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Bordeaux 2022 Primeurs: Sauternes & Barsac

Bordeaux 2022 Primeurs: Sauternes & Barsac

For my very last tasting of the Bordeaux 2022 primeurs Twingo and I pulled into the car park of Château Ripeau in St Emilion, before heading inside to taste a selection of wines carried by the négociant Vintex, as well as a broad range of Sauternes.

Except of course it wasn’t my last tasting, it was a Sunday morning appointment halfway through my time in Bordeaux. But you have to be flexible; it’s not practical nor really even possible to taste everything in the order which I report on it.

Twingo, in case you were wondering, stayed in the car park. He doesn’t like sweet wine, which is of course an alien concept to me.

Perhaps he is my Alter Ego?

Inside I headed upstairs to see Sauternes guru Bill Blatch, who was pouring a good range of wines of Sauternes and Barsac. Naturally I took advantage of the opportunity to quiz Bill on the story of Sauternes in this vintage; much of the information presented in this instalment of my report is gleaned from Bill’s words and his remarkable day-by-day record of the growing conditions and harvesting decisions taken in the region.

Sauternes & Barsac 2022

The earlier benevolence of the growing season applies here just as it does elsewhere. By the end of August the soils were dry, freshened up only by the light rain that had fallen across all Bordeaux halfway through the month. The vines looked healthy, with a rich canopy of green leaves (“not like 2003”, says Bill), and the grapes were ripening fast, although they remained firm, with hard and resistant skins. Hardly surprising in such warm and dry conditions. There were a few showers on September 7th, 8th and 9th (5.8 mm, 1.8 mm and 4.5 mm respectively), not enough to get botrytis going on such thick skins. After that it was dry and hot again, up to 37°C on September 12th, although the nights were cool.

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