Unbelievable: Bordeaux 2022
BY NEAL MARTIN | MAY 16, 2023
Left Bank: Saint-Estèphe | Pauillac | Saint-Julien | Margaux | Pessac-Léognan & Graves | Left Bank Satellites | Sauternes
Right Bank: Pomerol | Saint-Émilion | Right Bank Satellites
The château manager can barely contain his
euphoria. His chef de culture has not witnessed a vintage like it since
1865. Or was that 1965? His maître-de-chai burst into tears when he set
eyes upon bunches. Such is the brilliance of 2022 that marketing forewarn that the
100-point scale may explode.
He ponders what certifies 2022 as “Vintage of
the Century” - the first with an NFT guarantee, not that he has an inkling what
an NFT is. Firstly, the planting density at 50,000 vines per hectare, stacking
confused vines on top of each other like a Catalonian human tower, was labeled “ridiculous.”
Now those vines are more stressed than Elon Musk upon realizing he could not renege
from buying Twitter. Secondly, vineyard workers speak Austrian in the vineyard
so that vines feel as if Steiner’s own hands are massaging their tendrils. Thirdly,
each bunch undergoes a rigorous hour-long interrogation at reception, asked if it is worthy of joining
a prestigious wine and its previous experience working without sulphur. Lastly,
the vineyard is approached as 8,953 individually-assessed nano-plots. Blending is
time-consuming, akin to being blindfolded and constructing the Eiffel Tower with
Lego, according to one of their dozen overpaid consultants. Despite protests,
the château owner’s grunt down the telephone from a private beach in Malibu
meant that orders must be obeyed, lest you find yourself working for a Petit
Château bulldozering its vines the next day.
The manager breaks off from practicing his lines
It’s a miracle!
There wasn’t a brown leaf within 100km of our
Alcohol is high, but can you feel it…well,
can you…CAN YOU?… NO, YOU CAN’T!!!
No, I didn’t claim that 12.5% alcohol
is optimal for Bordeaux just 12 months ago.
And so on…
Time to gather his team to prime them for the
imminent primeur pantomime when critics and merchants flock to Bordeaux.
“This year’s booklet is our best yet,” enthuses
Lili, a second lieutenant in marketing. “The cover is designed by Banksy. A
stencil of our beloved owner [Everyone in the room spontaneously salutes]
running naked through the vines chased by his girlfriend…”
Salutes droop like the leaves last August.
“Don’t worry. Tendrils are carefully placed
to avoid embarrassment,” interjects Joelle, whose position has never been fully
ascertained, but she drives a Ferrari, and that’s good for image.
“A day-by-day guide to the ‘perfect growing
season’ - a phrase we’ve trademarked incidentally. It’s penned by J.K. Rowling,
vigorously sexed-up by marketing and rewritten by INAO-approved ChatUGC that inserted
a chapter where the fruit is so magical that it reincarnates Dumbledore.”
“We’re still waiting for Rowling’s green
light for that,” interjects Lili.
“In case any of our less persuadable
critics need convincing, we’ve accidentally slipped a couple of 500 Euro notes
into its back pages. Judging by the daily hyperbole on social media, we might
accidentally withdraw the cash incentive.”
“Talking of critics. Are we sure that
undesirables are banned from the premises? Last year’s average score of 99.8
was totally unacceptable. I had to fire everyone except for our consultants,
who advised that they should be kept on.”
circulated Photofits to guards and told them to shoot on sight. Writers able to
understand that our wine that to quote influencer Wee Jimmy Krankie is ‘fandabidozi
– 101 points’, are being pampered in our luxury hideaway in Cap Ferret.”
“Good. How about Neal Martin? Him and those
unfunny preambles. Not again.”
“He’ll be so dazzled by the 2022s that he
will find satire inappropriate. I mean, who reads them anyway?”
My wingman for the first week drove me around in his ‘FF’ (Ford Fiesta) and took this photo of yours truly at Calon-Ségur.
How the Wines Were Tasted
This was…counts them in my head…my 27th en
primeur. Makes me feel old. Then again, experience counts. I toured the region
for just under three weeks, arguably the minimum given the increasing numbers
of châteaux that demand personal visits so that their wine can be eulogized
face-to-face under the misguided impression it results in higher scores,
yearning entrance to a notional “elite” that have traditionally obliged a knock
at the door, First Growths and their kind. The exodus from organized tastings
is like being stuck in your car and complaining about the traffic jam – kidding
yourself that you’re not actually part of the problem. The result? Writers
spend more time traveling in their car than tasting, which denies them the
opportunity to taste the wines multiple times. Nevertheless, in the end, I obtained
two or three reference points for most major names with just a couple of
I cannot recall a primeur blessed/burdened
with so much pent-up anticipation to the point where anyone without a perfect
score will be crestfallen. Early in the year, my phone rang three times. At the
end of the line was a winemaker extolling their “new baby.” Maybe I should return their call
whenever I compose a great sentence. But clearly, something interesting
was brewing when I tasted musts directly from tank last September and again in late
January. By primeur o’clock, the echo chamber of Bordeaux had convinced all and
sundry that their 2022s represents a high water mark, a miracle that would have
impressed Jesus at Cana. Winemakers had rehearsed their utopian descriptions of
the season and become walking thesauri of superlatives. My job is to listen
attentively and consider all this useful, if slightly biased, background
information, then mentally shove that aside and compare what is in the glass
and, something oft-forgotten, postulate it might become, vis-à-vis the same
wine over the previous twenty-whatever vintages logged in my memory.
This report was filed three days after
returning so subscribers have it to hand when the campaign gathers pace. As always,
there is no compromise in research and writing. A primeur report should be deserving
of the wines otherwise, why bother?
Claire Villars-Lurton out in the vines at Haut-Bages Libéral. She has been one of the leading practitioners of biodynamics. Here, she showed me the fruit trees planted amongst the vines to enhance biodiversity, a fast-growing trend in the region.
The Growing Season
A season of paradox and luminosity.
After the atypically inclement 2021, 2022
witnessed a return to the warm, dry summers that headlined the 2018-2020 trio. Europe
suffered an unprecedented heat wave that triggered devastating wildfires, some
conflagrations not far from Bordeaux’s southerly vineyards, though, unlike
California in 2020, acrid smoke never endangered its vines.
Keep in mind that growing seasons are interrelated,
so 2021 laid the foundation for 2022. The previous year saw higher than average
rain that replenished reserves, not least on porous clay soils, ostensibly a “life-jacket”
for vines. The first three months of 2022 were an omen. Whereas 2016 saw 228mm,
138mm and 99mm of rain, the same period saw 55mm, 41mm and 34mm. Hence bud-break
was uneven and slightly delayed from late March before temperatures plummeted between
April 2 to 5 to -7° Celsius in some prone areas. Frost affected some 50% of
vineyards, though the damage was less severe than in 2017 since bud development
was less advanced. April is usually wet but saw just 58mm of rain compared to
104mm and 111mm in 2019 and 2020.
Flowering was around two weeks earlier than
in 2021 (mi-fleuraison on May 23 compared to June 10) without coulure
or millerandage, so hopes were for a bumper crop. Almost one long balmy
dry spell followed with three of four mini-heatwaves, the first from May 8 to
22 (we’ll return to that later). In fact, between May 7 and September 23,
average temperatures were 24°C with 38 days exceeding 32°C. There was some rain
on the weekend of June 18 after a period of intense heat, when the mercury
tipped 40°C, so that June averaged 94mm across the region, a tad more than 2018
to 2020 but half compared to the previous June. On Monday, June 20, two bands
of destructive hail strafed the northern Médoc in a southwest/north-easterly
direction and another in the far southern Médoc, passing between Côte du Bourg
and Fronsac/Lalande-de-Pomerol. “It happened at 8.15pm,” Véronique Dausse at
Phélan-Ségur recalled. “Three blocks were hit. The hail was so damaging because
it was horizontal, accompanied by 25mm of rain that fell within ten minutes.
This cost us 30% production overall.” This is the highest figure I heard - others
I snapped this in the vines just prior to the 2022 harvest. Look carefully, and you can see evidence of some shriveled skins. But generally, there was less than predicted.
The amount of rain in June varies per region:
140mm in Saint-Estèphe, 134mm in Pauillac, 82mm in Margaux, 72mm in the Graves
and 69mm in Saint-Émilion. These are important figures since afterward, Mother
Nature turned off the tap. July saw a measly 3mm of rain - zero in some
locales, less than in 2016 and 2020. Since warm and dry conditions were incepted
unusually early in the season, they acted as a warning, steeling vines for the
forthcoming drought, a tacit instruction to force roots deeper, restricting
lateral shoot growth and limiting the size of both leaf and berry, the latter
with implications for the style of 2022s. Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy, Mouton-Rothschild’s
technical director, opined that vines’ vascular system (xylem) naturally
reduced in diameter, requiring less pressure to pull moisture from the ground.
Given all this, unlike in 2003, the vines mostly
shrugged off these unprecedented conditions. Some fledgling vines on
free-draining soils suffered, Damien Barton (Léoville Barton) and Philippe
Blanc (Beychevelle) divulging that some perished and must be replaced. Others
are adamant that nary a brown leaf was seen. This prompted a friend’s riposte
that this was because they’d all fallen onto the ground! Joking aside, I am a
little cynical having surveyed vineyards first-hand on the eve of picking. While I can vouchsafe they appeared in verdant rude health, the notion that there was
absolutely no impact is more difficult to accept, despite winemakers
brandishing iPhones with images depicting perfect vines.
Depends on where you point the lens, no?
All the same, one cannot deny vines'
surprising resilience to dryness. A couple of decades ago, we would have been
lumbered with another 2003. Maybe recent warm summers are making them accustomed
to the new type of growing season, Darwinian theory at hyper-speed. But hydric
stress was evident, self-protecting vines closing stomata to prevent
evaporation that stymies photosynthesis and bifurcating phenolic and alcoholic
ripeness. The INAO allowed growers in Pomerol to irrigate and some mounted
tractors to quench vines’ thirst. However, it was too late to make a
significant difference. Oddly enough there was more rain in August 2022 than the
previous year, with a revivifying 27mm compared to 24mm.
May, June, July and August were the hottest
since 2009, averaging 18.7°C, 21.0°C, 23.4° and 24.1°C respectively. In
particular, July was 1.8°C hotter than in 2020 and August 2.3°C hotter – figures
explaining why records were broken. Despite these figures, the viticultural
vista is very different from that of 2003. Now there is minimal de-leafing (or
de-leafing on one side) to maintain shadow cover, prudent canopy management
with many, including First Growths such as Haut-Brion, no longer practicing rognage
or hedging and lastly, widespread and assiduous use of cover crops to enhance
humidity and replace depleted nitrogen/organic matter in soils. Another
critical factor is that, unlike in 2003, temperatures at night fell to 16° to
17° Celsius, thereby giving vines welcome relief from the heat.
Vines benefitting from subterranean reserves
of water could keep photosynthesizing, but such was the unrelenting luminosity
that the vineyard managers had to be vigilant, constantly stepping in and trying
to regulate sugar accumulation without the vine shutting down. Tightrope
Many proprietors muttered about the tiny crop
whenever I raised the topic, the drought chipping away their hopes for high
yields at flowering. The region produced 410,000 hectoliters of wine with an
average yield of around 37hL/ha. That is around 15% less than the 2011-2020
average of 487,000hL. Yields differ between the Left and Right Banks, the
former often 30hL/ha or less, but higher on the Right Bank, between 40-50 hL/ha.
I toured Bordeaux at the time of harvest. This was taken at Grand Puy Lacoste on September 19 under perfect blue skies.
The heat waves that started in May concentrated
the berries and reduced volume. There were a couple of hailstorms and frost on
April 2 and 3, setting the tone for a smaller crop. May was the driest and
hottest month ever. Flowering was early, and chef de cultures were
concerned that any rain would create overripe berries. Sauternes’ workers
conducted some nettoyage in September when there was some sporadic early
botrytis. There was a little rain following the hot weather at the end of
September that predicated botrytis-formation in October, but winemakers had to
wait for berries to progress from the rôti stage. Finally, thanks to the
easterly wind that concentrated berries, there was widespread botrytis around October
23/24. Sugar levels galloped ahead as pickers streamed into vineyards, time of
the essence since they feared that levels would become excessive. Indeed, at
Yquem, they did not use fruit from the final two tries. Hence the 2022
Sauternes contain higher residual sugar levels than recent years with slightly
higher pH levels. Yields average around 15hL/ha for the appellation.
Obviously, the harvest was early, almost as
much as 2003. Many of the dry whites were picked from August 9 to September 2,
the reds from either the last day of August or the first week of September
until early October. Prevailing clement conditions meant that châteaux could
take their time, pick in piecemeal fashion according to organoleptic readings.
They were mindful that they could not afford to let sugar levels get too high as
anthocyanin levels continued ticking upwards. Therefore, in some cases, the
harvest was continuous, without the usual break between the earlier-ripening
Merlot and Cabernets, which is useful in making it easier to hold on to pickers
who can “wander off” when twiddling their fingers. There was some overlap in
terms of picking at some estates that wished to expedite harvest, for example,
Many winemakers reported that colors
extracted easily with little maceration, abiding by the mantra of “infusion,” a
far cry from the maximum extraction dogma of the past. Maceration periods were
generally shorter, perhaps 18 to 21 days, and at lower maximum temperatures
during alcohol fermentation, a commonly-quoted 26° Celsius instead of 31°
Celsius, chez Angélus, up to a “lukewarm” 22° Celsius. Pumping-over or remontage
was reduced in terms of frequency and volume of the vat, half or one-third
instead of a full tank. All these techniques were designed to avoid the
turbo-charged wines no longer in vogue. Winemakers understand how total acidity
levels increase during alcoholic fermentation through their skins, according to
one or two winemakers like Guillaume Pouthier at Les Carmes Haut-Brion, the
pulp, according to others. Either way, it meant that few risked acidifying
musts trusting they would naturally rise. Reduced volumes meant that the
numerous châteaux that have installed smaller vats could maintain their
tailored ferments, separating plots and sub-plots, if not quite to the degree
mentioned in my introduction.
This photo was taken in Château Margaux.
Keeping the incoming fruit cool was vital to reduce the risk of spoilage using
refrigerated units or liquid nitrogen.
One important aspect to mention is the higher
use of pressed wine on the Left Bank, often up to 14% to 16% to build the wine in
lieu of orthodox maceration techniques, 18% at Calon-Ségur. You cannot underestimate
the influence of consultant and sage Eric Boissenot, who advocates adding as
much pressed wine as possible if the quality is there. On the Right Bank, the
pressed wine plays a less important role, often 5% to 7%.
In terms of blending, so fundamental to great
Bordeaux, the Left Bank saw higher percentages of Merlot within blends (also
Petit Verdot since this fickle variety revels warm growing seasons). This is
partly because, against all expectations, the quality of Merlot was
deemed…well…insert winemakers’ superlative of your choice. Many remarked that
the Merlot on the Left Bank acted like Cabernet Sauvignon. This appears true
given some mono-varietal trial bottlings presented at châteaux. At a handful of
estates, the blend contains more Merlot than Cabernet Sauvignon for the first
It was also due to berry size.
This is one of the most important points of
the 2022 vintage: the berry size of the Cabernet was conspicuously small with
thick skins (95gm per 100 berries compared to 138gm in 2021.) It underlies why
IPT levels were high, often 70 to 100, or in layman’s terms, tannic wines that
encouraged the aforementioned restraint during maceration (though one must be
careful not to read too much into this metric as they will decrease during
élevage and do not necessarily correlate to sensation). Despite my above photo of
bunches, according to vineyard managers, the diminutive size and thickness of
skins precluded berry shriveling and meant they contain high levels of phenolic
compounds, more than 2,000mg/L on limestone soils. Inevitably, when it came to
filling vats, these small berries contained comparatively little juice due to
evaporation, thus skewing blends towards Merlot while increasing skin-to-juice
ratios. On the Right Bank, there seems to be slightly less use of Cabernet
Franc since yields averaged a little lower than Merlot.
The 2022s are in barrel at the time of
writing. Following the trend of recent vintages, there is now more prudent use
of new oak, as well as the use of less impactful larger vessels such as foudres
at Palmer, Angélus inter alia, and 500-liter barrels elsewhere. Amphora?
They’re hipper than Ice Spice, so nowadays, no self-respecting cellar is seen
without a gaggle of ochre-colored clay jars. Many estates are dabbling at this
stage, others like Pontet-Canet and Les Carmes Haut-Brion use up to one-third during
élevage. Many maître-de-chai are less interventional during élevage,
adopting more reductive aging throughout vinification, closing vats earlier during
fermentation and less lees-stirring in barrel, using CO2 to protect the wine
and smoothing the way for reduced use of sulfur.
One of the snow-capped peaks…Léoville Las-Cases.
Bordeaux 2022: The Verdict
Question: Is 2022 the real deal?
Kind of. Depends. Yeah, I guess so. The 2022
vintage contains what I often refer to as “snow-capped peaks.” If you want to
get numerical, wines that may eventually merit perfect scores that I rarely
give out. The crème de la crème is blessed with kaleidoscopic aromatics,
intense fruit, finely-sculpted tannins, structure, elegance and length. Above
all, contrary to what the growing season implied, they are suffused with
freshness. They immediately tempt you back to the glass for another sip. The
highest performers will dazzle. They will be extroverts, show-offs whose talent
cannot be denied.
They’re not warbling Neil Youngs.
They’re Freddie Mercury strutting the stage. The
best will rock you.
It is not a vintage that articulates terroirs
with profound clarity. The imprimatur of the season is indelibly printed.
Terroir is more a guiding hand advantaging those occupying clay/limestone soils
such as the Saint-Émilion plateau. But this season, terroir is not the be-all
and end-all. Consequently, there is partial flattening of the hierarchical
pyramid. Though release prices will inevitably amplify differences in ranking,
in terms of quality, there’s little difference between First Growths and “the
others.” That is also partly because most Grand Cru Classés and deep-funded
Right Bank properties have invested heavily in overhauling vineyard practices
and the winery, and they can afford to be as exact. So, it’s a vintage where I
would buy according to what suits your palate instead of a prestigious name or classement.
Winemaker Eric Kohler and proprietor Saskia de Rothschild at Lafite-Rothschild, who, alongside their 2022s, showed their maiden white from Duhart-Milon. Incidentally, it was not the only new white wine tasted during my trip, though I’m sworn to secrecy.
But there are caveats. Generally, after 2021,
Bordeaux returns to higher alcohol levels, often above 14% and touching 15%,
though thankfully, it feels less blowsy than in 2018. I kind of missed the
freshness and transparency of last year, not to mention that higher alcohol
levels become fatiguing when drinking in quantity rather than small sips. Some
wines exhibit mismatches of phenolic and alcoholic ripeness, resulting in
“sweet ‘n sour” wines with spiky vegetal codas. There’s human error. Decisions
throughout the growing season in the vineyard are fundamental to quality, and picking
dates are crucial. Could you recruit harvesters at the right time and marshal
them into the right place to execute desired precision picking? One mistake from
flowering to eventual bottling could tip the wine the wrong way. Some dub it a
“deckchair” vintage. But when you examine the minutiae, you had to bring
your A-game, notwithstanding that châteaux must still capture the nascent freshness
in bottle, a less straightforward task at higher alcohol levels that increase
the absorption of wood tannins. Consequently, the 2022s require prudent
élevages and will perhaps benefit those experimenting with larger vessels.
Q. Is it a Right Bank or Left Bank vintage,
or is there a particular appellation that excelled?
Initially, I erred towards 2022, favoring the
Left Bank, but spectacular wines began cumulating within Saint-Émilion and
Pomerol so that finally, the vintage is more evenly balanced. Forced to pick
one appellation for attention, it is Saint-Julien. The day dedicated to
Saint-Julien, I turned to my driving companion, a primeur virgin, and told him:
“This is as good as it gets.”
In the brand-new tasting room at Pichon Baron with Christian Seely and winemaker Pierre Montegut, Corrine Ilic in the background. Here one tastes dry white, red and sweet.
Q: The whites? Dry and sweet?
In terms of dry whites, it’s a so-so season.
Despite obligatory early picking, there was no wine that set the pulse racing
due to the lack of tension. They’re not bad, but they play second fiddle to the
reds. For Sauternes, it’s a very good vintage rather than an exceptional one.
It marks a return to higher residual sugar levels, rich and unctuous Sauternes
that are occasionally excellent but maybe miss the complexity of the very
greatest. This report includes a flotilla of dry Sauternes, and though I
support this category, I’m wondering where it fits in amongst the panoply of
Q: What is the style of the 2022 reds?
The wines are generally deep and bright in color.
Aromatics are unabashedly floral with black fruit rather than red, often
extremely perfumed. The onus is upon cellar masters to retain these exuberant
aromatics post-bottling. On the palate, the best exude freshness thanks to
lower pH levels than anticipated (3.5 for Merlot, 3.4 for Cabernet Sauvignon).
Many were unable to explain this phenomenon. These are tannic wines, more so
than 2018, 2019 and 2020. They have a bit of an exoskeleton. The best
description came from consultant Thomas Duclos who astutely likens them to face
powder. Tannins are not obdurate “iron girders” à la 2010 and not silken like
2016, but contain a powdery texture that accreted during tastings, coating gums
to the degree that I limited the number of daily samples. So texturally, they
are cut from a different cloth to recent vintages, and I’m intrigued to see if
this tactile sensation is observable in bottle.
Q: What is the longevity of the wines?
Unlike 2019 and 2020, most wines,
particularly within its higher ranks, are predestined for long-term aging. As a
Bordeaux-lover who ardently believes that its winemakers forsake longevity at their
peril, this aspect of 2022 is welcome. The best will demand time for their
tannins to polymerize and soften, but thankfully there is sufficient fruit
ensuring that they will not meet a similar fate to 1975, perhaps 2000 and 1986
(although the latter will eventually come around). Those with a penchant for
drinking Bordeaux young should seek out another vintage.
Doubtless, Cheval Blanc will age gracefully
over a decade. I’ve no idea what book winemaker Pierre-Olivier Clouet is
holding, but I’ve heard it’s available in all good bookshops etc.
Q: Should I buy the vintage en primeur?
It depends. How much money do you have in
your pocket? Are we not all feeling the pinch? Unease about economic horizons,
soaring interest rates, war on Europe’s doorstep, global political instability?
Châteaux’s rapturous belief and conviction in the vintage means that prices will
likely be set as high as the market can withstand, hearsay suggesting 25-30%
above 2021 justified by the quality and reduced volume, even if the latter dwarfs
other wine regions, notably Burgundy. One should not prejudge. At the time of
writing, Larrivet Haut-Brion useful 2022 was released at a price (€25
ex-château) that should be applauded. If it augurs the imminent primeur
campaign, then Bordeaux could win back a swathe of consumers and entice back a
disenfranchised generation priced out long ago.
The question is whether initial prices make any
purchase worthwhile vis-à-vis other vintages currently on the market. This
situation parallels the successful 2019 campaign but also raises concerns about
a potential repetition of the 2010 experience when hubristic pricing virtually killed
off the emerging Chinese, who incidentally returned in droves this year. The
Bordelais are preternaturally short-sighted in terms of pricing strategy,
partly due to shareholder expectations and partly because the Place de
Bordeaux allows them to act that way without retribution. There’s no
penalty for mispricing. But with higher interest rates, will négociants relying
on credit be so willing to sit on unsold stock?
Q: What 12 wines, at various price points,
would you want in your cellar?
Rather than just selecting those with the
highest scores, I would suggest: Brane-Cantenac, de Fargues, Haut-Bages-Libéral,
l’Eglise-Clinet, La Conseillante, Léoville Barton, Phélan-Ségur, Pichon-Baron, Ségla,
Sénéjac, Vieux-Château-Certan and the twelfth is up to you…it’s that kind of
Aymeric de Gironde at Troplong Mondot, who oversaw the best release under his tenure…but no perfect score yet.
By now, readers should have a clear idea
about my views on the vintage. Hopefully, you have read this piece because
primeur is more than just scorezzzzzzz. Shovel as many scores into fancy algorithms
as you like - it won’t enlighten you on the vintage.
Against the odds, thanks to the previous
year’s rainfall and 2022’s timely summer showers, coupled with vines’ adaptation
to hot and dry conditions and winemakers’ know-how, 2022 bestows a clutch of
astonishing fermented grape juice. Unlike 2019, perhaps 2022 is less broad in appeal,
especially for those that covet less alcoholic, classical wines as in 2021 or
those seeking immediate pleasure. The tannins will surprise consumers. There
are inevitable human errors ensuring that some wines snatch defeat from the
hands of victory. It’s not a straightforward vintage - it’s quite complicated.
Yet I find it intellectually satisfying. It’s a vintage of containment, both
from the vine and the vigneron, and if you could keep a leash on all that
potential energy, greatness was in the offing. Most of the wines are published in this report, and we will be adding to it in the coming weeks.
I titled my Bordeaux primeur report “You’re
Unbelievable” after EMF’s
early-nineties student disco anthem. The chorus goes: “The things you
say/The purple prose just gives you away/The things you say/You’re unbelievable.”
Why that particular tune?
Because sometimes I didn’t quite believe what
winemakers were telling me.
Because sometimes it was difficult to reconcile
the heat of 2022 with the freshness in the wine.
Because sometimes I could detect vegetal
elements from a hot vintage.
Above all, because sometimes, the wine’s
brilliance was just…unbelievable.
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