Rhône 2018 - Great quality, low quantity
The almost continuous rains from April through to May favoured the development of severe outbreaks of mildew in the vines. Mildew is a fungus that normally attacks the leaves first but this time it often attacked both the leaves and the flowers simultaneously. Some deemed it the worst mildew in fifty years. It was therefore paramount for the grape growers to be 'on it' as soon as the symptoms (brown dots on the leaves and white matter on the back of leaves) showed up and spray both the leaves and the grapes with copper sulfates, allowed in organic and biodynamic viticulture.
June to August was ideal with dry, sunny and warm weather condition. The 'canicule' (heatwave) burst in July did not affect the growing grapes adversely as it normally takes a prolonged period at 40c plus to shut the vine down. It did however slow the ripening as the hydric stress increased.
The rains in early and mid-August helped the grapes get some of the water it needed to finish its ripening.
The weather conditions from end August to mid-September have been perfect with continued sunny and warm conditions (e.g. up to 32C on the 11th September).
With all this, the grapes had a great concentration and showed a potential alcohol of up to 15 if not 15.5 in some areas. The acidity levels might be a little lower than usual vintages, but this should not affect the longevity of the wines. Whilst quantities remain a question mark, the quality of the 2018 vintage is deemed very good.