2007 is a truly exciting vintage in the Rhône. The wines are uniformly excellent, from relatively humble Vins de Pays up to the grandest Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
The Southern Rhône had a year where everything fell into place. A little spring rain prevented hydric stress later in the growing cycle, then the cooling influence of the Mistral ensured a rare and wonderful purity of fruit and firm acidity levels. This was aided by a temperate August, cool nights and a September where the daytime temperatures stayed high and as a consequence the harvest was brought in under clear skies.
The resulting wines have an incredible depth of fruit, great colour and are marked by tannins that are both supple and firm. In terms of recent vintages, 2007 combines the finesse of 2006 with the power of 2005; a similar contrast may be made between 2001 and 1998. 1990 has often been mentioned but, as all ultimately agree, 2007 is better than all of these, with whites and reds equally successful and all the villages resplendent and seductive.
In the Northern Rhône, the story is a little more complicated, but the results are almost as good. Hail in the Côte Brune in the north of Côte-Rôtie, for example, could have been disastrous. The result, paradoxically, has been even lower yields and even more concentrated fruit. The mild August could have been problematic, yet its potentially negative impact was mitigated by a fine and warm September which resulted in an unusually long growing season (120 days and more) and impressive complexity of flavour.
The wines of the north of the valley, hitherto less lauded than their southern cousins, will also develop extremely nicely and offer real pleasure.