After the once-in-a-lifetime trio of great vintages seen in 88, 89 and 90, the Rhône Valley came down with a slight bump in 1991 - but rest assured, it was a soft landing.
Miraculously the region escaped the worst of the spring frosts that had such a devastating effect on vineyards elsewhere in France. July and August were hot and dry and hopes were high come September. However, it rained fairly heavily in mid-September and there were outbreaks of rot, particularly in the Southern Rhône.
The Northern Rhône wines generally lack the structure and class of the 89s and 90s, although the best display good levels of ripe, creamy, black fruits as well as considerable finesse. Côte-Rôtie is the most successful appellation with many of the wines being superior to their 1990 counterparts. Quality was generally below par in the Southern Rhône and it is important to stick with the top producers who, as always, produced some excellent wines.