Château Margaux’s 2022 Grand Vin is without doubt as extraordinary as the weather conditions were. Extraordinary firstly because of its concentration: due to the very dry summer, the Cabernet Sauvignon berries were almost 35% smaller than in a normal year. Particular care had to be taken during vinification and the separation of the wine from the solids, during which only the silkiest tannins were extracted. Another less fortunate consequence of the small berries was the lowest yields since 2013.
The wine is also extraordinary for the freshness of its flavours: we had expected wines with solar notes. We might have expected them to be lacking in acidity. But this was not the case. The nose revealed itself to be a delicate mixture of fruity and floral notes. The wine’s length remains supported by a remarkable acidity, nicely balancing the higher-than-usual alcohol levels.
The blend is more classic with predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon (92%). This enabled the wine not to be too high in alcohol, at 14.5%, as a result of the weather conditions. 6% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc complete the blend. Château Margaux represents 40% of the harvest.
The description of the weather conditions has begun the same way almost every year for the last ten years: 2022 was once again the hottest year on record... and to this, we must add another climate phenomenon: a severe drought. However, these two factors impacted the harvest in such a way as to produce an extraordinary vintage.
Apart from some frosts in mid-January, the winter of 2022 was mild and relatively dry, with just 150 mm of rain. Nationally, the spring of 2022 was the third warmest (13.2°C) since 1900, close behind 2011 and 2020. It was the same in Margaux, with record temperatures during June, sometimes exceeding 40°C. Fortunately, in typical Bordeaux fashion, there was regular rain throughout the spring, with 182 mm in Margaux. Summer brought further extremes: three long, intense heat waves; the thermometer again recorded temperatures over 40°C several times, and over 35°C for more than 14 days in July and August. Slightly more than six long weeks passed without a single drop of rain. The 20 mm that arrived at the end of August was welcome, but its effect was more to cool the air than to significantly rehydrate the surface soil.
In these conditions, budburst was relatively spread out, between March 28th and April 13th, depending on the grape variety and the nature of our diverse terroirs. Conditions were sufficiently good that no coulure or millerandage was observed in our plots during flowering, which took place in the week of May 24th, indicating an early vintage.
The summer weather then reinforced the early nature of the vintage. The white grape harvest took place extremely early, on August 18th.
For the red grapes, it lasted from September 8th to 27th, with normal temperatures in September and optimal harvesting conditions. The first autumn rains began on the last day of the harvest.