In the northern Rhône, harvests were very staggered and ripeness was reached rather late. The young Syrah and Marsanne vines, harvested early as they are less resilient to bad weather, occasionally have some rather vegetal notes.
In Côte-Rôtie, the choice of harvesting dates was crucial. Certain wine growers got cold feet and harvested as soon as their grapes reached a good level of ripeness and some wines have vegetal traits. The best wine growers, by contrast, produced crunchy, flavoursome wines, probably with a relatively short cellar life, but very pleasant with food. Top blends from the most meticulous wine growers nevertheless have good ageing potential.
In Condrieu, old vines fared much better than young vines, which had to be harvested slightly too early. The best wines are svelte and slender in style, elegant but probably lacking great ageing potential.
The Cornas appellation also delivered fresh, fruity wines, with a rather subtle touch, as was the case with Crozes-Hermitage, which also produced many flavoursome, fresh and fruity wines, with even the occasional hint of Pinot. Here too, there are few wines with long ageing potential, but many that will be very pleasant for drinking straightaway or in the next few years.
In Saint-Joseph, the wines are less uniform as the appellation, which covers an elongated area, suffered more in the north than the south, where the best wine growers are concentrated, as luck would have it! Some of the top northern Rhône wines of 2012 even came from this area.
With its extremely extensive terroirs, Hermitage was very successful overall in 2012, especially for whites, which almost had a hint of Burgundy in their expressions. Both reds and whites were probably more successful than in 2011.