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Rhöne Vintage Report by Jaboulet: Summer was very dry with above average temperatures, more than 26°C in June and 36°C at the end of July. This more or less stopped the maturity process and delayed the change in colour of the grapes.
The difference with 2003 is that the weather was hot, but not scorching. The fresh nights meant the vines did not have the same stress as last year.
The beginning of August was similar with high temperatures, whereas the last two weeks were marked by rain, which nourished the vines that were suffering.
 

We started the harvest on the 14th September 2004 with dry weather and normal temperatures. This nice weather allowed us to harvest based on the level of maturity of the vines, when necessary we stopped harvesting to allow vines to reach optimum maturity. The only period of dampness was in the afternoon of September 14th when it rained for an hour, but then the sun and the wind took over. This rain was beneficial, but any more could have damaged the harvest.
The grapes are in very good condition, the alcohol levels are high and the acidity normal or superior. As there is a small phenolic maturity and little concentration, the wines are more delicate and less concen-trated, especially the Crozes Hermitage. In Hermitage, the alcohol levels are excellent, around 14°. The wines are, broadly speaking, a little less concentrated than in 2003, but certainly more well-balanced because of a nice acidity which brings out the aromas of red fruits.
The yields vary according to the different appellations, with a normal harvest in Hermitage, but a smaller one than usual in red Crozes Hermitage (average of 38hl).
 

The rains of August, together with the sun and the north wind in September, have enabled us to gather a very nice harvest which ended on the 5th October 2004 with Cornas 'Domaine de St Pierre', just be-fore the rain came back on October 6th !

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Vintage Report

Bordeaux Vintage Report by Château Palmer: Unlike the previous 2 vintages, the weather in 2004 was ideal without any excesses. Nothing disturbed the vines' normal growth cycle.

Summer started after a slightly rainy month of June. Even flowering with no shot berries was followed by moderate summer temperatures that slowed and lengthened the ripening process. The grapes developed slowly and evenly, ripening perfectly thanks to dry, sunny weather in September that also made it possible to wait patiently until each plot reached its peak. 

The grapes fermented gently for an average of 21 days. In certain cases, the emphasis was placed on extraction early in the vatting period to express all the fruit and richness of the grapes, while in other cases, long skin contact was preferred to enhance the wine's power. Compared to the 2003s, the 2004 vintage is more classically Bordeaux, offering a magnificent combination of all the elegance and finesse of our terroir with the richness and power of a very great year.

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Vintage Report

Napa Valley Vintage Report: Bud break occurred earlier than many vintners could remember and the trend carried forward throughout the growing season. Heat spikes occurred in June and at scattered intervals throughout the summer season. Grapes completed veraison early and ripeness with well developed sugars in all varieties was realized early. Growers held on as acid balance eventually caught up. Temperatures were steady into one of the earliest harvests in Napa Valley. Grape quality was very good with a crop that was smaller than average.

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Vintage Report

Australia 2004 Vintage Report

The Australian wine industry achieved a record vintage in 2004, with an estimated crush of 1.86 million tonnes—40% more than the drought affected 2003 vintage and 23% more than the previous record vintage of 1.51 million tonnes in 2002.

Increased crop levels were recorded across almost all varieties, with bearing areas up around 5% on 2003 and above average yields in virtually all parts of Australia.

 

Red winegrape production increased by 293,000 tonnes to 1.07 million tonnes (surpassing 1 million tonnes for the first time) and accounted for 57% of total production. Specialist white winegrape production (i.e. excluding the multi-purpose varieties of Sultana, Muscat Gordo Blanco and Waltham Cross) increased by 196,000 tonnes to 672,000 tonnes (representing 36% of total production). The substantial increase in red winegrapes will provide both a challenge and opportunity for the industry’s export sales program. The aggravated supply position relates primarily to cool climate production with the intake of warm climate red winegrapes considered to be more balanced with domestic and export demand for branded products at ‘popular premium’ price points. The increased intake of white winegrapes will assist in alleviating the shortage of some premium white varieties, especially Chardonnay, and a more balanced position is expected for most regions.

Good winter rainfalls and favourable weather conditions during spring and summer have delivered a disease free vintage of ‘above average’ to ‘outstanding’ quality across all regions. One of the longest vintages in recent times, the dry, warm and stable conditions boosted red winegrape production in particular. Both warm and cool climate regions exceeded quality and yield expectations in 2004.

Production of the top two specialist red varieties Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon increased by 43% and 41% respectively on the 2003 vintage. Shiraz production increased by 133,000 tonnes to 442,000 tonnes to maintain its dominance as Australia’s largest volume winegrape variety, accounting for 24% of total production. Cabernet Sauvignon production increased by 92,000 tonnes to 317,000 tonnes, accounting for 17% of total production. Merlot production increased by 35% to 125,000 tonnes, representing 7% of the total winegrape crush. Pinot Noir recorded a 52% increase on 2003, with production rising to 42,000 tonnes while Grenache production rose by 31% in 2004 to 26,000 tonnes.

 

Chardonnay recorded an increase of 95,000 tonnes to 329,000 tonnes compared to 2003, representing 18% of the total winegrape production. Semillon was up by 34% or 26,000 tonnes to 103,000 tonnes compared to 2003. Colombard also contributed to the vintage increase, with production up from 53,000 tonnes in 2003 to 72,000 tonnes in 2004. Riesling intake increased by 26% to 37,000 tonnes, but was overtaken by Sauvignon Blanc production which doubled to 43,000 tonnes. 

The production of multipurpose grapes was also favoured by seasonal conditions, with the crush of 122,000 tonnes up by 42,000 tonnes (52%) on 2003. When compared to the overall vintage, multipurpose grapes’ share declined from 30% of total production in 1994 to 7% in 2004.

There have been significant changes in the profile of Australian winegrape production over the past 10 years. Production has increased by 180% since 1994, driven by growth in export volumes of some 350% over the same period.

Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay now account for almost 60% of total production, up from 27% in 1994.

The projected production for 2005 and 2006 is 1.89* million tonnes and 1.95* million tonnes respectively. These projections indicate that, assuming ‘normal’ seasonal conditions, there will be a 2% increase in production in 2005 and a further 3% increase in production in 2006.

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Port Vintage Report by Taylor:  The 2003/2004 winter was very dry; having only rained 1/3 of the quantity registered the previous winter. With these conditions, and following a hot and dry season on the previous year, the growing season started with very low reserves of water. Budburst occurred from the 17th March, and until flowering only a further 30 mm of rain were recorded. The vines reacted to these extreme conditions by reducing the vigour of the canopies. Additionally the fertility of the vines was less both in the number of bunches as well as their size, with Tinta Roriz and Tinta Amarela being the most affected.

 

From Flowering to Veraison, which started in the A Grade vineyards on the 5th July, 18mm of rain was recorded in Vale de Mendiz. The lack of water during the early part of the growing season led to very little pressure from disease. Our concern in July was mainly one of doubting the vines capacity to ripen the grapes due to the drastic shortage of water.

 

In contrast to the previous summer where the extreme heat concentrated the grapes, the 2004 summer was particularly cool, with only one day above 40ºC being registered in Vale de Mendiz. However, it was the steady rains of mid-August, 38mm in Vale de Mendiz and 57mm at Vargellas, that saved the year and gave the vines the capacity to ripen the crop. A cool beginning of September resulted in the vintage starting later than normal during the week of the 20th September, by which time hot days quickly led the grapes to come in above 15º Baumé. The vintage stood out for the perfect weather conditions for the whole period. Grape yields were 25% down in relation to 2003 and the Ports produced from the Cima Corgo and Douro Superior are of a very high standard. The young Ports show good structure with very fresh berry fruit aromas, resulting from the cooler than normal ripening period.

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Italy Vintage Report by Tb: 2004 was the exact opposite of 2003: a long cold winter and wet spring pushed back the blooming period. An unusual long and warm summer and autumn as well as a surprisingly warm October with cold nights gave the grapes a stunning concentration, nuance and aroma. The end result was a bevy of exceptionally elegant wines, which looked forward to a long life, but could also be enjoyed young.

 

 

 

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The best wines of the 2004 vintage

Name Tb Producer Location
1 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 98.0 Bryant Family Vineyard Napa Valley, United States
2 Cabernet Sauvignon 97.5 Levy & McClellan Napa Valley, United States
3 Tychson Hill 97.3 Colgin Cellars Napa Valley, United States
4 Hill of Grace 96.7 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
5 Montrachet 96.7 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France
6 Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard 96.3 Marcassin Sonoma, United States
7 Montrachet 96.3 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
8 Eiswein Oberhäuser Brücke 96.3 Weingut Hermann Dönnhoff Nahe, Germany
9 Grange Hermitage 96.2 Penfolds South Australia, Australia
10 RunRig 96.1 Torbreck Barossa Valley, Australia
11 Herb Lamb Cabernet Sauvignon 96.0 Colgin Cellars Napa Valley, United States
12 Number 9 96.0 Kracher Neusiedlersee, Austria
13 Chevalier-Montrachet 96.0 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France
14 Nuits-Saint-Georges 96.0 Maison Leroy Burgundy, France
15 Barolo Monfortino Riserva 96.0 Giacomo Conterno Piedmont, Italy
16 Kiedricher Gräfenberg 96.0 Weingut Robert Weil Rheingau, Germany
17 Grange des Pères 96.0 Domaine de la Grange des Pères Languedoc-Roussillon, France
18 Rosé 96.0 Jacques Selosse Champagne, France
19 Number 10 96.0 Kracher Neusiedlersee, Austria
20 Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet 96.0 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France
21 Screaming Eagle 95.8 Screaming Eagle Napa Valley, United States
22 Corton-Charlemagne 95.8 Coche Dury Burgundy, France
23 St. Eden 95.7 Bond Estate Napa Valley, United States
24 Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto Riserva 95.7 Bruno Giacosa Barolo, Italy
25 Montrachet 95.7 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Burgundy, France
26 Riesling G-Max 95.6 Weingut Keller Rheinhessen, Germany
27 Grosset Gaia 95.5 Grosset Wines South Australia, Australia
28 Scarrone Vigna Vecchia 95.5 Vietti Piedmont, Italy
29 Barolo Cannubi 95.5 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Piedmont, Italy
30 Le Désir 95.5 Verite Wines California, United States
31 Aalto PS 95.5 Aalto Ribera del Duero, Spain
32 Kiedricher GräfenBerg Auslese 95.5 Weingut Robert Weil Rheingau, Germany
33 Redigaffi 95.5 Tua Rita Italy, Italy
34 Vieilles Vignes Françaises 95.4 Bollinger Champagne, France
35 Barolo Cerequio 95.3 Michele Chiarlo Piedmont, Italy
36 The Dead Arm Shiraz 95.3 d'Arenberg South Australia, Australia
37 Côte-Rôtie La Mouline 95.0 E.Guigal Rhône, France
38 Montrachet 95.0 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
39 Montrachet 95.0 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
40 Château de Fargues 95.0 Château de Fargues Sauternes, France
41 San Leonardo 95.0 Tenuta San Leonardo Trentino , Italy
42 La Joie Sonoma County 95.0 Verite Wines California, United States
43 Le Bout du Clos 95.0 Jacques Selosse Champagne, France
44 Astralis 95.0 Claredon Hills South-Australia, Australia
45 Cristal Vinothèque 95.0 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
46 Show Sparkling Shiraz 95.0 Seppelt Great Western, Australia
47 Barolo Romirasco 95.0 Poderi Aldo Conterno Piedmont, Italy
48 Sorí San Lorenzo 95.0 Angelo Gaja Barbaresco, Italy
49 Bâtard-Montrachet 95.0 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France
50 Luce 95.0 Luce della Vite Montalcino, Italy
51 Meshach 95.0 Grant Burge Wines South-Australia, Australia
52 Meursault Caillerets 95.0 Coche Dury Burgundy, France
53 Diana Madeline 95.0 Cullen Wines Margaret River, Australia
54 Imperial Gran Reserva 95.0 C.V.N.E /Cune Rioja, Spain
55 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 95.0 Pierro Margaret River, Australia
56 Flor de Pingus 95.0 Dominio de Pingus Ribera del Duero, Spain
57 Meursault 1er Cru Charmes 95.0 Domaine Guy Roulot Burgundy, France
58 L'Extravagant de Doisy Daëne 95.0 Château Doisy-Daëne Bordeaux, France
59 Baron de Chirel Reserva 95.0 Marqués de Riscal Rioja, Spain
60 Barolo Cascina Francia 95.0 Giacomo Conterno Piedmont, Italy
61 Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte 95.0 Bouchard Père & Fils Burgundy, France
62 Corton- Charlemagne Grand Cru 95.0 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Burgundy, France
63 La Tâche 94.9 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
64 Mount Edelstone 94.7 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
65 Salon 94.7 Salon Champagne, France
66 Kiedricher Gräfenberg Riesling EG 94.7 Weingut Robert Weil Rheingau, Germany
67 Batard-Montrachet 94.6 Domaine Ramonet Burgundy, France
68 Pinot Noir "Carter Vineyard" 94.5 Ken Wright Cellars Oregon, United States
69 Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrieres 94.5 Domaine Guy Roulot Burgundy, France
70 Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Malbec 94.5 Catena Zapata Mendoza, Argentina
71 Château Ausone 94.5 Château Ausone Bordeaux, France
72 La Muse 94.5 Verite Wines California, United States
73 Château Haut-Brion Blanc 94.5 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
74 Melbury 94.5 Bond Estate Napa Valley, United States
75 Dom Pérignon Rosé 94.5 Moët & Chandon Champagne, France
76 Unico 94.4 Bodegas Vega Sicilia Ribera el Duero, Spain
77 Harlan Estate 94.3 Harlan Estate Napa Valley, United States
78 Dom Ruinart Rosé 94.2 Ruinart Champagne, France
79 Comtes de Champagne 94.0 Taittinger Champagne, France
80 Dom Pérignon 94.0 Moët & Chandon Champagne, France
81 Chevalier-Montrachet 94.0 Vincent Girardin Burgundy, France
82 Château Climens 94.0 Château Climens Bordeaux, France
83 Berg Schlossberg Riesling 94.0 Georg Breuer Rheingau, Germany
84 Bin 798 RWT Shiraz 94.0 Penfolds South Australia, Australia
85 Chevalier-Montrachet 94.0 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
86 Chambertin-Clos de Bèze 94.0 Joseph Drouhin Burgundy, France
87 Old Block Shiraz 94.0 St Hallett Barossa Valley, Australia
88 La Romanée 94.0 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Burgundy, France
89 La Signora 94.0 Casa Freschi Langhorne Creek, Australia
90 Léoville-Las Cases 94.0 Château Léoville-Las Cases Saint-Julien, France
91 Brut Millésimé 94.0 Charles Heidsieck Champagne, France
92 Nicolás Catena Zapata 94.0 Catena Zapata Mendoza, Argentina
93 Richebourg 94.0 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
94 Cuvée Spéciale Les Chétillons Le Mesnil 94.0 Pierre Peters Champagne, France
95 Richebourg 94.0 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
96 Les Pavot 94.0 Peter Michael Winery Sonoma Valley, United States
97 Rosé vintage 94.0 Charles Heidsieck Champagne, France
98 Meursault 1er Cru Bouchères 94.0 Domaine Guy Roulot Burgundy, France
99 Schrader T6 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon 94.0 Schrader Cellars Napa Valley, United States
100 Shiraz Barossa Valley Bella's Garden 94.0 Two Hands Wines Barossa Valley, Australia

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