2022 in the vineyard
Pascal Baratié, our Vineyard Manager, gives us a short summary on the 2022 year and its climate so far: “Heat and drought have marked this vintage. Paradoxically, despite the drought experienced, there are still quite a few young green leaves. It seems the vines have been much more affected by the heat than the drought.” And even if the white grapes’ harvest started early, this year was not the earliest that we faced: in 2003, harvesting began on August 13th.
An early beginning of the harvest
For the white grapes, the harvest began on August 16th. Usually, the picking starts with dawn, when the temperatures are cooler. It is better for our grape pickers and the grapes themselves, as we need to keep them cool to preserve the “flavour precursors” which will be naturally revealed during the fermentation. We only use the best grapes to produce the sought-after Château La Mission Haut-Brion white. Therefore, a careful sorting is made not only in the cellar before the pressing, but also directly in the vineyard by our watchful grape pickers.
Always trust the vines
Listen to the insights of Jean-Philippe Masclef, our Technical Director and Florence Forgas, our Cellar Master, about the future 2022 vintage of our white wine: the first tastings are foreshadowing a solar yet balanced vintage. The Sauvignons are already showing their vibrant quality, and the Semillons are revealing particularly delicate and elegant aromas.
According to Jean-Philippe Masclef, “2022 is indeed a solar vintage, but there is good balance and one should never doubt the vines’ ability to react, in these rather excessive years, provided that people know how to take good care of them.”
Harvesting the red grapes
The red grapes’ harvest began after many careful tastings of the grapes, completed by laboratory analysis. The first plot to be picked this year was the one called “Fer à cheval” (horseshoe): a good omen for the beginning of this crucial period!
A superb harvest
Each day, the red grapes are carefully hand-picked by our harvesters, in excellent conditions: the berries are healthy, tasting very good and the laboratory analysis are fantastic! This year, the drought and the several heatwaves of the summer have resulted in smaller berries but the harvest is superb despite this.
Jean-Philippe Masclef, Technical Director, comments “I have the feeling, even so, that 2022 is a little different to anything we have ever experienced before, even 2003. The heatwave in 2003 lasted a long time and it was quite late, in August. In 2022, there have been several heatwaves, each one relatively short, with temperatures falling between these various periods.”
2022, in the footsteps of the greatest
Jean-Philippe Delmas, Deputy Managing Director, comes back on this year’s promising crop and its specific characteristics: “With regard to the characteristics of this vintage, sun-drenched, hot and particularly dry, we can compare it to the great vintages of 2020, 2019, 2005 and even the 1990s, 1995…all these outstanding vintages, and this gives us hope that we may make a very, very promising vintage this year.”