Postcards from the 2018 Harvest in France

La Bernarde | Côtes de Provence

With the barrels being filled, the tanks frothing away, the presses put to slumber, and the birds eagerly eying their leftover treats, the 2018 harvest in France is beginning to wind down. Join us as we look through the eyes of the people on the ground, who for the past month have toiled night and day in an effort to accurately capture a snapshot of mother nature’s work in 2018. We will hear directly from the winemakers about their initial impressions of the 2018 vintage and what we can hope to expect when the wines are ultimately bottled and release to the thirsty public. From Provence to Champagne, growers across France have been using  phrases such as “historic vintage”, “perfect maturity”, “beautiful and bountiful”, to describe what they and many others believe will be a year that is remembered fondly decades from now. Only time will tell, of course, but for now there is every reason to be excited for la générosité de la France en 2018.

 

PROVENCE

Despite a very humid spring with lots of early mildew pressure in the entire region, we ended up with a very clean and healthy harvest. The grapes that came in were gorgeously ripe. Volume is good, not great, but the quality is superb.

– Eve Cartier of Mas de Gourgonnier in Les Baux de Provence

 

BURGUNDY / JURA / CHABLIS

2018 is a beautiful vintage, with great maturity and easy extraction of color. The fruit came in completely clean, there was almost nothing to sort. Everyone will have to be careful not to over-extract to preserve the purity of the Pinot Noir. The potential alcohol came in at 12.8-13.4% , so there will be no need to chapitalize.

– Thibaud Clerget of Domaine Yvon Clerget in Volnay


2018 was an amazingly beautiful and bountiful harvest.

– Dominique Lafon of Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon


The winter was very cold, followed by a rainy and stormy spring with hail risk throughout. Fortunately we escaped without any serious damage. The summer was hot and dry which brought the grapes to excellent maturity. We’re expecting a great vintage.

– Fanny Breuil of Domaine Rolet in Jura


From Petit Chablis to Grand Cru Les Clos, everything was beautiful. The Chardonnay was balanced and we finally had some good quantity, definitely the most since 2004. There was no sorting needed, as the grapes were perfect. If I had to compare it to another vintage, it reminds of 1990.

– Charlène Pinson of Domaine Pinson in Chablis

 

BEAUJOLAIS

The winter was rainy and spring was hot which led to a rapid growth of the vine. We had virtually no disease pressure the entire growing season. The summer was dry and warm but little to no water stress. The Gamay has great maturity, with good acid/sugar balance. I think there is great aging potential with 2018.

– Sylvain Tête of Domaine du Clos du Fief in Julienas


The Gamay came in gorgeously balanced, with a  potential alcohol of 12-13.5%. The terroir of the pink granite and sand found in my Chapelle de Bois parcel in Fleurie produced grapes that were ripe with high acidity.

– Mathieu Melinand of Domaine des Marrans in Fleurie

 

NORTHERN RHÔNE

We had some rain in mid-September that relieved the water stressed vines after a very dry summer and set us up for great success during the harvest. We’re expecting an excellent vintage with 2018.

– Caroline Frey of Paul Jaboulet Aîné

 

LOIRE VALLEY

The fruit came in clean, with no botrytis. After two years of frost, we finally have volume and quality at Hautes Noelles.

-Jean-Pierre Guédon of Domaine Les Hautes Noëlles in Muscadet


The summer was very hot, which was a huge concern for us. Ultimately, the old vine Sauvignon Blanc that came in was balanced and beautiful. The potential alcohol was 13.2% with yields of about 60 hl/ha. We had both quality and quantity in 2018.

Hélène Mardon of Domaine Mardon in Quincy


2018 was a welcome relief after the last few small vintages. For a warm year, we managed our yields very well and the Chenin was ripe and balanced. It is too early to tell, but we are extremely exited to see how the wines will turn out.

– Xavier Weisskopf of Le Rocher des Violettes in Montlouis-sur-Loire 

 

CHAMPAGNE / ALSACE

2018 was a special vintage from the very beginning. It snowed in the winter ad the summer was warm and dry. Harvest started on August 30th and the grapes came in healthy and ripe. This is a year of both quality and quantity.

– Clément Vergnon of Champagne JL Vergnon


It was very warm and dry throughout the summer in Alsace. I’ve heard from many other growers that potential alcohol was very high, even up to 15% in some cases , but ours were much more manageable. Thanks to our biodynamic farming, we had good acidity, particularly with Riesling.

– Christophe Mittnacht of Domaine Mittnacht in Alsace