The Rhone from the Tain footbridge

EN PRIMEUR: 2015 Rhone En Primeur

Grower after grower spoke of the ease of the 2015 growing season – certainly it was unusually dry from late May, and hot from late June.  But thanks to a very wet autumn and winter 2014-2015, there were plentiful water reserves, and it was only the young vines on especially sandy soils that suffered a little from the heat.  Even then, this was ameliorated by the occasional day or two of rain in the middle of August (8th, 13th, 23rd-25th in the South) and (also in the South) in the middle of September.  All producers talked of the brilliant harvest conditions – after 4 months of virtual drought, the rain which fell was easily absorbed by the ground, and cool nights in September ensured no danger of rot.  In the north, there was a frenzy of activity to get everything picked before the couple of days’ rain forecast around the middle of the month; in the south, there was some relief that this rain came to alleviate the very dry conditions, allowing the vines some extra time to ripen before picking the later-ripening varieties in the second half of September.  In all cases, fruit came in to the wineries in perfect condition.  It is a little early for opinion to settle on whether this is a ‘very fine’ or a ‘great’ vintage – but 2015 is certainly up there among the very best, and the wines will give enormous pleasure to lovers of wines from the Rhône Valley.