The summer of 2022 has left a lasting mark on the southwestern department of Gironde. The heat waves – three official ones – gave the impression of a never-ending summer. Several fire outbreaks of unprecedented intensity destroyed 28,000 hectares of forest in the department and forced nearly 10,000 people to leave their homes, before being able to return. On September 12, a new fire broke out in the town of Saumos. Residents had to be evacuated and temperatures for the month of September set new records.
Two weeks earlier, the Union des Oenologues de France pondered, during a conference organized at the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences, about the possible consequences of the fires on the taste of Bordeaux wines. In the end, the vineyards seem to have not only escaped the worst – notably thanks to the winds, which drove away the toxic fumes – but could produce an excellent vintage.
The first results of the early harvest, which began on August 16 in the Bordeaux region, are very encouraging. “A historic climatic year and a very promising 2022 vintage expected in Bordeaux,” said the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) in a press release on September 6. A harvest that will however be “of low volume,” said Allan Sichel, president of the CIVB.
The latest exceptional 2019 vintage is a real gem. That summer, the region experienced two heat waves, and Bordeaux reached its absolute record on July 23 at 41.2°C. The episode is still fresh in the memory of the city’s residents.
The vine is a resilient plant that likes heat. Last summer, the weather conditions were favorable, thanks to very sunny days and little rain, which can be a vector for diseases and even parasites. According to Dominique Guignard, winegrower and president of the Syndicat Viticole des Graves, the 2022 vintage will undoubtedly be exceptional because initial checks indicate “excellent, high acid contents on the red wines, which is a sign of great maturity.”
‘This will be a fairly heterogeneous vintage. There will be some very good wines, that’s for sure. Excellent ones are more unlikely.’ Philippe Dulong, oenologist
The winegrower began harvesting his white wines on August 25, two weeks early compared to 2021. If he still has to wait and see how the tannins will react, Mr. Guignard is also aware that he has been quite lucky throughout the year. “There were a few frost incidents at the beginning of the harvest in spring, but the plant didn’t fall behind in its vegetative cycle,” he said. He also acknowledged that the vine could have been burned in some places. “There are plots of very dry, very filtering soils, and vines may have suffered.”
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