2022 Burgundy En Primeur | First Impressions

by David Porter

2022 Burgundy 2022 is a wonderful vintage in Burgundy. For both reds and whites, top winemakers have not put a foot wrong. It’s no surprise that we found winemakers so smiley – the quality is superb, and for the first time in a while, they have some quantity too.

The wonderful wines we have now tasted really exceeded our expectations. Remembering fondly the long and hot summer of 2022 – we headed to Burgundy trying to shake the preconceived idea that we would find wines full of sunshine and richness. Perhaps they’d be like 2018, 2005 or please no – 2003.  We feared reds that could well be charming but might be a little loose – and whites a little flabby and lacking that finesse and that poise we seek.

Virgile Lignier-Michelot

After just one visit however, it was clear we’d got it wrong, and after our thorough scouring of the region with two weeks of intense tastings – we discovered quite what a special vintage this is. With both reds and whites at exceptional levels, these are wines that all wine lovers can confidently put in their cellars at all price points.

‘Surprenant’ said Virgile Lignier-Michelot – when we asked him about the 2022 season – reassuringly echoing our initial thoughts. It certainly is a great surprise how balanced and charming the wines are this year. Virgile has made an exceptional set of 2022s.

The Growing Season

Mother Nature had outwitted us once again. Yes, it was hot – but never extreme. Throughout the summer, high temperatures in the day were in stark contrast to the cooler nights. The yo-yo-ing in temperature is just what the grapes need. This diurnal shift allows the plants to respire at night, to recharge and the berries take on ever more intense flavours and layers of detail to the perfume.

A steady, long growing season was peppered with just the right amount of water at just the right moments. As soon as there was a concern for hydric stress in the vineyards, then a lovely downpour swept in to save the day. In June this happened and yet again in August. The bunches ripened evenly and slowly as a result. Continued and steady heat meant that the vines adapted through the season. It would seem they too are evolving and acclimatising to the new ‘normal’ of a vintage in Burgundy. I.e. a warmer growing season than 25 years ago – and these hotter years are not the exception any more – but a real trend, so 2022 is a great example of a ‘Modern Classic’ for Burgundy.

The grapes developed ideally, with sugars and acids in perfect harmony. The resulting wines are magic. The fruit is well-ripened and there is great concentration of flavour – but there is also a great concentration to the natural acidity – the balance is spot on. The wines of 2022 are expressive and refined.

This must, in part, be down to their new resilience, built up over the recent run of warmer years – and the result of great growers putting so much work and thought into how they work in the vineyards. We are lucky enough to work with some of the true stars of the region. Farmers who spend most of their time in the vines. Tweaking the training systems, green harvesting or not – and managing the canopies with leaf-pulling (or not) to suit the vines’ needs for either sunshine, or for ventilation. Other grasses and cover-crops are managed more and more between the vines, to add competition, to add shade and to add nutrients to the soils and help retain water too. The vineyard is where the wine is made – and as such this has to be the focus.

Joseph Colin explained that for his wonderful whites, 2022 represented an almost perfect season. He compared it favourably to ‘2014 or perhaps the celebrated 2020 – but a 2020 with more precision, more freshness and more balance!’

Sample of 2022 Burgundy


These 2022 wines are the product of carefully managed vine resilience and fortuitous weather – but also some canny, respectful winemaking too. In the cellar we found the best results where just a gentle touch was used. Where punch-downs were scaled back, and pump-overs were favoured. An infinitely detailed programme of using whole bunches (or not) in the reds was observed this year. Nothing systematic – plot by plot, winemakers chose to do different things. With the élevage too, it’s all in the details; new oak barrels – once a given for these ‘fine wines’ – have also been dialled back. The results are super – a real clear vision of perfectly ripened fruit. These are wines from a season that coaxed the best from the vines – and are joyfully unfettered by too much ‘winemaking’ in the cellar. They speak of their place in a clear voice – and so, although quality is almost homogenous, the wines are distinctly different in their expressions.

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