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home:: LEARN ABOUT RIOJA:: Harvests:: 1998

Harvests

1998 HARVEST

Official vintage rating: "VERY GOOD".

Volume of wine approved: 273,560,471 litres.

- Red wine: 227.98 million litres.
- White wine: 19.68 million litres.
- Rosé wine: 25.60 million litres.

Growth cycle.

Throughout the growth cycle of the 1998 vintage rainfall was less than the previous year's, although evenly distributed. Average temperatures were higher than the average for the previous for years. Budding was fairly positive although somewhat delayed. Flowering began around 20 May, and berries were fully set by 20 June, thanks to good weather, with mild rainfall and temperatures. There were high numbers of clusters in the Garnacha vines with little coulure. There were fewer bunches in the Viura and Tempranillo vines, although the Tempranillo clusters were noticeably large. The Viura grapes developed late and there was a certain amount of "hens and chickens" while the foliage developed significantly. There was some wind damage in June, mainly because of the excessive length of the green shoots. Veraison began towards 20 July but it was considerably slowed down towards 10 August, when strong southerly winds made temperatures rise significantly. Generally, the development was even and quite good.

In general terms, the growth cycle of the 1998 vintage enjoyed excellent weather, ideally suited for grape development. This led to August forecasts of an exceptional harvest both in terms of quantity and quality. This optimism was dampened to a certain extent after harvest began on 15 September by low temperatures and rains, which slowed the ripening process. However, harvest became widespread after 12 October throughout the Wine region, with excellent weather which enabled winegrowers to stagger grape picking. The 1998 harvest ended on 3 November. This late, staggered harvest ensured optimal ripening and cool night temperatures slowed fermentation. This is particularly desirable, as it allows for increased overpumping during fermentation of red wines and better colour extraction. Grapes were harvested in a healthy state, with moderate alcohol potential and colour intensity in those harvested at the beginning of the season (suitable for making young wines). The grapes picked during the latter part of the harvest (over 70% of the total) had higher alcohol potential, good colour intensity and high polyphenol levels. So, quality parameters were met both for making young, fruity wines and well-balanced wines with sufficient alcohol content and colour intensity to make them suitable for ageing and for succeeding the excellent 94, 95 and 96 vintages. Production reached a historical record of 386.7 kg of grapes.

CONTACT

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  • Tel.020 7759 7400
  • rioja@phippspr.co.uk
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