After a mild and dry winter, bud-break in the vines took place at an early date and during a period of spring frosts, which were kept at bay by carefully-adapted anti-frost strategies across the whole of the vineyard.
A mild spring followed with intermittent rainstorms which delivered just the right amount of water to the vines and soils without at the same time creating high fungal disease pressure.
Vegetation growth advanced smoothly, and the flowering process occurred in very favourable weather conditions with the vines at full nutrient capacity. Fruit set went quickly and in excellent conditions and promised an abundant crop.
When the hot, dry summer weather arrived, substantial adjustments were made to the cover crops in the rows, entailing the adding of shredded prunings and mulches, which enabled soil water evaporation to be kept down and the moisture and cool temperatures of the clay soils to be maintained up till the end of August, in spite of the high temperatures.
In the meantime, the veraison and the subsequent ripening process for the Merlot and Cabernet Franc developed gradually and smoothly. The vines never lacked water throughout the summer, and at the end of August, two night-time storms brought a total of twenty millimetres of rain, which provided some relief for the vines and replenished the soils. We were thus reassured that the ripening process could continue unhindered into September.
After numerous samplings of the grapes in each of the estate’s plots, we began the harvest on 6th September with the picking of the Merlot, which had thick skins and tightly swollen berries full of juice and ripe aromatic pips.
The Cabernet Franc followed from 20th September. These grapes were of outstanding quality this year; their skins were amazingly aromatic, while the first juices were fresh and firm with pHs of around 3.65 and carefully controlled potential alcoholic degrees.
After a long, pre-fermentation cold soak, the first juices began their fermentation. They very quickly took on an intense black hue with purple tones, while the aromatic components came through with the same speed. The first Merlot juices offered concentrated aromas of black cherries, blackberries and fresh wild black fruits. The palate was rich, majestic in style and showed an energy and tension that promised an outstandingly great vintage.
The summer of 2022 bore an incredibly close resemblance to those great summers that followed the Second World War, and which produced the outstanding 1945, 1947 and 1949 vintages.
As we write these lines and the harvest draws to a close, the vine, that astonishing Mediterranean plant, still displays a deep green colour, demonstrating its perfect adaptation within the great vine-growing terroirs.