En Primeur, Investment, Wine

Rhône 2022 En Primeur Vintage Report

Picture of a castle in the background with a vineyard in the foreground, taken in the Rhône, Hermitage.

This is a vintage no one could have foreseen.

2022 has produced spectacularly intense and concentrated wines which have a lower alcohol content and great levels of acidity. For the Rhône, this is the optimal combination. The summer was the hottest since 1950, surpassing even that of 2003, there was therefore much concern about the freshness maintained in the wines, critics and the general wine trade however have been blown away by the outcome of this 2022 vintage.

“Never before has a vintage so confounded my expectations” Decanter

After a relatively wet winter and moderate spring, temperatures soared in May and what followed was one of the warmest and driest summers on record. Consistent temperatures enabled successful flowering and sunny conditions throughout the remainder of the summer allowed for a relatively stress-free growing season.

The warm days and cool nights allowed the grapes to reach perfect ripeness with ease, whilst also retaining excellent levels of acidity. Rain in early June and again in mid August gave the vines just enough water to survive the generally arid conditions of July and August. Harvest began promptly to ensure excellent retention of freshness and whilst yields were low, concentration levels were excitingly high. After extensive tastings, we can attest that the resulting wines are magnificent. The whites are wonderfully rich, ripe and honeyed, whilst retaining fine levels of acidity to bring freshness and vitality. The reds are concentrated and intense with exceptionally fine, ripe tannins and wonderful accompanying freshness. Alcohol levels are marginally lower than previous vintages which is a welcome development in this region.

The wines of the Rhône have never looked so attractive and are moderately priced compared to Bordeaux and Burgundy, this is a great Rhône vintage.

Map of the Rhône wine-growing region, showing the Rhône's position in France and the different appellations, including the Northern and Southern Rhône Valley

M. Chapoutier

Established in 1808, M. CHAPOUTIER is one of the most venerable and oldest properties within the Rhône Valley. Its global acclaim and quality of wines were significantly enhanced following Michel Chapoutier’s tenure beginning in 1990.

All wines below are listed as ‘Sélection Parcellaire’ by Chapoutier meaning wines produced are of the truest expression of each appellation and although the Rhône has no official classification, they are recognised as Grand Crus. These are exceptional wines created from the oldest vines with tiny yields and with a limited production of between just 100 to 700 cases. It is therefore no surprise that they are recognised as some of the greatest wines in the world accompanied by continual praise and high scores from the critics.

*All prices listed below are in bond

Picture of vines in the Northern Rhône Valley, the most famous Chapoutier Hermitage vineyard.

Reds

Saint-Joseph, Les Granits Rouge 2022

£235.00 per case (6x75cl)

Very darkly coloured. Meaty, bloody charcoal notes, along with melted-down blackberries and a touch of damson. Full-bodied but not massive, this is a very grand, savoury style that is extremely concentrated and promises great complexity. Structured with forthright acidity and bold, grippy tannins, just a bit too bold, perhaps. Not the most refined but this is still an excellent wine. 10% whole bunch. Decanter 95/100

Châteauneuf-Du-Pape, Croix de Bois Rouge 2022

£305.00 per case (6x75cl)

The 2022 is an intense and complex wine with notes of crushed red fruit and candied orange peel, complemented by a touch of rose water, that leads to a silky and elegant finish. Michael Chapoutier

Châteauneuf-Du-Pape, Barbe Rac Rouge 2022

£305.00 per case (6x75cl)

Nose of sweet spice and crushed raspberries which becomes more complex after aeration with notes of blood orange and chocolate. The palate is soft, with delicate tannins and refreshing acidity. The long finish reveals a gorgeous aromatic persistence with notes of garrigue and wild berries. Michael Chapoutier

Saint-Joseph, Le Clos Rouge 2022

£500.00 per Case (6x75cl)

One of the top wines from Saint-Joseph, Le Clos is made from a 0.98ha Syrah. This vintage shows finesse and energy with intense black fruit, pepper, violets, rosewood notes and very fine tannins. Michael Chapoutier

Hermitage, Les Greffieux Rouge 2022

£555.00 per case (6x75cl)

Les Greffieux is located at the foot of the Hermitage hill, on a glacial alluvial deposit terrace composed of shingles and clay. The vines here are over 50-years-old, creating powerful wines. This vintage displays concentrated blueberries on the nose with fern and a hint of mocha rounding off Greffieux’s intense bouquet. On the palate, the texture is smooth, the tannins are mouth-watering and the combination of fruit and spice is complex and captivating. Michael Chapoutier

Côte-Rôtie, Neve Rouge 2022

£585.00 per case (6x75cl)

Fruity and expressive, with resinous, balsamic touches from the oak – pine needles and cassis. Full-bodied, exceptionally smooth and fulsome on the mid-palate. Great concentration and a big packet of ripe tannins on the finish. Soft and rich, but very good. Hard to judge ageing potential here, it might surprise. Decanter 95/100

Hermitage, Le Méal Rouge 2022

£975.00 per case (6x75cl)

High-toned, remarkably smooth, full-bodied and concentrated with marked acidity. Tannins are blocky and robust, but certainly ripe. Actually very elegant in fruit, with remarkable depth, power and freshness and a long finish, which is impressive considering the vintage conditions. Vines are around 50 years old, fermented in concrete, aged in recently used oak barrels for around 14 months. Decanter 97/100

Hermitage, Le Pavillon Rouge 2022

£1,195.00 per case (6x75cl)

Plum and damson compote, star anise and soy on the nose. This is fresh and lithe, with marked acidity and a great explosion of flavour; bright as a meteor. Not as long as some vintages on the finish, but certainly makes an impression. The pH is at 3.6 naturally through concentration, and nearly 14% alcohol. Remarkably athletic in acid and tannin for a 2022. From lieu-dit Les Bessards. Decanter 96/100

Hermitage, L’Ermite Rouge 2022

£1,330.00 per case (6x75cl)

Smoke, flint and petrichor notes – very L’Ermite. Remarkably round and full for L’Ermite considering the fairly low alcohol. Intense, zingy acidity and great mineral drive. A crunchy, mineral and long finish, with enjoyably angular tannins. Huge energy and verve, undulating like a soundwave. Almost a caricature of L’Ermite, and will last for decades. Decanter 98/100

 

Whites

Saint-Joseph, Les Granits Blanc 2022

£240.00 per case (6x75cl)

Very darkly coloured. Meaty, bloody charcoal notes, along with melted-down blackberries and a touch of damson. Full-bodied but not massive, this is a very grand, savoury style that is extremely concentrated and promises great complexity. Structured with forthright acidity and bold, grippy tannins, just a bit too bold, perhaps. Not the most refined but this is still an excellent wine. 10% whole bunch. Decanter 95/100

Hermitage, Le Méal Blanc 2022

£785.00 per case (6x75cl)

Decidedly rich in style, the oak is quite marked, with roasted pineapple notes, lemon verbena and lemon thyme. Very full-bodied, this is massive, assertive and powerful, but with great freshness and energy. Flinty, smoky elements and a long, salty, mineral finish. One for the ages. Pure Marsanne, vines are over 50 years old, planted on pebbles, clay and some loess, facing south. Whole-bunch pressed, half fermented in demi-muids, half in vats . Decanter 99/100 – best Rhône white wine of the vintage

Hermitage, De l’Orée Blanc 2022

£830.00 per case (6x75cl)

This has the characteristic breadth and fat of De l’Orée, with a surprisingly bright and piercing acidic line. Rich, ripe mango, with a touch of pineapple, the alcohol and oak are both surprisingly well balanced for a vintage like 2022. Not the most mineral or fine perhaps, but very good. From 60-year-old vines in the lieu-dit Les Murets at the top of the hill on heavy, water-retaining soils. Decanter 97/100

Hermitage, L’Ermite Blanc 2022

£1,925.00 per case (6x75cl)

Surprisingly full-bodied for L’Ermite, richer in body than a classic vintage. This is precise and fine, with notes of lemon verbena and struck flint. Reductive now, so give it time, but there’s great drive and focus. Unusually high acidity (3.2-3.3 pH) which is rare for Marsanne. From east-facing vineyards situated around the chapel, which are the only white vineyards on the granitic part of Hermitage, other than Dard & Ribo’s plots. Decanter 98/100

Vineyard picture of Northern Rhône vines on terraces with Hermitage in the background