Despite relatively heterogeneous weather conditions between the North and South of the Rhône Valley, the 2023 vintage is very appealing in the Rhône Valley Vineyards, with finesse and balance across the three colors, whether white, red or rosé
New York, November 30, 2023 – Inter Rhône, the organization that represents the Rhône Valley Vineyards AOCs, has announced that the 2023 vintage in the Rhône Valley is a success, showing great balance and structure across the Northern and Southern parts of the region.
The interviewed winegrowers are unanimous across the second largest French AOC vineyard. It should be remembered that, after a historically dry winter, the 2023 spring was particularly rainy, with some stormy episodes, especially in the northern part, sometimes accompanied by very localized hailstorms. The drought and late summer heatwave did not affect the vineyards, which benefited from a large diurnal range, allowing the vines to rest thanks to cool nights. Naturally, this was without counting on the rigor and work of the winegrowers who managed to favorably control disease pressure.
Philippe Pellaton, President of Inter Rhône, notes: “Weather conditions were more chaotic in the North than in the South of the Rhône Valley, leading to a shorter harvest. That being said, both quality and quantity are there, throughout the region. The 2023 vintage for the wines of AOC Côtes du Rhône and the Rhône Valley Vineyards appears to be a great vintage for blending: full, dense, balanced and with lovely acidity levels.”
In the North: After Some Worries Came a Lot of Enthusiasm for Very Balanced Wines
In the northern part of the Rhône Valley Vineyards, Lionel Fraisse, Secretary of Syndicat des Vignerons de Saint-Péray, recalls that this year’s vintage was marked by unrest. “Due to arduous weather conditions, we had to constantly adapt, reorient our methods and be very reactive. But thankfully, the story ends well; we benefited from a beautiful ripening period, which ultimately led to an adequate crop volume, while expressing all the freshness for which the terroir of Saint-Péray is famed.”
On the other bank of the Rhône: “2023 looks promising in terms of quantity for Crozes-Hermitage. Regarding quality, after multiple scares due to climatic hazards, the vintage is ultimately turning out to be very charming; we note beautiful colors, adequate alcohol levels and excellent balance, and in particular a lot of finesse of the tannins of red wines and a certain liveliness, balanced by a welcome touch of opulence, for the wines,” states Yann Chave, Co-President of the appellation.
Marcel Guigal, Co-President of AOC Côte-Rôtie: “The weather conditions demanded a lot of work in the vineyards. This is why the result is all the more exceptional for AOC Côte-Rôtie. This year, we were very lucky, and we are fully satisfied, in terms of quality as well as in terms of quantity.”
On the sparkling wine side, at the junction between the North and the South of the region, Fabien Lombard, President of AOC Clairette de Die and Wines of the Diois, judges the 2023 harvest satisfying in terms of volumes. He continues: “The 2023 vintage of AOC Clairette de Die and wines of the Diois promises to be a quality vintage, with a well-preserved acidity/sugar balance. The Clairette variety has worked wonders again this year and offers a very aromatic profile with notes of peach, pear and tropical fruits.”
In the South: Entire Satisfaction with Finely-Structured Wines
Damien Gilles, cooperative vine grower in AOC Côtes du Rhône: “The weather affected the vineyards at times, requiring a lot of reactivity and hard work, especially at the start of the harvest, with a rather rushed harvest for the whites. For the reds, on the contrary, it was necessary to show more patience in order to obtain optimal berry quality. This significant qualitative effort leads to beautifully powerful reds, with structure and a very punchy profile. White wines are rather mineral, fruity and fresh. Furthermore, consumers will very soon be able to taste these Côtes du Rhône rosés with their two profiles (fruity and delicate / fruity and full-bodied) that embody the region’s lovely diversity.”
“The specificities of this 2023 vintage: a long-lasting harvest, which favored optimal ripeness for all grape varieties. Temperature variations between day and night added onto this; this diurnal range, which was particularly important at the end of September, led to perfect phenolic ripeness. 2023 is thus a great vintage for AOC Ventoux, with very well-balanced and fresh white wines and red wines showing finesse, a beautiful depth and lovely colors”, declares Samuel Montgermont, Co-President of AOC Ventoux.
Pierre Amadieu, Co-President of the Gigondas appellation, continues: “Terroir, in this case the Dentelles de Montmirail, made it possible to limit the hardships of the drought, thanks to the water reserves from the spring rains. The red wine tannins are present and fleshy. For the first Cru vintage of white wines, Clairette, the “flagship” grape variety, displayed very good ripeness on the hillsides, with a pleasant aromatic bouquet of pear and ripe white orchard fruits. 2023 should therefore prove to be very satisfactory.”
According to Xavier Vignon, Co-President of AOC Beaumes-de-Venise: “The proximity of the Dentelles de Montmirail indeed brought about a beneficial freshness, which gives an extraordinary elegance to our red wines. I really fell in love with this very elegant 2023 vintage, thanks in particular to the great finesse of the tannins, the high salinity and the length of the wines. It is also a very good vintage for Muscats.”
“In Cairanne, the particularly rainy spring, followed by drought and a few rainfalls in July and August, helped maintain good vineyard health. In both colors, the wines are very expressive, the white wines even displaying an acidity a little higher than in 2022, which brings a lovely freshness and perfect balance. In the same way, the reds express a lot of gourmandise with notes of black cherry and raspberry. 2023 is flattering thanks to its accessibility, elegance and suppleness, and in particular to rounded well-integrated tannins”, explains Laurent Brusset, Co-President of AOC Cairanne.
In the Gard department, François Miquel, Co-President of AOC Lirac, comments: “Lirac is one of the terroirs which performed well in 2023. Given the depth of its soils, its exposure and its microclimate, Lirac expresses itself magnificently in 2023. The vintage’s heat waves were beneficial to this Cru, known for its freshness. September and October were incredible: abundant sunshine, cool nights, everything needed for a slow and successful ripening. The wines are rich without excess, with fine tannins and depth.”
Cyril Marès, President of AOC Costières de Nîmes, notes: “2023 is an ideal vintage: the vines resisted disease pressure well, and the quantity turned out to be relatively abundant this year. The wines display an excellent balance between freshness, fruit and concentration. We also note a great delicacy, which should particularly appeal to consumers.”
To summarize, Henri Bour, Co-President of AOC Grignan-les-Adhémar, explains: “The 2023 harvest fully satisfied the winegrowers after having gone through all the stages of worry over the previous months due to the climatic conditions. It took a lot of patience and wisdom to manage this unusual situation. And in the end, there is real satisfaction, with well-balanced wines and very beautiful aromatic expressions. The whites and rosés are very fruity, with good tension and moderate alcohol levels. The reds are magnificent: fleshy, with beautiful length and a velvety texture. The kind of vintage we wish to have every year.”
About Inter Rhône
Inter Rhône is a dynamic, deeply committed professional association representing all members of the Côtes du Rhône and Rhône Valley AOC wine industry. Founded in 1955, it coordinates the marketing and communications, business and technical activities of the following AOCs: Côtes du Rhône (Regional, Villages and Crus), Clairette de Bellegarde, Clairette de Die, Châtillon en Diois, Costières de Nîmes, Côtes du Vivarais, Coteaux de Die, Crémant de Die, Duché d’Uzès, Grignan les Adhémar, Luberon, Ventoux, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise and Rasteau sweet fortified wines, Eaux de Vie de Vin des Côtes du Rhône (or Fine des Côtes du Rhône) and Eaux de Vie de Marc des Côtes du Rhône (or Marc des Côtes du Rhône). Its activity is based on three key principles: fair representation for all professional groupings; parity between producers and négociants; and unanimity for all major decisions. Inter Rhône is both creative and accountable, standing alongside its members, supporting them and helping them in their quest to win greater recognition for Rhône Valley Vineyards wines in France and abroad.