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Burgundy 2022

December 2023

Burgundy 2022 Vintage Report

In our visits in Burgundy this November, numerous growers described a season in which temperatures were higher than the longer-term averages and in which drought pressure was not insignificant. They also outlined a summer which was blessed with cool nights, significant rains in June and late August, and heat that was consistent and steady rather than characterised by the sort of dramatic heat spikes that had marked recent warmer vintages.
The 2022s we tasted were surprising for a sense of freshness and balance given the warmer nature of the vintage and particularly after the sometimes-heady richness possible in the 2018, 2019 and 2020 vintages. Here were wines of beautifully clean, healthy, ripe fruit that showed no excess, no flirtation with over-ripeness in terms of the fruit profiles. How had such wines emerged from the broad brushstroke of: hottest, driest, sunniest?
In terms of the growing season, the winter was dry, with very little rainfall from October 2021 to March 2022 and temperatures were described as seasonal for the time of year – in the range zero to 1.5 degrees. Thus, there were no signs of early budburst, which was predicted to take place in the first ten days of April, meaning there would be minimal growth by the early days of April when frosts had been so damaging in recent years, most notably in 2021. Frost damage fears were calmed. The last week of March was marked by a dramatically warm spell – 24 degrees on 27th March – which was followed by sub-zero temperatures on the nights of 3-4th and 9-10th April. Luckily the temperatures were not so low as to cause any significant damage. Vine growth then accelerated in a warm late April. The dry and mild weather of May together with some rain on 4th-5th and again on 15th led to rapid growth. Ludivine Griveau of the Hospices de Beaune described how “in the blink of an eye (20 days in May) the vintage went from being fairly early to very early.”
The first week of June was cool and with rainstorms but then the heat arrived. High temperatures (2.8 degrees higher than the average and up to 38 degrees on 18th June), wind, and strong sunlight (28 hours more than usual). The rain that fell of 22nd June was dramatic. One hundred millimetres fell in an hour in Gevrey-Chambertin, causing walls to collapse. While this was a headline, the rains were highly localised in terms of their intensity and, progressing southwards beyond Morey-St Denis, the data was more moderate. Nevertheless, the average figure of 75 millimetres higher than the norm would turn out to be important for the quality and style of the 2022s given that July only saw very low rainfall of between 4 and 13 mm of rain during the entire month. While July and August were sunny and dry, the heat was rarely extreme and, of the greatest importance in the eyes of many producers, the nights were cool.

Burgundy EP website photos (1)
Burgundy EP website photos
Harvests began in the last week of August and continued into mid-September.  
As in any growing season there are moments of anguish, but growers were relieved to have a far more amenable vintage in 2022. While there were drought conditions that led to some vines shutting down later in the summer, there had been sufficient rain around 22nd June and later in August to revive them. While the average temperatures in each of May, June, July and August were just over two degrees higher than the thirty-year average, the temperatures rarely neared forty degrees. While there were long, sustained periods of hot days, these were offset by cooler nights, giving the all-important diurnal variation.
Sunshine hours were notably high, with 28 hours more sunlight hours in June alone, but canopy management has advanced so significantly in the last decade that fruit was better protected than it may have been in similar conditions more than a decade ago. There is also clear evidence of other proactive approaches in the vineyard and the winery that have come to define the restless, reflective, meticulous vignerons we are so lucky to deal with. There is no complacency but instead an ongoing search for marginal gains in the face of the pressures brought about by climate change.
Perhaps this is what gives the 2022s their surprising character. Not just the rain that was well timed and of sufficient volume, the nights that were cooler than they might have been, but the evident focus, attention to detail, and shared knowledge and experience of ever-increasing numbers of growers that respect and want to protect and express their historic terroirs. In 2022 these terroirs shone clearly, and the recognised hierarchy was communicated through the wines, with clear steps between village, premier cru and grand cru levels for any given producer. In terms of what we tasted and what we will be offering, this is valid for both reds and whites.

We must stress, as we do each year, that this applies to the growers we deal with, is based on our tasting experience and cannot be universalised (by us) to the entirety of Burgundy, not even the entirety of just the Cote d’Or.

To sum up, this is a vintage that is characterised by pure, healthy fruit, vibrant freshness, balanced weight and mouthwatering, saline length and energy. The reds have been compared by some to a cross between the 2019s and 2020s, for others more like the 2017s but with greater fruit depth and intensity: both are positive comparisons. More simply, in the words of Sebastien Cathiard: “Gourmand, expressive and mouthwatering.” For the whites to be aligned, by Jean-Pierre Latour, with the 2014s is high praise indeed, given the increasingly exalted status that vintage holds. But for me it is the freshness and accessibility that are key, with wines that are likely to be enjoyable from soon after release and which will remain open for many years to come.

If you have any questions or wish to make us aware of any wines or domaines of potential interest, please do get in touch.

In a slight change of approach to En Primeur Burgundy, we aim to release wines as they become available to us and in so far as we believe they are worthy of being offered. The releases will take the form of our usual offer emails and will emerge over the coming days and weeks.

As always with Burgundy releases, we are unable to sell leading Grand Cru and Premier Cru or wines from particularly sought-after domaines in isolation – we cannot buy them from the domaines that way ourselves and we are aware that demand is sure to outstrip supply. However, instead of running a complex system of allocations, we do aim to confirm requests as soon as we are able to do so or to highlight where we are unable to assist. To request a specific wine, please contact any member of the sales team on +44 (0) 20 3017 2299. You can also reach Simon Larkin MWRichard O'Mahony, and James Ceppi di Lecco by email.

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Atlas Fine Wines Ltd. 

Blackwell House, Guildhall Yard
London, EC2V 5AE
T: +44 (0) 20 3017 2299
F: +44 (0) 20 3017 2290