2009 was an excellent vintage in Alsace that produced lovely, ripe wines with great concentration and depth. The previous winter was mild and very dry, and bud-break got off to an early start when spring arrived. Ample rain and warm temperatures in May kept the vines’ progress moving at a good clip, and there was a hot spell in late May that set records. Early ripening sites finished flowering before the end of the month, but others got caught out in early June when temperatures dropped dramatically.
July was about average in terms of rainfall and temperature, and the stage was set for a good-sized, early harvest. August was mostly hot and dry, and veraison took place in good conditions, compressed and even, which made up for some of the disparity in bunches from the split flowering in June.
Ripening slowed at some sites in the weeks leading up to harvest, as hot, dry conditions put stress on the vines. Many growers worried about acidities dropping and picked on the early side to keep the wines fresh. As a result, many of the 2009s show slightly lower acidity than the 2008s. Warm days and cool nights returned in mid September, allowing other growers to pick over a wide window for optimal ripeness. Grapes came in healthy with no damage from rot or disease.