Rhöne Vintage Report by Jaboulet: The 1999 vintage will undoubtedly figure amongst the finest wines of the last two decades.

After flowering a week earlier than in 1998, and under very favourable conditions, the vines suffered climatic conditions during the summer period which necessitated a fight against oïdium.
July was marked by a dry period during the first and last ten days of the month. The only significant rainfall was during the night of the 5th-6th. Temperatures were higher than average for the time of year, with maximum temperatures around 34 à 35°.
The wind was predominantly northerly during this period.

August was stormy during the second fortnight, then a dry period set in, punctuated by several storms of little consequence. The higher-than-normal temperatures of early August dropped under the influence of the Mistral (northerly wind).
September had very high temperatures (32°c) from the 10th to the 15th and went out with a heavy storm on the 25th. The health and quality of the grapes were such that the storm of the 25th had no impact on the quality of the harvest. This began on the 14th September with the Crozes 'Mule Blanche', followed by the whites of the 'Domaine Roure', and finished with the Hermitage 'Chevalier de Stérimberg'. The harvesters, stooped over branches weighed down with golden grapes, had perfect climatic conditions.
Once the harvest of the white grapes was completed, we continued with the red. This year, to go further in the elimination of all traces of water, we tried drying the vegetation by helicopter, as is done in Burgundy or in the Sauternes region. The trial was very conclusive in as far as the number of degrees obtained in the vat. The generous harvest (though curbed a little by early season work on the vines) gives us a foretaste of the very good quality of our wines, with a rich, full body present in force in our whites. The red wines, like the whites, have been conferred a good acid-alcohol balance and the very first tastings from the vats have given a foresight of red wines with an intensity of colour perhaps never before seen.

I feel that the 1999 vintage, both red and white, has rewarded the producer for all his labours throughout the year.
The 1999 vintage is characterised by a paradox : exceptional quantity and quality!!! In spite of all the work carried out in the vineyards (heavy pruning, 'green' harvesting, thinning), even on the old vines up on the higher slopes, the 1999 production was very high. This has given the wines a great richness of complexity and density. The white wines were difficult to press and the yield of juice was quite low. They enjoy a nice acidity and they are 'fatty' in the mouth. The red wines underwent a very long maceration and are thus well-coloured, substantial wines. The well-dispersed, but strong tannins endow the wine with a great potential for keeping. 




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Vintage Report

Burgundy Vintage Report by DRC: Words fail us when we try to describe the perfection of the grapes that were passing on our sorting table in 1999 ! We already saw superb grapes during the last decade, in 1990 or 1996 for instance, but this year, in our opinion, they surpass them all in finesse and maturity. We could see a lot of small grapes, of « millerandage », and, as a sign of the great years, the older vines, not very productive in general, yielded this year a generous harvest of extremely fine grapes, sumptuous examples of the finest Pinot Noir.

The story of a vintage is so full, so rich, that it is not easy to define the most important factors, those which decided the course of events.

Once again, the scenario was disconcerting : who would have thought in Spring with the rain falling every day and mildew threatening, with the grass growing in the vineyards without our being able to plough, that on September 20, that is to say very early in the season, we would harvest grapes that rank among the most beautiful of the century ? ! 

It was precisely thanks to the exceptionally rainy Spring that the vineyards could reserve enough water to get through, without suffering, the very hot and dry period we experienced in Burgundy between August 15 and September 20. This consecutive balance permitted the leaves to fully function in their role of sugar producers and the grapes could completely and harmoniously ripen. We observed this year the almost miraculous combination of high contents of sugars (very high degrees), good acidity (concentration in the berries) and perfectly healthy grapes. It is interes¬ting to underline that the combination of these three factors in the same harvest only occurs very rarely.


Another exceptional phenomenon : the grapes that were right in the sun had « roasted » and contained concentrated sugar which released during the fermentations only. All the vats had some sort of natural « sugaring», ending with higher degrees than those, already high, that we noted at the beginning of fermentation.

Moreover, although the grapes were in a totally perfect health, we had a very selective harvest, leaving aside for a second picking the vines that were overloaded or the young ones that were replanted recently.

Only one regret : the fine weather abandoned us after a few days of harvest and the rain disturbed the second part of it, but on the one hand the rain fell mostly in the night, which enabled us to harvest normally during the day, on the other hand they arrived too late to create an appreciable dilution.

As regards quantity, it is exceptional too : thanks to the beautiful bunch setting and the favourable conditions during the flowering, the production is about the same as in 1990 or 1996.

It is therefore a vintage of very high lineage that seems to prepare in vats. Fermentations are slow and reach high temperatures naturally, colours are garnet-red, nearly black, typical of great years. We shall know in a few days, after the wines are drawn, whether they are equal to the splendour of the grapes we harvested. If it is the case, it is by offering a great vintage that the vineyards will have greeted the end of the millennium.

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Vintage Report

Napa Valley and Australia Vintage Report: A long, cool spring gave way to a mild summer. With only one heat spike recorded in the first part of July, the 1999 vintage ripened under conditions that allowed a long hang-time that resulted in fruit of concentrated varietal flavors with a strong backbone of acid. Harvest got underway following a weekend of intense summer heat late in September. October proved to be a very active month in vineyards and winery crush pads as red and white grapes reached maturity simultaneously. Napa Valley received only a trace of rain from April through October, leading to extremely clean fruit arriving at the wineries.


The 1999 also had a dry Winter in Australia, leading up with medium temperatures for all months. However, there was a considerable amount of drizzly days at the time of harvest, causing a few headaches with varieties that are sensitive to Botrytis Bunch Rot, ie. Grenache.  It did clear up and the wines produced were all closed and slightly under medium intensity.  They are looking better all the time.

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Bordeaux and Italy / The last year of the millennium was a strange one. The whole Bordeaux area had very good water reserves after wet winter. Then bud-break in May under warm temperature was indicating huge crop. The weather became even warmer towards the summer with some humidity. After early flowering in end of May hit by the storms caused difficult berry set. Then the hot spell followed with humidity and downy mildew problems in August. The weather changed ideally dry and sunny well before the harvest. Unluckily the harvest was largely ruined by severe autumn storms with hails destroying the crop from many vineyards on right bank. The quality of the grapes in all areas remain at the same level despite the storms.

This vintage has offered more than a hundred wines that are very enjoyable just now. On the other hand, quality fluctuation between wines has been surprising. 


Italy Vintage Report by Tb: 1999 carried on the winning streak of outstanding vintages in Piedmont, Barolo and Barbaresco. This vintage was in all respects excellent, even though heavy precipitation in August did cause some mold problems on plantations. Although the 1999s almost attained the same level as the 1995s, they did not match the excellence of 1996 and 1997. 

In Tuscany 1999 was an unusually hot year, even if the weather conditions were varied. Because autumn rains did not arrive until after the harvest, a large percentage of Sangiovese grapes could be saved. In Tuscany this vintage produced mature and abundantly fruity wines. Many Chianti producers felt that 1999 was a better year than even 1997. The 1999s also offer the buyer a better price-quality ratio compared to the high-priced 1997s.

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Champagne Vintage Report by Salon: :The most abundant grape harvest in the history of Champagne! One of the warmest years of the century! But, on the heels of a fairly mild winter and a warm early spring came a series of hailstorms. The weather settled and the Chardonnay grape flowers bloomed on 11 June – magnificent. Rain in early July and a surprise month of August: a cold spell and an eclipse of the moon on the 11th. The harvest promised to be splendid, started well but ended with rain. Production, which was already significant, increased further. However, some winegrowers were able to reduce the weight of the vines at the right time: as a result, the wines gained in alcohol content (an average of 10%) with a low level of acidity of 6.3% due to the heat of the summer and rain during picking. Powerful, profound, lively and complex wines.



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The best wines of the 1999 vintage

Name Tb Producer Location
1 Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux 97.3 Henri Jayer Burgundy, France
2 Screaming Eagle 97.3 Screaming Eagle Napa Valley, United States
3 La Turque 97.1 E.Guigal Rhône, France
4 Echezeaux 97.0 Henri Jayer Burgundy, France
5 La Tâche 96.9 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
6 Maya 96.8 Dalla Valle Napa Valley, United States
7 Redigaffi 96.5 Tua Rita Italy, Italy
8 Côte-Rôtie La Landonne 96.5 E.Guigal Rhône, France
9 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réservé 96.4 Château Rayas Rhône, France
10 Meursault-Perrières 96.3 Coche Dury Burgundy, France
11 Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 96.3 Araujo Estate Napa Valley, United States
12 La Landonne 96.3 Domaine Rostaing Rhône, France
13 Côte Rôtie Côte Blonde 96.3 Domaine Rostaing Rhône, France
14 Corton-Charlemagne 96.3 Coche Dury Burgundy, France
15 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill Vinothèque 96.3 Pol Roger Champagne, France
16 Romanée Conti 96.3 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
17 Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Cros Parantoux 96.0 Emmanuel Rouget Burgundy, France
18 Clos St-Denis Grand Cru 96.0 Domaine Dujac Burgundy, France
19 Montrachet 96.0 Domaine Ramonet Burgundy, France
20 Chevalier-Montrachet 96.0 Domaine Étienne Sauzet Burgundy, France
21 Côte-Rôtie La Mouline 96.0 E.Guigal Rhône, France
22 Grand Vintage 96.0 Comtes de Dampierre Champagne, France
23 The Armagh 96.0 Jim Barry Wines Clare Valley, Australia
24 Cornas 95.9 Domaine Noël Verset Rhône, France
25 Chardonnay "Cuvée Cathleen" 95.9 Kistler California, United States
26 J. Daniel Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon 95.8 Lail Vineyards Napa Valley, United States
27 Grosset Gaia 95.7 Grosset Wines South Australia, Australia
28 Barolo Gran Bussia Riserva 95.5 Poderi Aldo Conterno Piedmont, Italy
29 Mr. K. Semillon Vin de Paille 95.5 Sine Qua Non California, United States
30 Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 95.5 István Szépsy Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary
31 Musigny 95.5 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
32 Richebourg 95.5 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
33 Chambertin 95.5 Joseph Drouhin Burgundy, France
34 Grands-Echezeaux 95.5 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Burgundy, France
35 Hermitage 95.3 Tardieu-Laurent Rhône, France
36 Cuvée Louise Rosé 95.3 Pommery Champagne, France
37 Montrachet 95.3 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France
38 Batard-Montrachet 95.1 Domaine Ramonet Burgundy, France
39 Messorio 95.1 Le Macchiole Bolgheri, Italy
40 Richebourg 95.0 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Burgundy, France
41 Le Montrachet 95.0 Bouchard Père & Fils Burgundy, France
42 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 95.0 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
43 Musigny 95.0 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Burgundy, France
44 'Doix' Costers de Vinyes Velles 95.0 Mas Doix Priorat, Spain
45 Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 95.0 Mount Eden Vineyards Santa Cruz Mountains, United States
46 Opus One 95.0 Opus One Napa Valley, United States
47 Musigny 95.0 Domaine Georges Roumier Burgundy, France
48 Chambertin Clos de Bèze 95.0 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
49 Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos Kapi 95.0 Disznókö Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary
50 Chevalier-Montrachet 95.0 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France
51 Montrachet 95.0 Domaine Étienne Sauzet Burgundy, France
52 ILR Reserve Semillon 95.0 Brokenwood Hunter Valley, Australia
53 Montrachet 95.0 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
54 Charmes-Chambertin 95.0 Joseph Roty Burgundy, France
55 Richebourg 95.0 Meo Camuzet Burgundy, France
56 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 95.0 Bryant Family Vineyard Napa Valley, United States
57 Krug Clos du Mesnil 95.0 Krug Champagne, France
58 Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières 95.0 Maison Leroy Burgundy, France
59 Clos de la Roche 95.0 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
60 Le Désir 95.0 Verite Wines California, United States
61 McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon Copper Mine Road 95.0 d'Arenberg South Australia, Australia
62 Château Ausone 95.0 Château Ausone Bordeaux, France
63 Vosne Romanee Les Brulees 95.0 Meo Camuzet Burgundy, France
64 Barolo Falletto di Serralunga 95.0 Bruno Giacosa Barolo, Italy
65 Montrachet 95.0 Marquis de Laguiche Burgundy, France
66 Wachstum Bodenstein Riesling Smaragd 95.0 Weingut Prager Wachau, Austria
67 Barolo 95.0 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo, Italy
68 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou 95.0 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou Bordeaux, France
69 Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrieres 95.0 Domaine Guy Roulot Burgundy, France
70 Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche 94.9 Joseph Drouhin Burgundy, France
71 Richebourg 94.8 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
72 Hill of Grace 94.7 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
73 The Dead Arm Shiraz 94.7 d'Arenberg South Australia, Australia
74 Millésimé 94.7 Jacques Selosse Champagne, France
75 Barolo Monfortino Riserva 94.6 Giacomo Conterno Piedmont, Italy
76 Harlan Estate 94.5 Harlan Estate Napa Valley, United States
77 Clos de Vougeot 94.5 Meo Camuzet Burgundy, France
78 Cornas 94.5 Auguste Clape Rhone, France
79 Cuvée Spéciale Les Chétillons Le Mesnil 94.5 Pierre Peters Champagne, France
80 Richebourg 94.5 Charles Noellat Burgundy, France
81 Bonnes Mares 94.5 Joseph Drouhin Burgundy, France
82 Cristal Rosé 94.3 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
83 Musigny 94.3 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Burgundy, France
84 Hermitage 94.3 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Rhône, France
85 Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 94.3 Domaine Georges Roumier Burgundy, France
86 Chambertin 94.3 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
87 Barolo Sperss 94.2 Angelo Gaja Barbaresco, Italy
88 Rosé vintage 94.0 Charles Heidsieck Champagne, France
89 EITELSBACHER Karthäuserhofberg "Eiswein" 94.0 Weingut Karthäuserhof Ruwer, Germany
90 Vintage Brut 94.0 Lanson Champagne, France
91 Musigny 94.0 Joseph Drouhin Burgundy, France
92 Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru Champ Gain 94.0 Domaine Étienne Sauzet Burgundy, France
93 Bones Mares 94.0 Robert Groffier Burgundy, France
94 Vieilles Vignes Françaises 94.0 Bollinger Champagne, France
95 Bâtard-Montrachet 94.0 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France
96 Meursault Perrières 94.0 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Burgundy, France
97 Turley Moore "Earthquake" Vineyard Zinfandel 94.0 Turley Wine Cellars Napa Valley, United States
98 Ruchottes-Chambertin 94.0 Domaine Christophe Roumier Burgundy, France
99 Chateau La Tour Haut Brion 94.0 Château La Tour Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
100 Puligny-Montrachet En La Richarde 94.0 Domaine D'Auvenay Burgundy, France


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