Vintage 2021 in Rhône by Michel Tardieu
Back to the future!
Vintage 2021 was incontestably a thumb to the nose of the last "solar" vintage which we have seen recently in the Rhone Valley.
Real 30-year flashback, typically reminiscent of more classical harvest dates in the Vindémiare calendar and phenolic maturity from the 90s.
Indeed, this vintage has given us, on all levels, a lot of emotions.
Blame it on the particularly capricious weather conditions, sweet understatement!
Extreme frost episode from 7th to 9th April, with some temperatures nearing -10ºC, affected without exception almost all the French vineyards. Cataclysmic observations: the vine for more than 3 weeks was brain dead! Some vinegrowers thought they had lost their ancestral heritage. Miraculously, nature took back control. But this was not without consequences.
The vine stocks were deeply titled, even unbalances. The 2nd shoots were anarchic, the labour work extremely complicated. Fortunately, the beneficial rains throughout the vegetative cycle, the moderate temperature in the summer and a beautiful late autumn enabled us to approach harvest season with serenity.
Like every year, nature decides for us. This is what makes this job beautiful and delicate. But undeniably, 2021will remain forever the vintage of a great "vigneron" (winegrower).
The Southern Rhône A real trat for the amateurs! The optimal maturities were reached with 1 to 1.5 degree of less alcohol than usual. Both the whites and the reds were beautifully balanced and offer remarkable natural acidity. The wines are aromatic, the fruit is flattering and detached. The grenache are pinot noir-like "pinotent"!
Northern Rhône The style which we thought finished with little power and sustained acidity level. Les blancs sont frais, taillés pour la garde, superbes! The whites are fresh, made for ageing, superb! The reds are styled, they exhale pepper and violet notes, the tannings are fine, sharp, but t an extreme facility. They will please the fine wine lovers, nostalgic of the years past where the vine growers were searching for maturity which they were not always finding...