2015, a generous vintage

Marked by several periods of strong heat and a few timely thundery storms, the 2015 vintage in Châteauneuf-du-Pape may already and in all aspects be qualified as generous. Generous in colour, generous in structure, in ripeness. Generous also in quantity, a rare occurrence for an appellation known for its low yields.

After a rather standard spring in terms of rainfall (170mm) came a hot and dry summer, with temperatures regularly over 37°C. From mid-June to mid-August the total rainfall amounted to less than 60mm, which is low compared to the hours of sunshine -1941 hours over 6 months, from April to September- ie more than in 2010 and 2011, which were considered as very sunny years.

These favourable weather conditions meant that the 2015 crop reached ripeness in excellent conditions, and the thundery storms mid-September did not affect the quality of what already appeared to be an excellent vintage. The first white grapes were picked at the end of August and the last mourvèdres not until mid-October. If the harvest spread over many long weeks, the same did not apply to fermentations, which went smoothly from start to finish, giving birth to rich, balanced and wonderfully complex wines.

The 2015 white Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines exhale notes of white and yellow blossom (lime blossom, acacia), the colour is golden, the mouth feel generous, fruity and full. Notes of exotic fruit and white peach are balanced by a nice, refreshing bitterness and a spicy and aniseed finish. In contrast to the 2014 white Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which offers great ageing potential, the 2015 vintage –with its low acidity- can easily be drunk now. It will go wonderfully with foie gras, shellfish or fresh goat cheese.

The 2015 red Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines have beautiful deep, dark and already shiny colours. The aromas –mostly black fruit- remain fresh, a proof that the fruit has been harvested at its optimal ripeness. The tannins are there – silky and smooth, fine and elegant. The wines are balanced, fruity, enjoyable, and definitely set to age well and for many years. Still, they bear all the necessary qualities to be drunk in their prime youth, just like the 1990, 1998 and 2010 vintages.

In 2016, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AC will celebrate the 80 years of its decree on the registered appellation through various events, among which a “pro” (reserved to professionals) evening just before Vinisud on Monday 15 February, the visit of winegrowers from Arbois, Cassis, Tavel, Monbazillac and Cognac during the Printemps de Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine fair (2 & 3 April), a legal and technical symposium on Thursday 21 April at the university of Avignon, and finally, on 22 April 2016, a special 50th Fête de la Saint Marc.

2016 will also mark the beginning of a partnership over several years with the MUCEM museum in Marseille. Since late November 2015, the museum has been exhibiting a collection of old winegrowers’ tools from Châteauneuf-du-Pape.