The 2022 vintage was born under the sign of the sun with successive spells of heatwave and drought. The wines do taste of sun-ripened fruit but, astonishingly, without some of the excesses that marked similarly hot vintages. Indeed, they seduce the senses with their fragrance, purity of expression and bright fruit flavours. Furthermore, this class of 2022 has all the building blocks necessary for ageing.
This offer will close at midday, Thursday 22nd February, 2024
These wines are due to arrive in spring 2025
The heat was intense, with the first heatwave arriving in June, but it was the lack of water which really marked the vintage. From a grower’s point of view, 2022 was not good for stress. ‘Keep calm and carry on’ – so said Michel Chapoutier. They had to be present among their vines, constantly adapting to conditions. During the driest spells, vines were dormant. The build-up of sugar was painfully slow. Would the crop ever ripen?
Relief did eventually come. There was a little rain in July followed by more heat, but the big event came in the middle of August, which brought just enough rain to bring life back to the vines. The event was for some quite violent, with a tornado targeting the vineyards of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe. Sensibly, growers tend not to put all eggs in one basket and the Bruniers’ other Châteauneuf estate, Piedlong, is outstanding. So, Vieux Télégraphe is one absentee from this offer. Another is Beaucastel, who will be releasing next September.
North or south?
Both have made delicious wines. Northerners tend to have sleek, elegant lines and lovely balance. Southerners, more used to the heat, have warmth and typical southern flavours: the Provence herbs, olives, dark cherries and spice. The whites are excellent: generous but, if picked early enough, fresh tasting.
The combination of heat and drought has once again played havoc with quantities, especially among the northern Rhônes. One reassuring feature of the Rhône is the size in the south and the availability of modestly priced wines which we should all enjoy.