2022 Bordeaux En Primeur – The Wine

‘Everyone who has tasted the wines will agree that the quality and character of the 2022 vintage in Bordeaux is a surprise. How did conditions so extreme deliver wines of such aromatic range and freshness? How can wines of such density and structure exhibit such textural refinement and charm?’
William Kelley, The Wine Advocate, April 2023

Long before the Davy’s team set foot in Bordeaux to taste barrel samples of the 2022s, we were hearing good things – very good things in fact. While it’s important to taste with an open mind and not get swept along with the hype, we were certainly intrigued about what we would find in our glasses. Could it really be that one of the hottest, driest vintages in recent memory – even in the context of a changing climate – had produced balanced, terroir expressive wines? In a word, yes. Learn more about the growing season.

At many of the tastings we attended, winemakers and vineyard managers were simply unable to explain quite how the wines had retained such remarkable freshness. Alcohol levels are certainly up on the very modest (by modern standards) numbers that we saw with last year’s releases, but many wines managed to come in at around 14% and even those that were nudging higher were generally not coming across as hot or overripe in the glass.


The Reds

In contrast to the classic, restrained style of the 2021s, 2022 has given wines with dense tannic profiles that in many cases will require patience. Hot, dry vintages can sometimes lead to wines that are over-ripe, with a lack of freshness and a stylistic stamp of the conditions of the year showing more prominently than any expression of vineyard, house style or commune. Although there is a recognisable style to the vintage, most of the reds we tasted were positively expressive, with the typicity of the communes shining through, particularly on the Left Bank. Margaux displayed its trademark charm, St Julien was consistently serene, Pauillac showed immense depth and the wines of St Estephe were rounded, full and opulent.

The wines on the Right Bank were excellent, with the quality of Merlot lauded by most winemakers. The exuberance of both Pomerol and St Emilion is framed by a ripe, tannic structure that will allow many of the best wines to age gracefully. The likes of Fronsac and Castillon will offer excellent value in 2022.

The Whites

Full and fruit forward, many of the whites possess a charm that will mean they will drink very well in their youth. The best whites in Pessac and Graves have a textural, mineral dimension and will gain complexity with time in the cellar. The hot, dry conditions of the vintage were perhaps even more of a challenge for Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon than for the red varieties, but lovers of White Bordeaux will find a number of appealing releases across the campaign.

Davy’s Wine Merchants is here to help you choose the best en primeur wines in 2022. View our summary for more details.