Embark on a sensory journey through the enchanting Bordeaux wine region with Oliver Dixon, Head of Fine Wine at Le Clos. Recently, Oliver had the privilege of visiting some of the most prestigious estates, including Château Margaux and Château Lafite Rothschild, to taste the highly anticipated 2022 En Primeur wines.
Delve deep into the subtle nuances and complexities that define the exquisite 2022 vintage and uncover the secrets and techniques behind the unparalleled quality of these remarkable wines.
OVERVIEW OF THE 2022 VINTAGE
In 2022, Europe experienced a return to warm and dry conditions after a challenging year in 2021 with a wet winter giving above-average rainfall replenishing depleted reserves. This water was likely crucial to the success of the 2022s as it prepared the soil for a long, dry growing season.
LEFT BANK 2022 VINTAGE SUMMARY
The free-draining soils of the Left Bank estates meant that there was little water in reserve for the thirsty vines to tap into. This has had an unusual effect on the final complexion of the wines of the Left Bank; that have unusually high amounts of Merlot in the blend.
The concentration in the grapes caused by the lack of rain lead to thicker skins and less flesh on grapes, meaning that the Merlot of the Left Bank was closer to a typical Cabernet Sauvignon.
It was always going to be a small vintage on account of the lack of moisture, but in addition some vinyards suffered from hail in late June which caused some estates to lose up to 30% of their grapes.
The resulting wines are concentrated, but juicy, ripe but fresh. The volumes are a little down, but quality is widely declared to be higher than 2021 and on a par with the great 2009.
RIGHT BANK 2022 VINTAGE SUMMARY
The clay and limestone combination in Pomerol and Saint-Émilion protected the vines from some of the effects of the warm, dry year.
Cabernet Franc played a secondary role to Merlot in the Right Bank, significantly due to the lower yields that it produced, but also because the curious conditions meant that the Merlot had more structure than it might ordinarily show.
The long, stable harvest period allowed the top tier of the region to make several passes at grape picking, selecting individual bunches as they achieved perfect levels of ripeness. The small production volumes of the estates on this side of the river make this a more straightforward enterprise than in the comparatively large Left Bank châteaux.