A sunny 2022 vintage with remarkable concentration and elegance
With shorter winters and tough summers, the consequences of global warming have been shaking up the cycle of the seasons for several years now, a phenomenon to which the 2022 vintage in Bordeaux is no exception. Hit by extreme conditions, the year 2022 marks the creation of a vintage of unexpected, even extraordinary quality. And yet, both plants and human teams were put to the test: frosts, crushing heat and hail - a combination of intense conditions hit the Bordeaux vineyards. Nothing suggested a happy ending, and yet, on arrival, the wines are superbly balanced, combining finesse, concentration, structure and freshness.
A real miracle for a vintage as sunny and extreme as this one. Beyond the exceptional quality of the red wines, 2022 is already a historic vintage because it marks a decisive step in the history of Bordeaux wines. 20 years ago, this vintage would not have known the success it has today. In fact, it is the very modernisation of the wine-making practices implemented by the Bordeaux properties that have allowed them to reach such a high level of quality. The year 2022 thus shows the way to face the future challenges of global warming and also symbolises the capacity of nature and humans to adapt. The relief felt at harvest time, however, reminds us that the tipping point has been approached and that it was only a matter of time before 2022 would offer a much less happy ending.
Extreme weather conditions mitigated by the terroir’s effect
While growth was well advanced thanks to a particularly mild end of winter, the infamous spring frosts finally made their appearance. The first nights of April were particularly destructive and impacted the Bordeaux vineyards to a greater or lesser extent depending on the sector. But if the weather conditions are constantly blowing hot and cold, it is indeed the high temperatures that will mostly charaterise the 2022 vintage. With its three heatwaves from June to August, the summer of 2022 reached the highest temperatures recorded since 2003.
This record temperature began very early in May, then gave way to a hot and unstable June. Numerous thunderstorms brought saving rain, but also very violent hailstorms, localised in the Médoc, in Blaye and in Fronsac. With temperatures reaching 41°C, the sweltering summer heat made life difficult for the Bordeaux vines, which were then short of water. True forces of nature, the vines developed less fully very early on in order to limit their demand for water, showing an incredible capacity to adapt. The clay soils and subsoils have allowed sufficient water reserves to be built up to relieve the vines, thus limiting their water stress.
Light showers from July to September brought modest but beneficial amounts of water, allowing the grapes to ripen. The significant diurnal temperature variations and the drop in water temperatures in the Gironde estuary finally brought a welcome cool at the end of the scorching summer. The terroir effect has been perhaps the most decisive element in the identity of Bordeaux wines in 2022.
A high level of know-how and technique as a symbol of a great vintage
In addition to the important terroir effect, the human factor plays a major role in the success of this extreme vintage of 2022. In the vineyard as well as in the cellar, the estates are now much better prepared to face and even do wonderfully well with sunny vintages. Visionaries, the estates have made it a point of honour to work their soils to mitigate the great heat, with a special mention for the plant cover. To mitigate the risks of under-ripening and over-ripening, the use of innovative tools and a plot-by-plot approach have enabled the harvesting of grapes of optimal quality. This precision is reflected in the cellar: grape selection, gentle extraction and infusion, low-temperature fermentation etc. The 2022 vintage is the result of a colossal amount of work. This singular year marks a turning point in the history of the Bordeaux vineyard, symbolising the capacity of nature and human to adapt to extreme conditions.
The 2022 Bordeaux red En Primeur wines: an unprecedented profile
The harvested grapes are extremely small and poor in juice, impacting on one hand the yields of the properties but refining the wines on the other. Gourmet and aromatic, the nose of the 2022 vintage expresses an enticing finesse, which could be surprising for such a sunny vintage. The palate is velvety and dense, enhanced by a tannic structure of exceptional quality. It is difficult to find a similar vintage to 2022 but it has the body of a 2009 combined with the soul of a 2016 with which it shares an exceptional tannic quality.
The 2022 En Primeur wines of Bordeaux's Left Bank
A powerful 2022 vintage in Margaux
In Margaux, the wines are more powerful and dense than usual. Rich in its great diversity of terroirs, this appellation reveals wines with varied profiles in this vintage, but always enveloped by the singular finesse that makes it so famous.
Pauillac shines in the 2022 vintage
Pauillac is an appellation that can show some reticence in sunny vintages, yet in 2022 most of the wines are true to the typical profile of the appellation: powerful, concentrated, with a massive tannic load and built for ageing. The fullness of the palate, the velvety texture and the finesse of the tannins lead us to an undeniable conclusion: 2022 is a great vintage for Pauillac.
Saint-Julien wines: small in quantity but great in quality
Although the quantities are very small, the quality of the 2022 Saint-Julien vintage is very high. With a striking elegance, the wines express a gourmet opulence in perfect balance with a poignant freshness.
The wines of Saint-Estèphe bring out the best of this sunny vintage
Despite an episode of hail in the north during the month of June, Saint-Estèphe is, according to the specialists, the most consistent appellation in its quality in the Médoc. The large proportion of clay pockets and clay subsoils enabled the Saint-Estèphe vineyards to get through the heat waves without damage. The ripeness was exceptional for this appellation which succeeds superbly in sunny vintages.
Pessac-Léognan: wines with varied profiles in 2022
With its wide variety of terroirs, Pessac-Léognan produced very different styles of wine in 2022, some of which stand out for their surprising aromatic freshness and balance. In the other Médoc appellations, such as Haut-Médoc, Moulis-en-Médoc or Listrac, some less famous labels have managed to produce wines of a high standard.
The 2022 En Primeur wines of Bordeaux’s Right Bank
Saint-Émilion produces a vintage for the history books
With 678 properties to its credit and an exceptional diversity of terroirs, Saint-Émilion offers extremely varied wine styles. It is therefore difficult to draw up a general portrait, but it is reasonable to think that this is the Bordeaux appellation that benefited the most from the character of the vintage. Much less affected than the rest of the Bordeaux region, Saint-Émilion reshuffled the cards in 2022: while the future of Merlot is being questioned in the context of global warming, the famous appellation has managed to produce great, fresh and balanced wines.
Pomerol: a great success for the 2022 vintage
Despite the low yields, Pomerol reveals a vintage of simply incredible density. The great clay soils of the appellation have been able to bring out the best of this sunny vintage thanks to the capacity of the soils to retain water, giving life to extremely concentrated and powerful wines. In short, this is an excellent 2022 vintage for Pomerol.
Bordeaux 2022 En Primeur white wines
The aromatic profiles of the 2022 Bordeaux white wines are gourmet, intense and delicate and already bring pleasure in their youth.
Sauternes and Barsac: a great vintage to discover in 2022
Here is a vintage that gives a smile to the estates of Sauternes and Barsac. Despite an episode of frost at the beginning of April, the 2022 vintage has finally brought together a sustainable quality and quantity for the creation of Bordeaux sweet wines. The very clayey soils of these appellations allowed the vines to resist the drought, delivering rich and aromatic wines in this vintage. All in all, this is a great vintage for Sauternes.