Northern Rhône Vintage Chart: 1978 to 2022


The hottest and driest vintage on record produced very low yields and heterogeneous quality. Spring was dry and warm leading to small canopies that struggled to ripen the below average yields. Heatwaves in June and July, without adequate moisture, put vines under an inordinate amount of stress but a mid-August rainfall saved the vintage from disaster. Whites are full and rich with moderate acidity. Reds are more variable, with those who picked early often showing wines with tense green tannin but those who waited for grapes to ripen fully after the rains producing excellent wines. See Ali's full report here


Spring saw one of the worst frosts in modern memory. While Hermitage escaped damage, the rest of the northern Rhône was badly affected. Following the frost, spring was cool and dry until May when it began to rain. Wet weather continued through June causing issues with downy mildew and botrytis. Harvest began in September and those who sorted thoroughly were able to produce surprisingly good wines, though chaptalisation was often necessary. The white wines from this vintage are absolutely outstanding. Generally speaking 2021 reds are less concentrated than the last few vintages and may not age as well but are proving excellent to consume now. For those looking for more concentration in reds, Côte Rôtie and Hermitage provide the best options. See Ali's full report here


An early spring and a hot and dry summer led to harvest beginning in August. Reds are deeply colored and richly fruited but with admirable freshness and fine tannin structure. Wines are more consistently high quality along the length of the region than in 2019 and alcohol levels tend to be more restrained. The one caveat is the vintage was marginally less successful for Côte Rôtie than the stellar 2019 vintage. See James' full report here


A hot and dry growing season resulted in just below average yields of concentrated wines with a surprising degree of freshness. While quality is decent up and down the valley, Côte Rôtie shows exceptional promise due to the refreshing August rains in the north of the region surrounding Ampuis. Further south, in Cornas, there was no rain and sugars tended to climb quickly in September resulting in higher alcohols and, on occasion, cooked flavors. Hailstorms in June and July devastated Crozes-Hermitage but left the rest of the region untouched. See Ali's full report here.


Unlike the south, yields in the north were above average. Overall, it was a warm year, with higher volumes mitigating overripeness. Low acidity may be a problem, especially for the whites, but the quality and complexity of flavour is very promising indeed, with Côte Rôtie the most promising in the early stages of development.


Very challenging climatic conditions – like the seven plagues of Egypt, according to Michel Chapoutier – nonetheless resulted in very promising quality, with high levels of concentration yet with fine natural balance among the Syrah. 2017 Seems to be the third good vintage in a row for the northern Rhône. Particularly strong for both colours of Hermitage.


Hail in April damaged some of the crop in Hermitage, meaning yields are reduced – though quality isn’t necessarily compromised. Indeed, there is a lot of enthusiasm for both reds and whites, despite some tricky weather throughout the year. Alcohol levels are in general slightly lower than in 2015.


Universally viewed as a vintage with top quality potential, although it has been overshadowed by the even better 2016 and 2017 vintages. Guigal will produce their special Condrieu cuvée Luminescence for only the third time (previous vintages were 1999 and 2003). For reds, maintaining freshness and avoiding over-extraction is the key to quality with such ripe fruit.


A challenging growing season for reds in which grapes struggled to reach full maturity and particularly vigilant sorting was required thanks to the Drosophila suzukii fruit fly. A successful flowering resulted in a decent crop, swollen in many cases by rain during the summer and red wine harvest. Whites fared better and benefited from a late rush to maturity but retained good acid levels. With age, most reds appear relatively thin and unexciting.


Very promising reds which may well have excellent longevity. Despite a slow start and problems with mildew in June, the 2013 growing season came good with fine warm days and cool nights throughout the summer. Rain prompted a speedy harvest (one of the latest ever). Most whites are best enjoyed within the first five years, but the best reds could last for decades more.


Looks good for the Rhône, against the trend of the year in Europe at large. It is defined by lower than average potential alcohol – indeed some chaptalisation was practised. Acidities are also generally below the norm, while tannins are more pronounced than in 2011. As they age, 2012 is proving to be a very inconsistent vintage. 


Untimely rain in early September diluted what was otherwise a very promising crop. Quality still good, but certainly not at the level of 2010 or 2009, and most of the reds won’t repay cellaring past the mid 2020s.


Low yields of exceptionally good quality. Hyped as one of the very best years in the northern Rhône – possibly the best in history – on early release, although some of the best names perhaps haven’t blossomed as you might have expected.


Warmer and drier than average: volumes were down and harvest was early. Ripening was quick but complete, and quality looks to be very good. The reds are generally ageing well, and will reach their peak in the 2020s.


Lots of rain gave a disappointing and dilute vintage. Some producers opted not to make their top wines at all. Largely best to avoid. A very few examples have bucked the trend and aged rather well, but they are definitely the exception.


Very wet spring, a patchy summer but the vintage was saved by decent weather in September. Côte Rôtie has produced some of the best reds, although they are not for the long term and should be drunk up in the early 2020s.


Very promising. As elsewhere in France, the region experienced a very mixed August but a warm September seems to have resulted in an excitingly high success rate. With maturity, there are some fantastic reds (and the occasional white Hermitage) that have stood the test of time, but probably shouldn’t be kept beyond their 20th birthday.


As successful as elsewhere in France. A long-term prospect which may rival 1990, it attracted high scores on release, but has shown some fallibility after a decade – although there’s no doubt that some great wines have been made.


A welcome return to normal temperatures but this post-2003 heatwave crop was not generous and wines have developed fast. Outside the highest echelons, this a is a vintage to avoid in maturity.


Some exceptional heatwave wines with enormous concentration and good ageing potential, although it has been upstaged by 2005, 2016 and 2017.


Poor weather at flowering dramatically reduced the potential crop and paved the way for a thoroughly horrid summer resulting in rotten, unripe grapes. Some growers declassified a large proportion of them although the odd late-picked bottling may surprise. Reds should have been drunk. Good white wines at the time though.


One of the most successful regions in France in 2001. Almost as good as 1999 if more elegant and less concentrated than 2000. Very respectable levels of ripeness and good acidity and ripe tannins to support them. Still going strong at 20 years old.


Good to very good if overshadowed by its predecessor. August was hot with heavy rain on 21 August. September enjoyed exceptionally fine weather allowing a particularly prolonged harvest. Both red and white wines are very charming. Most should be enjoyed in the first two decades.


Exceptional quality. A sunny harvest saw good quantities of healthy grapes – a cause for real celebration in the northern Rhône. Quality is at least as good as 1998 (some compare it with 1947) and the quantity was much higher. The reds are ageing better than the 2000 vintage.


Very dry summer stressed the vines. Some tough wines for the long term – in fact, some of them took 20 years to reach their peak.


Early maturing, soft wines from an early harvest. Only the bravest would age these wines into their twenties.


Solid, unexciting but ready and competently made. With age, they are for academic interest only.


Very promising vintage, some of which only reached their apogee after 20 years of bottle age, although very few will last past 30 years.


All-too familiar autumn rains before the fruit could ripen. Average at best.


A great summer then rain, hail and mildew, so light, soft wines are the rule. Generally extinct now, whether they have been drunk or not.


Heavy September rains gave a mixed bag of early-drinking wines. Age hasn’t been kind to them.


A good vintage, superb in Côte-Rôtie: fragrant, forward and charming. They have stood the test of time, too, and the best are still in excellent condition at nearly 30 years old.


The heatwave slowed ripening. Côte-Rôtie suffered but the Hermitage hill produced some monster wines destined for a very long life, and which have proved to age well across four decades.


A drought year, irregular in Cornas, otherwise rich and opulent. Some very high-scoring reds, but they are generally on the down slope after 30 years.


Unfairly overshadowed by 1989 and 1990, with majestic Côte-Rôties for long ageing.


Some of Guigal's wines are the exception to a rather lean, charmless year.


Opulent and soft, these wines were delicious but have matured relatively early and should have been drunk before the turn of the millennium.


Outstanding muscular wines now ready to drink, with Hermitage and Côte Rôtie producing the longest-lasting examples, which mostly peaked in the 2010s.


Lovely soft, elegant and balanced wines that should now have been drunk.


A sensational year, highly aromatic, complex and big-framed. Now very rare. Particularly auspicious for Jaboulet La Chapelle Hermitage, which has aged very well into its early 40s.