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Germany Vintage report by Wilhelm Weil / In retrospect, 2002 will be remembered for its very stormy weather - not only in Germany. Fortunately, the Rheingau was spared from severe storms, downpours and flooding. The year will also go down in history as the second warmest since 1860, when meteorological data was first recorded on a regular basis.

After an early and quick blossoming, well-balanced temperatures and precipitation during July and August in the Rheingau provided ideal growing conditions for the Riesling vines. Summer-like weather continued into September, with warm days and cool nights, which led to an optimal ripening of the crop.
 

 

Alas, there was no repeat of the "golden October" we experienced in 2001. It doubtlessly would have enabled the 2002 vintage to have qualified as a vintage of the century. Yet, thanks to the quality preservation measures we practice in our vineyards, as well as selective harvesting, the variable weather conditions from mid-October on did not adversely affect our overall quality.
As such - even without the benefit of favorable weather in October - 2002 is a phenomenal vintage. During the regular harvest period, the exceptionally ripe and healthy crop yielded first-rate Kabinett and Spätlese qualities: superb dry wines, including a "First Growth" from the Gräfenberg site. In due course, the grapes began to shrivel and we were able to harvest berries with must weights of up to 200° Oechsle, thus ensuring a supply of lusciously sweet wines, too.

During a brief, frosty intermezzo in the second week of December we harvested Eiswein - and thus, for the 14th year in a row, Weingut Robert Weil has been able to harvest every quality category possible, from QbA to Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein.
In all, the high degrees of ripeness and extract, as well as the very lively, ripe acidity of the 2002 crop, yielded wines with a wealth of fruit and concentrated flavor.The 1976 vintage is the most recent predecessor with average must weights as high as those of 2002. The must weights of grapes for our dry "Gutswein" (house wine) at the start of the harvest and during the main harvest, for example, ranged from 85°-98° Oechsle.

Yields in 2002 averaged 55 hl/ha - slightly higher than usual.

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Vintage Report

Bordeaux Vintage Report by Château Palmer: After a dry mild winter, bud break occurred in late March. The weather at the end of May was rainy and chilly (less than 15° C) at Palmer during flowering, which caused millerandage (abnormal fruit set) and coulure (shot berries). Only Petit Verdot, a late-ripening variety, was spared. Véraison (colour change marking the beginning of the fruit ripening stage), began very early as well as relatively slowly. Things speeded up, however, thanks to the beautiful weather that set in on August 11th. The rain in the month of August had little effect on the grapes due to the accumulated water stress affecting the vines for the first 6 months of the year. Vine nourishment and growth came to a halt as the plant's vigour was directed towards ripening the grapes, which became quite concentrated. September was very sunny with a dry wind and cool nights. Spared by a violent hail storm and strong rains that struck on September 20th (just 5 mm of precipitation at Palmer), the grapes were picked at peak ripeness, with excellent sugar and a greater concentration of phenolic compounds than any recent vintage. 

The vintage took place under bright skies without a drop of rain. In light of the high sugar levels and ease with which excellent colour and tannins were able to be extracted from the skins, fermentation took place at low temperatures with moderate pumping over and fairly short maceration. The wine is quite powerful and fruity, tremendously fresh, and displays beautiful balance between acidity, alcohol, and tannin.

 

Bordeaux by Tb / The year 2002 raised hopes of a good vintage based on the warm period early in the year. June crushed the hopes as rainy weather hampered fertilisation. Merlot had more than its share of the rain, with the result that the harvest was small. The thick-skinned Cabernet Sauvignon succeeded well, and the Médoc and Graves producers have only good words for their wines. The quality level is illustrated by Parker giving more than 90 points to more than 40 wines. Latour and Ausone deserve a special mention. The 2002 vintage suffered from the low sales of 2001, which has led to producers raising their 2002 prices to increase demand for 2001.

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Vintage Report

Napa Valley ans Australia Vintage Report: The Napa 2002 vintage will be remembered by a long, mostly mild growing season, followed by warm weather near the end of September that pushed the ripening level upward, concentrated fruit flavors and condensed the harvest. An early April frost and May rains gave way to a mild summer with ideal growing conditions - warm days and cool, even cold, nights. Overall, the grape crop was balanced, showing excellent intense colors and flavor concentrations. While per-acre tonnage was generally lower than average, the overall yield of the entire Napa Valley appellation was average to above average.

 

The Australia 2002 was a cold year with plenty of Winter and Spring rain to back the vines up for the year.  Summer and Autumn were completely dry.  Summer was the coldest on record.  Autumn had one of the warmest endings.  All this meant that we had very low yields of grapes and that produced wines for great style.  The grapes had very good fragrance (both nose and taste, more flowery than usual), good concentration and good acidity.  A great year for whites and possibly some reds.  However, it was important to pick the grapes very ripe, and keep nitrogen to a minimum.

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Champagne Vintage Report by Richard Geoffroy, Dom Pérignon and Salon : The 2002 harvestThe spring was warm and dry, with no significant frost and near-perfect flowering. The summer was marked by long sunny periods, interspersed with regular cloudy and rainy spells. The unexpectedly perfect weather just before the harvest compensated for the heavy rains of late August and early September. The vines were in good health, and the dehydration of the grape berries helped them reach new heights of ripeness. The harvest began between September 12 and 28.

 

Vintage Report by Salon: What a year 2002 turned out to be ! In Champagne, particularly in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, weather conditions were notably unsettled, swinging between cool and warm, rain and dry : but no harsh frosts, no devastating downpours, and almost no hail. As a result the vines could not have been healthier. Pollen measurements at flowering indicated an abundant harvest – possibly too abundant – with bunches gaining weight fast. Would quality be up to scratch? While cautious growers thinned the crop, the issue resolved itself naturally as summer progressed, beautiful warm days concentrating the fruit and restoring perfect balance. The harvest began in mid-September, the 16th in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, in a cool snap with bright blue skies. The chardonnay grapes, harvested at just the right yields, turned out to be rich and powerful, every grape a reflection of its conditions. Add to this the human element – supreme effort, artistry, love – and the result is a wine of refinement, precision, balance; glinting, captivating like a samurai sword. For the image of battle could not be more apposite given the audacity and power, serene tension and selfassurance present in this 2002 vintage, here for us now to savour. Not just the soul of Salon, but its triumph.

 

Champagne Vintage Report by BBR

After some good to good plus vintage years for Champagne wines, including the classic 1995 and the somewhat inscrutable 1996, here at last is a year to match the halcyon days of 19881989 and 1990three stunning champagne vintages in a row. Whether it will come to resemble the rich 1990 or the more elegant and restrained 1988, only time will tell although early indications point towards the latter. 

A cold, partially frozen winter served to cleanse the vines, and a mild late Spring set the scene for perfect conditions at the important time of flowering (mid June). Mid summer was warm but by no means hot, but a series of excellent dry and sunny days from 10 September really served to crystallise the latent potential. The natural ABV level of over 10.5% was exceptional, and matched by goodish levels of acidity, not quite as high as 1996, but good enough to ensure balance in the vins clairs. 
 

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Italy Vintage Report by Tb: 2002 turned out to be the most trying crop year since 1992. Spring came late and May saw record rainfall; it was a cold and wet start. In Tuscany a hot June did not help very much, as the average temperatures from July to October remained below the normal mean and rains were heavier than usual. The crops were even harvested in the rain. In Piedmont the entire growing season was chilly, damp and plagued by hail. Piedmont’s late-blooming Nebbiolo grapes, however, were saved by an indian summer, and the Barolos and Barbarescos ultimately did relatively well. Wines from this vintage should be drunk while young.

 

 

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The best wines of the 2002 vintage

Name Tb Producer Location
1 Pinot Noir "Canary Hill Vineyard" 98.0 Ken Wright Cellars Oregon, United States
2 St. Eden 97.3 Bond Estate Napa Valley, United States
3 Père de Famille 97.0 Betz Family Winery Washington State, United States
4 Harlan Estate 97.0 Harlan Estate Napa Valley, United States
5 Number 11 97.0 Kracher Neusiedlersee, Austria
6 Chambertin 97.0 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
7 Cristal Vinothèque 96.7 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
8 Screaming Eagle 96.7 Screaming Eagle Napa Valley, United States
9 Hill of Grace 96.7 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
10 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 96.5 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac Leognan, France
11 Chambertin 96.5 Dugat-Py Burgundy, France
12 Corton-Charlemagne 96.4 Coche Dury Burgundy, France
13 Melbury 96.3 Bond Estate Napa Valley, United States
14 Richebourg 96.3 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
15 Tychson Hill 96.3 Colgin Cellars Napa Valley, United States
16 Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 96.0 Jacques Selosse Champagne, France
17 Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 96.0 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
18 La Romanée 96.0 Bouchard Père & Fils Burgundy, France
19 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 96.0 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
20 Cristal Rosé Vinothèque 96.0 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
21 Romanée Conti 96.0 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
22 Richebourg 96.0 Domaine Jean Grivot Burgundy, France
23 Meursault Les Rougeots 96.0 Coche Dury Burgundy, France
24 Clos des Vougeot 96.0 Domaine Frederic Esmonin Burgund, France
25 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 96.0 Spottswoode Winery Napa Valley, United States
26 Just for the love of it 96.0 Sine Qua Non California, United States
27 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 96.0 Château Montelena Napa Valley, United States
28 La Romanée 95.9 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Burgundy, France
29 Krug Clos du Mesnil 95.8 Krug Champagne, France
30 Grange Hermitage 95.7 Penfolds South Australia, Australia
31 Château Haut-Brion 95.6 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
32 Millésimé 95.6 Jacques Selosse Champagne, France
33 Le Montrachet 95.5 Olivier Leflaive Burgundy, France
34 ‘Traditionale’ Riesling 95.5 Pikes South Australia, Australia
35 Mount Edelstone 95.5 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
36 Dominus 95.5 Dominus Estate Napa Valley, United States
37 Grosset Gaia 95.5 Grosset Wines South Australia, Australia
38 Fleur du Passion 95.5 Diebolt-Vallois Champagne, France
39 Charmes Chambertin 95.5 Claude Dugat Burgundy, France
40 Cristal Rosé 95.4 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
41 Kiedricher Gräfenberg Riesling TBA 95.3 Weingut Robert Weil Rheingau, Germany
42 Amour de Deutz Brut 95.3 Deutz Champagne, France
43 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 95.3 Quilceda Creek Washington, United States
44 Corton-Charlemagne 95.0 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
45 Montrachet 95.0 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
46 Kiedricher Gräfenberg Riesling TBA Goldkapsel 316 95.0 Weingut Robert Weil Rheingau, Germany
47 Torre Muga 95.0 Bodegas Muga Rioja, Spain
48 Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard 95.0 Marcassin Sonoma, United States
49 Maya 95.0 Dalla Valle Napa Valley, United States
50 Pommard Rugiens 1er Cru 95.0 Vincent Girardin Burgundy, France
51 Batard-Montrachet 95.0 Domaine Ramonet Burgundy, France
52 Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 95.0 Domaine Georges Roumier Burgundy, France
53 Dom Pérignon P2 95.0 Moët & Chandon Champagne, France
54 Musigny 95.0 Domaine Georges Roumier Burgundy, France
55 Musigny 95.0 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
56 IX Estate 95.0 Colgin Cellars Napa Valley, United States
57 Corton-Charlemagne 95.0 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
58 Blankiet Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Paradise Hills 95.0 Blankiet Estate Napa Valley, United States
59 Number 7 95.0 Kracher Neusiedlersee, Austria
60 Musigny 95.0 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
61 Clos Vougeot 95.0 Rene Engel Burgundy, France
62 Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon 95.0 Howard Park Wines Western Australia, Australia
63 Millésimé 95.0 Charles Heidsieck Champagne, France
64 Brunello di Montalcino 95.0 Soldera Montalcino, Italy
65 Château Talbot 95.0 Château Talbot Bordeaux, France
66 Clos de Vougeot 95.0 Domaine Robert Arnoux Bourgogne, France
67 Montrachet 95.0 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France
68 IX Estate Syrah 95.0 Colgin Cellars Napa Valley, United States
69 Cristal 95.0 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
70 Dom Pérignon Rosé 94.8 Moët & Chandon Champagne, France
71 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 94.8 Bryant Family Vineyard Napa Valley, United States
72 Polish Hill Riesling 94.8 Grosset Wines South Australia, Australia
73 Basket Press Shiraz 94.8 Rockford South Australia, Australia
74 Chambertin 94.7 Bouchard Père & Fils Burgundy, France
75 Montrachet 94.7 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Burgundy, France
76 Salon 94.7 Salon Champagne, France
77 Charmes-Chambertin 94.6 Dugat-Py Burgundy, France
78 Krug Vintage 94.6 Krug Champagne, France
79 Rare 94.5 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, France
80 Polish Hill River Riesling 94.5 O'Leary Walker Wines Clare Valley, Australia
81 Number 6 94.5 Kracher Neusiedlersee, Austria
82 Grands Echézeaux 94.5 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
83 Meshach 94.5 Grant Burge Wines South-Australia, Australia
84 Chambertin 94.4 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
85 Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 94.3 Domaine Dujac Burgundy, France
86 Argonne 94.3 Henri Giraud Champagne, France
87 Comtes de Champagne Rosé 94.2 Taittinger Champagne, France
88 Meursault 94.2 Coche Dury Burgundy, France
89 Dom Pérignon 94.1 Moët & Chandon Champagne, France
90 Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 94.0 Caymus Vineyards Napa Valley, United States
91 Vintage 94.0 Jacquesson Champagne, France
92 Clos Cazals 94.0 Claude Cazals France, France
93 Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Le Cailleret 94.0 Domaine de Montille Burgundy, France
94 Meursault Charmes 94.0 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Burgundy, France
95 Latriciers-Chambertin 94.0 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
96 Dom Pérignon Oenothèque 94.0 Moët & Chandon Champagne, France
97 Château Doisy-Vedrines 94.0 Château Doisy-Vedrines Sauternes, France
98 Cuvée des Caudalies Rosé 94.0 De Sousa & Fils Champagne, France
99 Les Clos de Pompadour 94.0 Pommery Champagne, France
100 Puligny-Montrachet Pucelles 94.0 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France

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Botmaskop 2015, Delaire Graff
Musigny 2010, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé
Hugo Grüner Veltliner 2016, Weingut Markus Huber
Chateau Certan de May 2009, Château Certan de May