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Vintage 2022 - Rhone Valley : A psychological vintage

I'm not teatching you anything, it was hot or more exactly, there was a lack of water...

A winter, a dry spring and long-awaited rains.

The vintners were about to do the rain dance, even those singing out of tune failed to spark a downpour.

Nevertheless, some corners of the Rhône valley benefited from some rain in July, which made it possible to last until August, finally, for those who had it...


Le scénario

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Flowering was perfect, no major cryptogamic pressures, little or no frost, the bunches were plentiful, everything was beautiful and we were talking (with caution) about the vintage of the century...

And then the summer arrived, the temperatures rose up to 40° and the rain was always waiting… Again and again.

And that's where you had to have strong nerves.

Because when the vine is thirsty, the fewer grapes it has, the better it can develop its berries. So what to do? To remove or not?

If the crus are on lower yields, on the other hand for the Côtes du Rhône and the Igp, the question arose seriously.

In addition, the need to work the soil to aerate it was more than necessary, and those who are not used to this, did not have this reflex.


Another parameter to take into account: Brightness.

Usually, we practice topping, in order to expose the bunches to the sun to promote maturity.

For this year, it was necessary to leave foliage in order to protect the grapes, at least until September.

Unfortunately, for the young vines, there is nothing to do and they have therefore suffered overall.

Which also explains some early harvests…


Un millésime psychologique

So when at the beginning of August, the sky was still not rumbling, a slight panic was felt and the winegrowers launched the kick-off for the harvest.

For others, it was urgent to wait…

Overall, there hasn't been too much of a maturity blockage, but rather some slowdowns.

Good news: the sap stops this summer also prevented the alcohols from flying away... Which should therefore give reasonable levels... Et la pluie tomba

Séguret

It was around August 17th. At last !

The rains made it possible to restart the machine, the grapes reinflated a little and quietly finished their maturity. The vine breathed a little...


À noter 1/ Ventoux and Luberon did not have their famous rains of mid-August. They came later, but the vines obviously did not suffer more than the others...

This can be explained by the influence of their respective mountains, which gives them milder nights. 2/Condrieu, Lirac and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, we suffered, in part, from hail during the summer, which forced them to bring in the grapes earlier... Et tout ça, ça donne quoi ?

It is very difficult to draw a portrait of this 2022, because it is above all a winegrower's vintage.

The result will be very different from one appellation to another, or even from one estate to another.

It was played on know-how, on decision-making, but also on the psychological side, on the ability of the winegrowers to keep their cool in the face of a rain that did not come.


A few days after the harvest, I heard on one side: “It’s pretty, but the grapes are small”. Which foreshadowed a relatively low quantity (much better than 2021 and its freeze), but a quality that had come to the rendezvous.

Then as the time of vinification passed, many smiles were displayed, when the smile of some became more tired…. The work in the cellar was tough. Pour d’autres, ils n’ont jamais trop paniqué. Like Helen Durand (Rasteau) for whom the result “will depend on the terroirs, the farming method, and the decisions made”. For him, 2022 “will be focused”.

For Bruno Boisson (Cairanne), “the vine did not show an advanced state of drought”. So she was resilient.

Like many, he expected to have "a vintage marked by drought, like 2003", but in the end "it looks more like 2020. Quality and without excess"


Au Chateau Beaubois, de Fanny Boyer (Costières de Nîmes), we harvested earlier, but this has been the case for several years, so “we know how to manage early harvesting”.

In the end, it will be a fine vintage, “better than 2017, with complexity and concentration”.

Small nuance, on the aging potential: “Luminosity and heat can have an impact on the longevity of wines”.

But it is once in the bottle that we will know...


Après avoir dégusté quelques cuves… In the tastings, there is a very marked before/after rain effect, especially on the reds.

Before the rains, you have a very ripe aromatic, even jammy, slightly more structuring tannins.

After the rains, the fruit is fresher and more greedy.

For the whites, perhaps a little lack of acidity, it still remains balanced.


Voilà ce que je peux vous dire. 2022 is a hot vintage with late but saving rains.

There will clearly be two profiles: The one before the rains and the one after.

Overall, it remains qualitative and turns out to be very promising.

If this vintage seems to have tested the winegrowers more than the vines, for us, amateurs, it will be a vintage of exploration, with different profiles and nuances.

The excellent terroirs and excellent winegrowers will make excellent wines... and to get to know them, all you have to do is wait...



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