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Yves Gras on the 2008 vintage

Like every year, Robert Parkers has visited the Domaine Santa Duc at the end of august, to taste the wines of the last two vintages. An occasion for Yves to review 2008, a vintage that has been hastily denounced by the press. Although the biggest default of this year simply might be its position between 2007 and 2009.

“Monsieur Parker”, I’ve told him,” 2008 is good! Some people did a great job…”

A reminder: Springtime in the Rhone Valley first was dominated by cool and wet conditions. Around flowering, though, weather was rather dry and warm, and after a hot and summerly month of July it turned cool again in August. Frequent rainfalls allowed slow and regular ripening of the grapes. Some heavy local thunderstorms at the end of summer caused some damage on tender grape varieties, such as Syrah or Cinsault.

"Watch out, as the 2008 vintage might bewitch you, even if it looked like the weather conditions would condemn the harvest in advance: a difficult, cool year, sometimes even with hail and heavy rain storms. (…)
Positive effects of those climatic variations were concentrated juices due to low yields, interesting acidities preserved by low temperatures. Fresh northern mistral winds also led to well adjusted alcohol contents because of the slow ripening of the grapes. (…)" Antoine Gebelle and Roberto Petronio wrote those words in the renowned Revue du Vin de France June 2009. And a lot of wines from 2008 nowadays confirm their judgement.

“Concentrations were not sufficient for the Grand Grenache”, Yves explains,”but I made a Haut Garrigues this year, and it was a very good wine. However, the press did not support the 2008 vintage and one may call it “autodestructif” to edit a grand cuvee under this circumstances. I like the wines of 2008 very much. They are well balanced and fresh but also show maturity and power. Just taste it, and you will find quit a lot of wine in your glass."

Well, you got the message, best you taste the wines of 2008 yourself and judge them. Like every year, it is a question of taste.

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