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Côtes du Rhône declares 2018 ‘outstanding’ vintage

Published:  10 January, 2019

Côtes du Rhône has declared the 2018 vintage as ‘outstanding' marking the fourth in a series of such quality for the AOC.

Although the 2018 growing season hadn’t been the same for everyone, with some areas badly hit by downy mildew, harvesting throughout France’s second largest AOC winegrowing region had taken place in balmy summer conditions, said Inter-Rhône.

Excellent weather throughout September, with fairly cool and sunny conditions, low humidity and an appearance from the Mistral, had all helped the grapes ripen fully, and ensured they remained in “excellent health,” it added.

“September’s terrific weather has been a key part of this year’s success; we’ve been able to harvest our fruit at peak ripeness”, said president Michel Chapoutier.

“With September being so sunny our main focus has been to preserve acidity and potential minerality in our whites, while the Syrahs have made the most of their phenolic complexity and have achieved excellent levels of physiological ripeness,” he said.

Vinification had progressed smoothly and alcoholic fermentation was quickly completed, followed swiftly in many cases by malolactic fermentation, while acidity levels remained very low, requiring remedial work in the winery, he added.

According to early estimates, harvest yields were set to be at the lower end of the five-year average, but higher than in 2017.