“If we can appreciate a blind wine tasting, we can only understand its true worth on knowing its history, when the three dimensions of time, space and man converge. And so it is that year after year, the vintages succeed and the history of Bordeaux wines is written. When we look back on a vintage, climate invariably springs to mind, though sometimes a vintage evokes the bigger picture. 2020 for example will be remembered as the Covid vintage, while 2022, the return to normal life, free of restrictions; the vintage celebrating the joy of life together again.
In Bordeaux, 2022 was also the vintage of climate change, the scars of which we still bear. It is a vintage that challenges the future, and raises serious questions, not least regarding our approach to viticulture. With waves of sweltering heat and historic drought, there is a distinct feeling that the pace of climate change is increasing, and our ability to adapt also.
Yet 2022 is also the vintage that beat all the odds, yielding wines of baffling freshness, purity and depth. It essentially came down to resilience. That of the vine, much to our respect. The admirable resilience of the growers too. It restores our faith in the future, which is all the more poignant in our constantly beleaguered environment. Resilience is a driving force, the motivation we need to push on.
Antonio Gramsci spoke of Pessimism of the Intellect and Optimism of the Will and 2022 certainly highlighted the latter. So if I were to choose one word to define the 2022 vintage in Bordeaux, it would be this one – optimism!”
En Primeurs Tasting at Château Belgrave