Rose 2023 Vintage Snapshot

Rose 2023 Vintage Snapshot

RWM Selections

The 2023 vintage presented more than its fair share of challenges to growers across viticultural France. A half-hearted winter— mild even by today’s standards—led to an early budbreak, and with it the attendant threat (once rare, now commonplace) of frost. Then, a remarkably wet May and June in most winegrowing areas ushered in horrifically intense mildew pressure which growers were forced to treat diligently and with startling frequency. Conditions then boomeranged into a July and August heat wave, with drought conditions stressing plants and vineyard workers alike, and blistering temperatures accelerating ripeness exponentially as harvest approached. As if that weren’t enough, harvest itself—performed under uncommonly sweltering conditions—was punctuated by outbursts of rain in many areas, and was thus conducted in stressful fits and starts. Difficulties aside, the rosés of the fraught 2023 vintage are overall refreshing and balanced, lacking the concentration of 2022 perhaps, but in a way that actually makes them more attractive as rosé wines. These 2023s tend to be paler in color and slightly lower in alcohol than their 2022 counterparts, with an underlying vein of classicism such as we haven’t seen for some time. Indeed, growers across France have been adjusting their working methods in recent years to accommodate the climate’s “new normal”— pruning later, retaining more leaf cover during the season, and harvesting earlier and more rapidly (especially important when maturity levels are skyrocketing during these atypically hot harvest periods)—and these adjustments have borne positive results, not only for whites and reds but for rosés as well.



In Provence, the 2023 growing season was generally more difficult the further inland one went, as summer’s heat wave was mitigated by the nearby Mediterranean Sea at places like Mas de Valériole and Domaine du Bagnol. At Domaine Gavoty, Roselyn’s son Antoine—full-time at the winery since 2022— remarked that mildew pressure necessitated three times the number of treatments employed in 2022, but they got well out in front of it and managed to harvest a relatively full crop. Situated closer to the sea, both Château Les Mesclances and Château Pradeaux suffered 15% losses due to mildew and drought, but their harmonious 2023 rosés clock in at lower alcohol levels than their 2022 counterparts. Harvest began nearly the same moment as in 2022 across the board in Provence, and high temperatures necessitated quick picking; Sébastien Genovesi at Bagnol employed more harvest than usual in 2023 and was forced to rent a third pressoir in order to keep up. Happily, the 2023 rosés offer a breeziness and balance that is welcome for the category and increasingly rare in these times of intense climate change.



Conditions in the Languedoc were diverse in the 2023 growing season, varying greatly depending on locale. Amidst the Terraces du Larzac’s high altitudes and notable diurnal temperature swings, Olivier Jullien of Mas Jullien harvested a relatively normal 25 hectoliters per hectare after a challenging season— as in Provence, one bookended by mildew pressure early on and intense drought afterward. The harvest for Olivier was long and staggered, as bunches frequently experienced scorched skins even as their insides struggled for phenolic maturity, thereby requiring him to drop significant quantities of fruit and to wait for full ripeness. Meanwhile, in Corbières, Domaine Faillenc Sainte-Marie suffered a devastating 50% loss in volume (harvesting just 15 hectoliters per hectare), as this zone near Mont Alaric experienced no rainfall whatsoever from July onward.


Southern Rhône

As in Provence, the southern Rhône experienced a breakneck shift from a rainy May-June to a bone-dry and solar July-August, with quantities down slightly at both Domaine La Manarine and Domaine Fenouillet due to drought conditions. A spell of rain in early September salvaged the crop, even as it necessitated a more challenging stop-and-start style of harvesting—a favorable side effect of which, however, was the extending of picking into cooler temperature ranges with larger diurnal shifts. Côtes du Rhône appellation authorities reduced allowable yields from 51 hectoliters per hectare to 41 in an attempt to combat potential overproduction—a decision which did not affect Gilles Gasq of La Manarine because his normal yields are already well below 41 hl/ha. Following suit with the 2023s from Provence, these southern Rhône rosés are lighter in color and lower in alcohol than last year’s, with more breathing room in their build.


Loire Valley

Though far-removed distance-wise from the south of France, the Loire Valley was not spared 2023’s numerous viticultural challenges. While early spring was relatively dry here in contrast to the south, the season became rainy toward the end of June, ramping up mildew pressure and requiring significant green harvesting to avoid overproduction; Philippe Gilbert remarked that he was on track for yields exceeding 100 hectoliters per hectare, for instance. Harvest conditions were warm and wet—an unpleasant combination that required growers to work with unduly quickness, to drop loads of fruit, and to stop and start frequently. At the end of the day, however, the Loire rosés of 2023—like their southern counterparts—are fresh and breezy, with modest alcohol levels yet with ample concentration.