Inside Burgundy – Jasper Morris MW
“Bountiful and beautiful” reads the headline of Jasper Morris MW’s overview of the 2022 vintage in Burgundy. He finds it to be an overwhelmingly consistent vintage – one with “occasional touches of greatness”. He compares the whites to those of 2020, with a touch less energy but more precision, and the reds to 1985, 1999 or 2002 – “just short of top flight but a really lovely flavour profile of medium density and longevity”. Although he feels that it is not largely a year set to be legendary, these are wines that will drink well early, are unlikely to shut down and also have the capacity to age.
It is a “fine and classic” vintage, but some areas have particularly impressed him: the whites of Puligny-Montrachet (where he feels there is a return of the appellation’s typical floral aromatics, and it's the finest vintage since 2017 or maybe 2014) and the reds of the Côte de Beaune, which he feels offer “just that little bit extra” in comparison to those of the Côte de Nuits, highlighting in particular the performance of Pommard and Volnay. In Meursault, he feels quality is generally excellent, but notes the sunny conditions led to the odd heavy wine, particularly so in Charmes.
He notes that in Nuits-Saint-Georges there was a storm a week after the much discussed event of 22nd June in Gevrey – impacting volumes largely, however he notes that there were a few wines with “furry tannins and less precision”. By contrast, Vosne-Romanée escaped the excesses of late June and is “looking very good”, with “some spectacular individual performances”, including Georges Noëllat and Mugneret-Gibourg.
Although Chablis was at risk of frost, Morris explains how it escaped a repeat of the damages of 2021 and recovered yields with secondary buds. He argues that 2022 is “a very good vintage of clean, pure, well-constructed wines which are recognisably from Chablis – not the mouth-puckering style of previous decades, but Chablis in its modern image, which I would argue is every bit as valid”. Although accessible in youth, he feels the wines will age and some have “the potential to thrill”, not yet revealing everything they have to offer. For him it sits above most recent vintages, bar 2014, rivalling the wines of 2020.
Burghound – Allen Meadows
In Allen Meadows’ report on Chablis, the Mâconnais and the Chalonnaise, he writes that the “relatively tranquil if incredibly warm” growing season resulted in “ripe, delicious, plump and round whites and very ripe yet still fresh reds, both of which should repay short to mid-term cellaring”. Like Morris, he emphasises the consistency of the year – and a rare vintage where both colours excelled. Despite the exceptionally hot and dry conditions, the 2022s are “fresh, bright and utterly delicious, if not classically styled, reds and whites”.
He feels that the best 2022 whites are defined by their freshness, while for the reds it is their generous textures – “a seductive blend of velvet and punch”. Although it is a consistent year, he warns that a handful of wines are a little heavy with acidities not always as high as he’d like.
For the whites, he compares them to 2020 or 2017, but with a little more flesh than the latter, and the reds are again closest to the best 2017s but a little riper. The best 2022s, Meadows says, are “lovely ‘do everything’ wines. This is to say that even if they’re not destined to be great wines, they do everything well.”
As for the Côte de Nuits, Meadows declares 2022 a “modern classic”. Despite the hot, dry growing season, “the wines, while ripe, are wonderfully refreshing and transparent”, “vibrant and inviting”, impeccably well-balanced”.
Interestingly, he suggests that the vintage’s lower alcohol levels are attributed to inefficient yeast converting 18.5g/l sugar to 1% alcohol, rather than the standard 17-17.5, something that producers can’t explain.
The reds are, he says, “fun” – “ a pleasure to drink”, yet also offer “substance, complexity and intellectual titillation”. They combine transparency with concentration, he feels, and that is a seductive combination. The tannins are “ripe, pliant, and, for lack of a better term, don’t stick out”, while the acid levels maintain balance, even if they aren’t analytically that high. He emphasises the wines’ approachability, yet also their ageability.
Although he doesn’t pretend that it is entirely uniform, with some wines that don’t meet his standards, it is “less variable than probably any vintage since 2015”. Comparisons are various and tricky, but he feels that 2022 is a combination of two-thirds a ripe vintage, with one-third of a fresher one – such as 1990 and 19991, 1996 and 1997, 1999 and 2000 and so on. Whichever you compare it to, Meadows is clear that the 2022s “belong in any serious Burgundy collector’s cellar”.
jancisrobinson.com – Matthew Hayes
Jancis’s “man on the ground” in Burgundy is Matthew Hayes, and he provides the bulk of her coverage, although she will offer thoughts following tastings in London in mid-January.
“Beyond any doubt, 2022 has produced excellent, both red and white, up and down the Côte d’Or and beyond,” writes Hayes, although pinning down where it sits on the spectrum of great to good proves tricky. While there are outliers, he feels that the wines generally show “impeccable balance of tidy, ripe fruit, discreet acidity and equally (and mostly) refined tannins”. Many of the Grands Crus, he says, are concentrated and intense, yet “disarmingly understated” – not as rich and savoury as 2019 or 2020, but there are nevertheless “some absolute crackers”. He finds that the classification of wines is generally reflected in the wines, with each tier offering a significant step up in quality. Most importantly, although exceptions exist, it is “across the board and in both colours” a year that has produced fresh and balanced wines for the medium to long term – with value and quality.
Decanter – Charles Curtis MW and Andy Howard MW
Decanter’s Chablis coverage comes courtesy of Andy Howard MW. For Howard, 2022 is “a very good year – and potentially an excellent one” in Chablis, earning a 4.5 rating (out of a possible five). He finds the wines offer good balance and taut acidity, combining typical minerality with riper fruit thanks to the warm, dry conditions. He suggests the wines blend the freshness of 2017 or 2021 with the ripeness of 2019 and 2020, but picking date was key to retaining acidity – and some who missed the mark produced higher-alcohol, tropical wines. The best, however, will “age beautifully for many years”, thanks to their “winning combination of fruit ripeness combined with fresh acidity and classic Chablis notes of salinity and minerality”, making it “a year to stock up on”.
As for the rest of Burgundy, Charles Curtis MW writes that the reds offer “lush fruit expression, full body, well-developed but velvety tannins and abundant extract”, while he argues that the whites are mostly best for early drinking, with similarly “lush fruit” and “relatively soft acidity”. It is the acidity that limits the wines, in his view, mostly for the whites – meaning they earn a four out of five, while the reds reach 4.5 in Decanter’s vintage rating system. The reds “will age gracefully in the cellar”, and he feels are largely homogenous. Although he found the whites more varied, he notes that those of the Côte de Beaune’s most famous villages – Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet – were generally consistent.
Explore Andy Howard MW’s Chablis report, notes and scores or dive into Charles Curtis MW’s report on the rest of Burgundy in 2022 on the Decanter site (subscribers only)
Vinous – Neal Martin
Once the satirical introduction, with a commentary on pricing, is out the way, Neal Martin dives into his detailed report on 2022 – a year that he feels is “a treasure trove of bright ‘n bushy-tailed whites and reds in a season that implied such wines would be impossible, wines predestined to give immense drinking pleasure”.
He highlights how June’s dramatic thunderstorms were key and have defined the vintage, balancing the hot, dry conditions. “I posit that vines were stressed, but stress that they have learned to cope with,” he says. Pairing this with a shift towards a gentler touch in the winery has sculpted the 2022s – wines which he is clearly impressed by.
As we found, he emphasises that producers are split on whether the wines should go through another winter’s élevage or should be bottled early, emphasising that the high volumes of 2023 and limits on cellar capacity are a consideration at some addresses.
All in all, “I cannot remember a Burgundy vintage that elicited so much joy from barrel,” he says. He highlights the whites’ “freshness, particularly their textures, and the deft use of extract that lends weight and presence and heightens umami”, while the reds “fit more into the mold of cooler and classically styled vintages. Lighter colors, delineated aromatics, often tensile, surprisingly vibrant wines with ample weight and length, despite comparatively higher pH levels that vary between 3.25 to 3.50 pH”. The lower alcohol levels (12.8-13.5% for the most part from his conversations) are key, “lifting terroir expression and enhancing that elusive, intangible notion of Pinoté. Prosaically, it imbues the 2022s with drinkability.” The wines’ approachability is perhaps their weakness, he suggests, as the wines are “blessed with the balance and substance to mature exquisitely in bottle”, yet the reality is that most will be consumed within the next five years.
While quality is very consistently high, he doesn’t feel that the year is “a bevy of potential legendary wines” – not perhaps quite reaching true greatness in his book. That said, he advises readers to “fill their boots” where prices seem fair, for it’s a year he “will enjoy returning [to] time and again”.
Wine Advocate – William Kelley
Last out of the gate with his report is William Kelley, declaring 2022 “another very strong Burgundy vintage, offering excellence in both colors and in a wide variety of styles, foregrounding the fascinating nuances of site that render this region so interesting”, with wines that are “succulent, suave and charming”.
He notes how the dry, hot conditions somehow slowed the fruit’s development, as well as being another to emphasise the importance of June’s rainfall, as well as the sprinkling that fell in late August which “unleased ripening”. He warns that picking dates were key and at the extreme fringes, “early-picked 2022s present a delicate, pretty style that can lack a little substance” while later-harvested wines “span a spectrum from deep and muscular to overtly fat and jammy”. Fortunately, however, he finds that most wines sit between the two – “harmonious and charming with alcohol between 12.5% and 13.7%, reminiscent, in reds, of a hypothetical marriage of 2017’s easy charm with some of 2015’s depth and in whites, evoking a somewhat more giving, open version of the 2020 vintage”. These are, he says, “pleasure-bent Burgundies that will delight in their youth and at maturity”.
The success of the year is not merely due to the growing season, he writes, however, but the adaptation of producers to warming conditions – both in the vineyard and winery. Pricing remains a challenge, and he discusses the various factors at play, but celebrates the fact that few producers looked set to increase prices. Beyond this, he also highlights the ongoing threat posed by the troublesome rootstock 161-49C – highlighting that this is another reason to take advantage of “a comparatively abundant crop of high-quality wines”, something which “isn’t to be taken for granted”.
Having re-tasted many 2021s in bottle, he also emphasises that “while 2021 is far from consistent or uniformly great, any Burgundy purists who have overlooked the vintage may want to reconsider their position”.