Classified by local regulators as 'excellent' in Ribera del Duero and 'very good' in Rioja (the fourth such vintage in succession), 2009 looks promising across the board. Fine weather throughout the summer meant green harvesting was necessary in Rioja to focus yields, with September showers giving the grapes a final boost.
Warm, dry conditions followed bringing the grapes to full ripeness by harvest time. Abundant winter rainfall re-energised the soils and favoured successful bud-break and flowering. Less welcome rain in June was off-set by an extensive green harvest and the health of the grapes was thereafter underwritten by very high temperatures in the dry months of July and August. Any risk of drought and shut-down of the vines was off-set however, by unusual levels of precipitation between 10th and 20th September, which served to put the vegetative cycle back on course for a dry and successful harvest, which ended on October 19th.
Ribera del Duero enjoyed its second biggest crop ever, producing deeply-coloured, violet-scented wines with excellent ageing potential. A vintage of high quality then, albeit relatively modest in quantity after the (very expensive) green harvest. In the words of Juan Carlos Lopez of Artadi and his lively auto-translating application "in this vintage we enjoyed limpid transparent wines with presence of fresh fruit of crystalline definition. The wines display subtle tannins, with a smooth texture but a resounding tactile network."