidity levels. Moreover the precision and detail to the flavors allows wonderful terroir expression: the wines are object lessons in the difference between appellations. The southern wines are drinking well today and for another decade. So too most northern wines, other than the most muscular, where another decade will reward patient drinkers.

2009 – 2009 is a generous, all-embracing vintage in the northern Rhône, where the warm summer yielded powerful, sunny wines of great stature. They show more overt richness of fruit than their 2010 peers and softer tannins; this gives them a hedonistic quality similar to that of 2009 Bordeaux. The southern wines in some cases suffered from the heat; results here are more variable than the great 2010s, and should be drunk now. The northern wines will drink beautifully for another decade at least.

2008 – 2008 was a difficult vintage across the region, with rain shortly before harvest. Most southern wines should be drunk up; only the best northern wines are still going strong.

2007 – 2007 was a famously rich and succulent vintage in the southern Rhône, celebrated by producers and critics alike at the time. The juiciness of fruit is now beginning to fade however, and remaining bottles should be drunk. In the north, the vintage is much lighter and all but the very top wines will benefit from short term drinking.

2006 – This is another good vintage in the northern Rhône, where the wines combine structure and depth of fruit to good effect. The top wines will continue to drink well for another 5-10 years. The south similarly enjoyed a successful year, with the best wines at their glorious peak today.

2005 – 2005 is an excellent, ripe but fresh year across the Rhône Valley; while most of the southern reds are at their peak now, the more brawny northern wines have at least another decade left to run.

2004 – 2004 was a good southern year, with plenty of fruit and attractive freshness, although the wines are approaching the ends of their lives now. The conditions were cooler in the north, and the wines rather light. They should be drunk now.

2003 – 2003 is the infamous heatwave vintage which produced wines of syrupy concentration, sweet-tasting fruit and baked notes, obscuring terroir expression. Very few of these wines have aged well and should be drunk up now.

2002 – A wash-out vintage, producing very dry, fruitless wines. For traditionalists only.

Older excellent vintages in which the top wines are still drinking well in 2024: 2001, 1999, 1998, 1995, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1985