Bordeaux 2022: Summer

What followed May was a very warm and ultimately wet June, and then a long, hot and dry summer.

The maximum temperatures remained above average, with a mini-heat-wave coming each month, each one typically lasting a few days. June set a new record for maximum temperature at Mérignac, with 40.5ºC recorded on June 18th. After this there were, unsurprisingly perhaps, storms. The result of these storms was that June was the only summer month to have higher-than-average rainfall, with 99.8 mm recorded, nearly 30 mm more than average. For the majority these storms were a blessing; the June rains are widely regarded as having been essential for topping up the water reserves, ensuring the subsequent good development of the vines. For a few, however, the storms brought something much less welcome, as hail caused serious damage to some vineyards.

Destructive hailstorms passed over the Médoc on June 20th, in two corridors, one over the southern Haut-Médoc vineyards (south of Margaux, north of the city of Bordeaux), the other far to the north, over the vineyards of St Estèphe. “It was at 8pm on the 20th”, said Fabrice Bacquey, technical director at Château Phélan-Ségur, the date and time clearly seared on his mind. The destruction was significant; some St Estèphe estates reported up to 80% loss of the crop on the affected parcels, equating to 50% loss of yield on the entire estate. Of note, the entire St Estèphe appellation has since banded together to install an anti-hail balloon system, which is now in operation. A number of big-name estates on the Médoc already have these in place, individually, but in St Estèphe they have made an admirably collective effort to protect everybody in the appellation.

Bordeaux 2022

As for those vines which escaped the hail, in the warm conditions the bunches of grapes quickly grew and began to close, and it was already apparent at this time that the individual berries were much smaller than is usual.

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