Bordeaux 2022 En Primeurs
WHAT THE CRITICS THINK
He’s not shying away from calling this a truly great vintage, saying “it sets a new benchmark for Bordeaux”. It’s the 40th vintage he has tasted en primeur, and he feels it proves the region’s ability to face the challenges of climate change, with its uniquely hot and dry conditions. He notes that while the reds are the undoubted star, it is also a great vintage for Sauternes – with botrytis development in mid-October that produced exceptional wines.
While the growing season urges parallels with 2003, the wines are totally different. The 2022s “can be flamboyant, fruity and tannic, yet they have a freshness and form that give them energy and vitality”, he writes. While he found a few wines that were over the top, he generally felt there was consistent quality across the spectrum, from more modest estates to the grandest châteaux, with the wines “exceptional”. He gives nine potential 100-point scores, versus only one last year (for Lafaurie-Peyraguey in Sauternes – an address he also praises this year).
Suckling’s highlights: Cheval Blanc, Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Lafite-Rothschild, Le Pin, Léoville Las Cases, Pontet-Canet, Trotanoy, Pavillon Blanc du Ch. Margaux, Angélus, Canon
Read James Suckling’s full report
WILLIAM KELLEY – WINE ADVOCATE
Publishing his report on the Friday of Primeurs week, William Kelley defines 2022 as “an amplifier” – highlighting differences between sites and how producers work both in the vineyard and winery. “Bordeaux has produced some monumental wines in 2022, but unlike many of the great vintages of the 20th century, the year was not a rising tide that raised all boats,” he says.
The best wines offer “remarkable concentration, energy and harmony” but there are some that are “jammy, astringent and rustic”. He highlights that those with higher organic matter in their soils and who managed their canopies well were rewarded. He argues that vines adapted to the long, dry season, and the experience of recent warm vintages ensured that 2022 was not another 2003 – despite its extreme, hot, dry conditions.
He warns that the frequently high pHs are a risk for the final hurdle – with an increased risk of volatile acidity and Brettanomyces, suggesting that although few samples showed these faults during the en primeur tastings, “it is certain that some producers will trip before the finish line this year”. Nevertheless, he is clearly impressed by the best wines – with eight potential 100-point scores in the mix.
In a first, the work was divided between Kelley and Yohan Castaing, a relatively new member to the Wine Advocate team – so there are notes from both. The highlights noted below are 12 specifically recommended.
Kelley’s highlights: Berliquet, Bourgneuf, Branaire-Ducrou, Clos Manou, Dame de Montrose, De Retout, Domaine de l’A, Grand Village, Haut Marbuzet, Langoa Barton, Larrivet Haut-Brion, Mangot, Ch. Canon in Saint-Emilion
GEORGIE HINDLE – DECANTER
Despite the year’s extreme conditions, Decanter’s Bordeaux correspondent Georgie Hindle writes that “a surprisingly large number of vineyards and their growers prevailed against the odds to create a wealth of exceptional wines in 2022”. She feels there are “both serious highs and lows”, but “some estates produced their best-ever bottles” – with “supple textures, excellent definition, long finishes and a sheer brightness and energy that has produced some of the most compelling wines I’ve ever tasted at this early stage”. She also emphasises how, despite being similarly hot, the year is not another 2003. For Hindle, the Margaux appellation was a highlight, as were the wines from the Haut-Médoc, as well as the top end of Saint-Emilion. She has pulled out a list of “coup de coeur" wines – those that were heart-stoppingly good, and it is those that feature as her highlights below.
Hindle’s highlights: Beauséjour Duffau Lagarrosse, Canon, Cheval Blanc, Clos Fourtet, Figeac, Larcis-Ducasse, Laroque, Troplong Mondot, Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Smith Haut Lafitte, Brane-Cantenac, Giscours, Branaire-Ducru, Gruaud-Larose, Léoville-Las Cases, Pichon Comtesse, Montrose, Phélan Ségur, La Conseillante, La Fleur-Pétrus, Vieux Château Certan, Clos du Clocher, Petrus
LISA PERROTTI-BROWN MW – THE WINE INDEPENDENT
With some major releases arriving earlier than anticipated, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW has released a “teaser” article on the year, with notes and scores for wines that have been released or are set to be in the coming days, with more detail on Cheval Blanc, Angélus, the Barton stable and Beychevelle. Her full report will be published in a week or so’s time.
In her notes on early releases, Perrotti-Brown writes that 2022 was “a faith-affirming vintage for Bordeaux growers” – proving that the region could handle climate change. She highlights the surprising consistency from the year, as well as “a luminosity… that defies what we thought we knew about Bordeaux varieties”. With “its myriad of earthy, nuanced, soft-spoken, shimmery expressions”, it’s “a vintage that Bordeaux fans and serious collectors will want to seek out”.
ANTONIO GALLONI – VINOUS
The first of the two Vinous reports comes from Antonio Galloni, who declares the best wines of the vintage to be “magnificent, viscerally thrilling wines” – “some of the most memorable young wines [he has] ever tasted” – although does temper this enthusiasm by saying that some selection is warranted. Running through the growing season, he highlights how “patience and technology” were critical – with larger numbers of smaller vats, allowing producers to harvest only what was perfectly ripe.
The greatest surprise, of course, is the wines – not rich and opulent as for 2009 or 2018, but wines that “combine flavour intensity, energy and finesse in a way that I can only describe as magical”. He repeats the refrain that the wines bode well for Bordeaux’s fate in the face of climate change, and is clearly enchanted by the best wines. He flag that some of the wines are “ a bit fragile” and that “élevage will make or break them”, not feeling it’s totally consistent below the top tier. He does, however, pull out a handful of over-performers, which we’ve listed as his highlights below. For him, the advancements in viticulture and winemaking are what define 2022 – wines of “notable depth and freshness without excess weight”, but exactly why they turned out the way they did remains something of a mystery.
Galloni’s highlights: Alter Ego de Palmer, Beau-Séjour Bécot, Brane-Cantenac, Clos Puy Arnaud, Clos Saint-Julien, Figeac, Forts de Latour, Giscours, La Conseillante, La Gaffelière, Lafon-Rochet, Larcis-Ducasse, Léoville Las Cases, Le Pin Beausoleil, Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Malartic Lagravière, Moulin Saint-Georges, Puyblanquet, Quinault l’Enclos.
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