Vintage 1970, one of the most prolific of the decade

by Lou Heriche

Bordeaux 1970, a vintage of abundant quality

Thanks to favorable climatic conditions, 1970 was a year of great abundance. In fact, despite a few fluctuations, the spring allowed for successful flowering, followed by a very hot and dry July, then an August in which sunny heat alternated with coolness and rain. A long, warm ripening period led to an abundant and successful harvest in early October.

Vine flowering period
Vine flowering period

Atypically, most grape varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot) reached full ripeness at almost the same time. The overall quality of the vintage is very good, with high alcohol content and a complex evolution over time.

Burgundy 1970, a record vintage in terms of quantity

Côte de Beaune vineyards in Burgundy

Apart from a gloomy start to spring, weather conditions were excellent. Growing conditions were well above average, with early flowering. To begin with, the two months between May and June were conducive to hot weather, resulting in excellent flowering. July saw the heat gradually settle in. August was a little cooler, allowing the vines not to suffer too much from the heat. Then September and October hit hard. Hot weather and almost permanent sunshine set in.

Finally, with no losses during the difficult periods, the 1970 vintage was a very prolific one, indeed one of the most important since 1950. Although the 1970 vintage was of good quality, it proves that it is possible to produce good wines even with quantity.

Vallée du Rhône 1970, a hot vintage

If drought had not struck the Rhone Valley region, the 1970 vintage could have been an exceptional one. Late spring was warm and dry, allowing an excellent start to flowering. Rainfall in June provided sufficient moisture for the soils. Conditions were perfect until the arrival of a heat wave and almost no rain in the region. This had no devastating consequences, however, and there were no losses in the vineyards.

Rhône Valley vineyards

The result is quality wines, even if they sometimes lack freshness. Some appellations have produced excellent wines, notably Hermitage and Cornas to the north and Châteauneuf-du-Pape further south.

Our selection of the 1970 vintage



Rated 96/100 by Robert Parker – The Wine Advocate

“What more appropriate champagne than vintage Dom Pérignon to propose marriage? A moderately deep golden color indicates its age, without being excessively dark. A vibrant, complex nose of pear, almond, marzipan and butter. Incredibly vibrant and fresh. The palate has superb acidity, nutty and citrus notes, a sweet, honeyed wine. Delicious.”

Tasted in July 2004



Rated 5/5 by Michael Broadbent

“A blend of contrasts, delicacy and bright fruit, vigorous, ripe tannins, an excellent 1970.”

Tasted in June 1995



Rated 16/20 by Jancis Robinson

“Round, ripe, earthy open and complex fleshy, cedar wood, damp earth aromas, touch of volatile acidity, supple palate and tannins, firm acidity elegant Pauillac, candied and dried fruits, at its peak not to age any longer.”

Tasted in July 2009

You may also like…