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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 Harlan Estate 97.1 Harlan Estate Napa Valley, United States
4 Chambertin 97.0 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
5 Number 11 97.0 Kracher Neusiedlersee, Austria
6 Père de Famille 97.0 Betz Family Winery Washington State, United States
7 Screaming Eagle 96.7 Screaming Eagle Napa Valley, United States
8 Cristal Vinothèque 96.7 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
9 Hill of Grace 96.7 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
10 Chambertin 96.5 Dugat-Py Burgundy, France
11 Corton-Charlemagne 96.5 Coche Dury Burgundy, France
12 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 96.5 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac Leognan, France
13 Krug Clos du Mesnil 96.5 Krug Champagne, France
14 Richebourg 96.3 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
15 Melbury 96.3 Bond Estate Napa Valley, United States
16 Tychson Hill 96.3 Colgin Cellars Napa Valley, United States
17 Vintage Blanc de Blancs 96.0 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
18 Cristal Rosé Vinothèque 96.0 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
19 Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 96.0 Jacques Selosse Champagne, France
20 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 96.0 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
21 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 96.0 Château Montelena Napa Valley, United States
22 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 96.0 Spottswoode Winery Napa Valley, United States
23 Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 96.0 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
24 Romanée Conti 96.0 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
25 La Romanée 96.0 Bouchard Père & Fils Burgundy, France
26 Clos des Vougeot 96.0 Domaine Frederic Esmonin Burgund, France
27 Just for the love of it 96.0 Sine Qua Non California, United States
28 Richebourg 96.0 Domaine Jean Grivot Burgundy, France
29 La Romanée 95.9 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Burgundy, France
30 Grange Hermitage 95.7 Penfolds South Australia, Australia
31 Château Haut-Brion 95.6 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
32 Montrachet 95.6 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Burgundy, France
33 Millésimé 95.6 Jacques Selosse Champagne, France
34 Le Montrachet 95.5 Olivier Leflaive Burgundy, France
35 Fleur du Passion 95.5 Diebolt-Vallois Champagne, France
36 Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 95.5 Domaine Georges Roumier Burgundy, France
37 Charmes Chambertin 95.5 Claude Dugat Burgundy, France
38 ‘Traditionale’ Riesling 95.5 Pikes South Australia, Australia
39 Grosset Gaia 95.5 Grosset Wines South Australia, Australia
40 Mount Edelstone 95.5 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
41 Dominus 95.5 Dominus Estate Napa Valley, United States
42 Cristal Rosé 95.5 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
43 Salon 95.4 Salon Champagne, France
44 Amour de Deutz Brut 95.3 Deutz Champagne, France
45 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 95.3 Quilceda Creek Washington, United States
46 Kiedricher Gräfenberg Riesling TBA 95.3 Weingut Robert Weil Rheingau, Germany
47 Kiedricher Gräfenberg Riesling TBA Goldkapsel 316 95.0 Weingut Robert Weil Rheingau, Germany
48 Clos de Vougeot 95.0 Domaine Robert Arnoux Bourgogne, France
49 Number 7 95.0 Kracher Neusiedlersee, Austria
50 Corton-Charlemagne 95.0 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
51 Blankiet Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Paradise Hills 95.0 Blankiet Estate Napa Valley, United States
52 IX Estate Syrah 95.0 Colgin Cellars Napa Valley, United States
53 Pommard Rugiens 1er Cru 95.0 Vincent Girardin Burgundy, France
54 Corton-Charlemagne 95.0 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
55 Clos Vougeot 95.0 Rene Engel Burgundy, France
56 Montrachet 95.0 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
57 IX Estate 95.0 Colgin Cellars Napa Valley, United States
58 Dom Pérignon P2 95.0 Moët & Chandon Champagne, France
59 Montrachet 95.0 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France
60 Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon 95.0 Howard Park Wines Margaret River, Australia
61 Millésimé 95.0 Charles Heidsieck Champagne, France
62 Château Talbot 95.0 Château Talbot Bordeaux, France
63 Musigny 95.0 Domaine Georges Roumier Burgundy, France
64 Musigny 95.0 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
65 Torre Muga 95.0 Bodegas Muga Rioja, Spain
66 Brunello di Montalcino 95.0 Soldera Montalcino, Italy
67 Batard-Montrachet 95.0 Domaine Ramonet Burgundy, France
68 Musigny 95.0 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
69 Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard 95.0 Marcassin Sonoma, United States
70 Cristal 94.8 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
71 Basket Press Shiraz 94.8 Rockford South Australia, Australia
72 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 94.8 Bryant Family Vineyard Napa Valley, United States
73 Polish Hill Riesling 94.8 Grosset Wines South Australia, Australia
74 Chambertin 94.7 Bouchard Père & Fils Burgundy, France
75 Charmes-Chambertin 94.6 Dugat-Py Burgundy, France
76 Krug Vintage 94.6 Krug Champagne, France
77 Number 6 94.5 Kracher Neusiedlersee, Austria
78 Meshach 94.5 Grant Burge Wines South-Australia, Australia
79 Polish Hill River Riesling 94.5 O'Leary Walker Wines Clare Valley, Australia
80 Maya 94.5 Dalla Valle Napa Valley, United States
81 Grands Echézeaux 94.5 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
82 Chambertin 94.4 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
83 Rare 94.3 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, France
84 Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 94.3 Domaine Dujac Burgundy, France
85 Argonne 94.3 Henri Giraud Champagne, France
86 Comtes de Champagne Rosé 94.2 Taittinger Champagne, France
87 Meursault 94.2 Coche Dury Burgundy, France
88 Vintage 94.0 Jacquesson Champagne, France
89 Clos Cazals 94.0 Claude Cazals France, France
90 Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts 94.0 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
91 Niepoort Vintage 94.0 Niepoort Douro, Portugal
92 Musigny 94.0 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Burgundy, France
93 Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 94.0 Caymus Vineyards Napa Valley, United States
94 Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 94.0 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Burgundy, France
95 Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard 94.0 Marcassin Sonoma, United States
96 Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Le Cailleret 94.0 Domaine de Montille Burgundy, France
97 Château Doisy-Vedrines 94.0 Château Doisy-Vedrines Sauternes, France
98 Les Clos de Pompadour 94.0 Pommery Champagne, France
99 Meursault Les Narvaux 94.0 Domaine D'Auvenay Burgundy, France
100 Cuvée des Caudalies Rosé 94.0 De Sousa & Fils Champagne, France

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