Vintage 2003 ∗∗∗∗
A hot and dry summer made 2003 the year with the smallest harvest in the last few decades. After an unusually wet November of the previous year, the soils in the vineyards were well supplied with water for the winter, although the cold season did not live up to its name for weeks on end; the first snow did not fall until the end of January and really cold winter weather did not materialize until February. In March the thermometer rose again, but the nights remained cold. That put a damper on the vegetation, and it did not show the first real signs of new life until the second half of March. With a typical April bringing mild temperatures and a little rain, the vegetation soon corresponded to an average year. May was very warm and sunny, and the 30°C mark was reached for the first time that year. The weather was equally hot and above all dry in the following summer months, which went down in the annals with record temperatures, minimal precipitation and hurricane-strength gusts of winds. It is worth stressing that the hot weather was not limited to the main summer months but was the dominant feature from May to August. Nor did the air cool down very much at night, with the thermometer often sinking by just a few degrees. There was no rain during the harvest weeks, either, and – with must weights well above average, and the grapes in excellent condition – all the criteria were met for a very good vintage.