Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vintage 2003
Year of all weather records, in Châteauneuf-du-Pape as elsewhere, the 2003 vintage in our appellation was marked during the vegetative period by two phenomena:
- An important drought since the rainfall shows a total of 132 mm of rain over the period from February to August 2003, of which only 50 mm for the months of May to August.
- Hot temperatures with 83 days above 30°C compared to 46 days in a normal year.
These meteorological data explain the fact that a majority of the plots of white grapes and syrah were harvested in the second half of August. The year 2003 thus appears as a record year in terms of precocity.
The harvest of black grenaches, the majority grape of the appellation Châteauneuf-du-Pape, began around September 10 to end in early October.
The combination of drought and ideal climatic conditions (clear and windy weather during ripening) made it possible to obtain healthy harvests of very high quality. The phenolic maturity being reached with sometimes high technological maturities, the micro-precipitation of the end of August allowed to stimulate the accumulation of polyphenols and anthocyanins.
The white wines present balances on freshness, with a good breadth and display very fruity aromas.
The colouring of red wines is quite remarkable, especially on grenaches, because of the rapid diffusion of colouring matter during maceration. The wines are balanced with good tannic maturities, rich and dense. They present a lot of fruit (fresh fruit and jam) and elegance for this exceptional vintage.
A total of 102,000 hectolitres of wine were produced out of the 3,150 ha in production (95,700 of which were red and 6,300 of which were white), a yield of 32 hl/hectare, slightly lower than the 10-year average (33 hl out of 35 authorised by the Decree of Designation).
As for the stocks at the property, they amounted to 137.000 hl on 31 July last.
With more than 50% of the volumes produced annually sold on foreign markets, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation remains a sure value of French exports of wines and spirits. Despite an unfavourable exchange rate between the euro and the US dollar, shipments to the USA remain important but require a combination of qualitative efforts and commercial dynamism.
Although it enjoys a privileged status in the United Kingdom compared to other French appellations, the producers of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are aware that this almost idyllic situation is no less fragile. From this observation flows the need to continue to occupy the ground in this market culturally open to wines of the countries of the southern hemisphere. This is the reason why the Federation decided to include in the program promotional actions planned in 2004 the organization of an export mission to the British capital.
Finally, the 2003 vintage will remain in the memories of the winemakers of the appellation as the vintage of the 80 years of the Local Union (1923) and the 40 years of the Federation of Producers (1963).