@ Peter Moser

Bordeaux vintage 2022 en primeur: a new dimension, a sensational year

Tasting the new vintage confirmed that Bordeaux has never been so good. Twelve wines received a rating of 100 Falstaff points.

Around 9,000 visitors from the trade and press crowded into Bordeaux to taste the new 2022 vintage; some well-known châteaux counted up to 2,000 guests last week – a new record.

Falstaff editor-in-chief Peter Moser, having tasted his way through over 500 wines on site in the last two weeks, is more than taken with the new vintage: "Bordeaux has certainly never been this good. Left or right bank, Cru Bourgeois or Premier Cru Classés, the young wines present consistently outstanding quality." The white and sweet wines also turned out to be very respectable despite the hot, dry year and the red wines, whether primarily Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, are of exceptional quality. Twelve wines were awarded the highest mark of 100 points, which has never happened before; top wines are available in practically all price categories. So, it is clear that this year’s vintage is simply not to be missed.

An intense colour: The unbelievably deep, dark and yet brilliant ruby red with an opaque core and barely discernible lightening at the rim is unmistakable.

The inviting bouquet: The bouquet is characterised by fresh, seductive fruit, ranging from dark cherry (Merlot) to intense cassis notes (Cabernet Sauvignon), spicy nuances (Cabernet Franc) to smoky-cedary hints (Petit Verdot), depending on the dominant variety. Barrique notes are less common as the use of 100 % new wood has long been the exception rather than the rule in Bordeaux.

An astonishing freshness: The wines are characterised by an enchanting harmony, which is based on a liveliness that is probably the greatest miracle in this vintage, something even the producers found hard to explain at first. Even if the acidity levels are not as high as the initial impression, the wines have a distinct liveliness.

Embedded tannins: There’s a great structure and length to the wines. This is due to the ripe tannin content which turned out particularly silky because of careful extraction. The tannin levels in the wines are very high and yet they are so harmoniously integrated that you only notice them at second glance. This rare type of fully ripe tannins also supports the impression of freshness and provides an enormous length to the finish.

A full-bodied but balanced vintage: the alcohol levels were high in 2022, as usual slightly lower in the case of Cabernet Sauvignon and higher in the case of Merlot. Whereas in 2021 even Premier Grand Crus had to resort to improving the musts with sugar, nature has now ensured more than sufficient values. And here the harmony of the vintage comes into play again: the alcohol is perfectly integrated, even the fully ripe single-varietal Merlots of the right bank do not seem overly opulent or too heavy, even up to 15% alcohol.

Accessibility and storage potential: A particular feature of this vintage is the fact that it is very accessible in its youth, indeed some wines you want to drink immediately because they are already presenting themselves so seductively. On the other hand, one senses that the wines will continue to grow and so are recommended for longer ageing if one has stored enough of them. Due to below-average yields per hectare and the expected strong demand, some wines will quickly become scarce.

Peter Moser
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