Which wines needs to be affected by the warmth wave and drought within the 2022 classic?

Which wines needs to be affected by the warmth wave and drought within the 2022 classic?

Even with a record drought that has accelerated ripening in vineyards from France to Spain, growers are optimistic

In the Douro Valley in Portugal, the team at the Quinta do Vesúvio winery trod the grapes harvested in their old stone presses in August. “Never in the history of this great estate, which dates back to 1565, were the grapes trodden so early,” said Harry Symington, whose family has been producing Port in the Douro for five generations.

This story, like many of the 2022 vintage — with scorching heat and record drought that accelerated ripening in vineyards from France to Spain — is another reminder of the impact of climate change on the wine world.
Even so, many producers are optimistic. Drought generates smaller grapes with more concentration and prevents some diseases. An overview by region follows.

bordeaux

This famous French region has had spring frosts, hail storms in June, extreme heat, the driest July in over 60 years and forest fires. Authorities allowed irrigation, which is generally prohibited, on some properties.

For Château Margaux, the white grape harvest was the most advanced on record, and Château Mouton Rothschild, where the last harvest came so early was 1893, said that “2022 seems to be a very early vintage and highly promising”.

Burgundy

About half of Burgundy’s wineries began harvesting in late August, according to a report by Bill Nanson, and some ended on September 8.

Veronique Drouhin of Maison Joseph Drouhin, which owns vineyards on the Côte d’Or, says that both the chardonnay and pinot noir are tasty, with a good balance between sugar and acidity.

Champagne

The Champagne Committee set the official harvest start date on August 20, about two weeks earlier than last year, and reported yields at the highest level in more than a decade. This could help address the recent champagne shortage, but some feel it raises questions about quality.

Séverine Frerson of Perrier-Jouët was thrilled with grapes that look “very, very good, ripe and well-balanced. The texture of the chardonnay is delicate, and the pinot noir is very fruity and complex.” This is due to the long periods of sun to fully develop the flavors in the grapes and keep them healthy, and to last year’s soil water reserves that preserved acidity.

Loire Valley

Photos of the Loire River this summer showed water levels so low that people could walk from one bank to the other. But Loïc Caïlbourdin, from Domaine Cailbourdin in Pouilly Fumé, says that “the crop looks good, with small bunches that should yield concentrated juice”. He is harvesting at night to maintain freshness, as he has begun to do in recent years. Maison Pascal Jolivet predicts its best Sancerres “will be beautiful”.

provence

Don’t worry about the rosé offer. The harvest started a week or two early, and both quantity and quality look good, according to Stephen Cronk, owner of Domaine Mirabeau not far from St-Tropez. The rain at the right time was the salvation.

Rhone Valley

The great winemaker Laurent Combier, of Domaine Combier in Crozes-Hermitage, says he started picking white grapes on August 24, and it never started so early, even in the scorching year of 2003. He predicts “a totally exceptional year. … We will do less, but well.” Expect deep, rich and concentrated wines.

Italy

In Tuscany, the heat and drought resulted in some burnt grapes. To keep the vines moist, some winemakers applied white clay to the leaves. Then came the storms of late August, but “the 2022 harvest is much more positive than anticipated,” writes Cristina Mariani-May, owner of the Banfi wine company, which has vineyards in Montalcino and Maremma.

In the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene prosecco zone, rain in mid-August saved the quality, but the quantity will fall by around 10% to 15%, according to the area consortium, while in Barolo the fall is likely to be 20 % to 30%, says Giovanni Gaja, whose family owns the famous eponymous brand.

Portugal

In the Douro Valley, the amount of rain from January to late July was what normally falls in just one winter month, and July temperatures soared above the 30-year average. “We are on our way to one of the lowest yielding crops in Douro history,” said Harry Symington of Quinta do Vesúvio. His family estates still hope to produce very good and dense ports. In Alentejo, the situation is similar.

Spain

Wineries in Rioja usually don’t harvest until mid-September. Maria Urrutia Ybarra from CVNE explains that 2022 is being extremely unusual and the harvest started around September 2nd. The grapes are healthy, but the team is more concerned about the lower acidity because of the heat. The sherry region began harvesting on July 28.

Source: Bloomberg

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