HomeAbout UsWine ReviewsArchivesAdvertiseContact Us


Wine Columns

Wine Reviews

WineReviewOnline on Twitter

Critics Challenge

Distillers Challenge

San Diego Challenge

Sommelier Challenge


Winemaker Challenge

WineReviewOnline on Facebook

WineReviewOnline on Instagram

The Amazing 2022 Burgundies
By Michael Apstein
Feb 14, 2024
Printable Version
Email this Article

Let me cut directly to the chase, or rather, the bottom line: Buy as much of the 2022 Burgundies—both red and white—as your budget allows.  I give this advice after having been astonished by the results of my annual tasting trip to Burgundy in November.  My prejudice was that the wines were going to be heavy and flabby because 2022 was another hot, dry year.  But my tastings proved my prejudice wrong.  (Data usually does that to prejudice.)  In general, the wines are concentrated without going overboard and, importantly, and surprisingly given the heat of the vintage, balanced by freshness.  

Laurent Delaunay, who is the current president of the BIVB, the organization that represents growers and producers describes the wines as “nuanced and transparent.”  Though you might expect that assessment from a person in his position, my tastings with both venerable négociants and small growers confirm that the appellation and vineyard boundaries are nicely etched.  The reds display Burgundian charm while the whites display a balance of luscious fruit and minerality.  The suaveness of the reds and the lusciousness of the whites reminded me of the 1985 vintage.

What explains why the wines are so charming and delectable, especially since 2022 was another hot and dry year, conditions that do not favor the delicate Pinot Noir?  The conventional wisdom is that that kind of growing season leads to over ripe grapes with low acidity, which translates into ripe, alcoholic wines that lack freshness and life.  This was clearly not the case with the 2022s.  Yes, in general, the wines are ripe.  But they are balanced by a lively freshness without a trace of heat from high levels of alcohol.

From talking to producers and other experts, I sense a combination of factors led to the success of the vintage.  Frédéric Barnier, the very talented and straight-talking winemaker at Maison Louis Jadot, says that, paradoxically, June made the vintage.  (The traditional wisdom is that September’s weather makes the vintage.)  Though the year was dry overall, massive rains over a few days in June restored the ground water and allowed the vines to survive the remaining dry summer, preventing the grapes from shriveling or being over-ripe.  Frédéric also says that he believes that the large volume of grapes slowed and reduced overall ripening.  He notes that the level of acidity in the reds was similar to that in 2021, while in the whites it was lower.  He does not consider 2022 a “fresh” (high acid) vintage, but the wines do taste fresh and lively, which he attributes to only moderate ripeness and moderate levels of alcohol, rarely exceeding 13.5 percent.

Laurent Delaunay echoes Barnier, emphasizing the importance of yield.  “A smaller crop would have resulted in jammy wines.”  He believes that in 2021, the small crop saved that bad-weather vintage—a larger crop could not have ripened adequately in such a cool growing season.  

Jasper Morris MW, one of the world’s great experts on Burgundy and someone with enormous experience with its wines, thinks that something else besides crop size was going on in 2022.  He reminds us that 2018 was also a large crop, but the volume did not prevent the wines from being heavy.  He believes that more and more growers are learning to pick a touch earlier to capture acidity.  Indeed, all the growers with whom I tasted remarked on how they started the harvest earlier than usual.

Véronique Drouhin, winemaker at her family’s Maison Joseph Drouhin, told me that, in addition to harvesting earlier—Drouhin started harvest on August 22—they are making adjustments in the vineyard and in the winery to mitigate the effects of climate change.  After tasting Drouhin’s fresh and lively 2022s, they seemed to have worked!

My advice is that since you won’t be able to taste many bottled wines before you buy—many, if not most, will have been sold in advance before they are bottled—buy from producers who you’ve liked in the past.  And seek out wines from lower pedigree appellations, such as Bourgogne Blanc or Bourgogne Rouge, where prices remain reasonable, from top producers.  And remember off-the-beaten-track villages, such as Marsannay in the Côte de Nuits and Saint Romain in the Côte de Beaune.  For whites, head to the Mâconnais where value abounds.

Much of what I tasted in November were barrel samples, that is, unfinished wines.  Even though producers create representative samples to taste, the wines will still change and evolve before bottling.  Sure, the wine continues to evolve even after bottling—that’s one of the wonders of wine—but far more gradually.  Before bottling the evolution and changes can occur much more rapidly and can be enormous.  Which is why I generally avoid recommending specific wines based on tasting barrel samples.  Thus, in the notes below, you’ll notice generalizations in addition to specifics when I tasted bottled wines.  

Let me start with the Mâconnais because that’s where the value for whites lies.  Wines with point scores have been bottled.  Prices are listed for those wines available on the U.S.  retail market at press time, according to winesearcher.com.

With the 2022 vintage, the label will change from Domaine Roger Lassarat to Lassarat et Fils because the reins have been handed to Roger’s son, Pierre-Henri, who wants to emphasize the family’s name.  Though all the vineyards, except for a sliver of Sur La Roche, are farmed organically, official certification will not arrive until the 2023 vintage.  As always, Lassarat’s 2022s are vibrant, balanced, and focused.  Lassarat bottles two easy-to-recommend St. Véran.  The “fruity and easy,” as Pierre-Henri describes it, “Plaisir” bottling (91 pts, $30), made from young, less than 25- year-old vines, and the invigorating and more substantial “Prestige” bottling (92 pts), a blend of five plots whose vines average 40 years of age.  Their minerally and refined 2022 Mâcon-Vergisson “La Roche,” (93 pts, $30) from a vineyard at the top of the village and just across the road from the Pouilly-Fuissé boundary, has more character than most wines from Mâcon.  Lassarat’s stunning 2022 Pouilly-Fuissé, “Terroir” (94 pts, $40), a blend of three plots, two from Vergisson and one in Solutré, shows why that appellation has such appeal.  Frankly, I suggest buying any of Lassarat’s 2022s that you can find.  You will not be disappointed.

Domaine Mathias in Chaintré, an organic, family-run estate of just over 30-acres in Macon, Pouilly-Fuissé and Pouilly-Vinzelles, made commendable wines in 2022.  Gilles, who runs the domine with his son, Thibault, explains that he finds naturally lower yields with organic farming.  Uplifting saline-acidity amplified the charm of their bright and balanced 2022 Mâcon-Chaintré, “Château du Chaintré.” (91 pts, $25).  Their subtly creamy 2022 Pouilly-Vinzelles, “Les Longeays,” is a step up and confirms the stature of that appellation.  (92 pts).  Even more exciting is the complexity that 50 to 60-year-old vines impart to their finesse-filled 2022 Pouilly-Fuissé, “Vieilles Vignes.” (93 pts).  

The label, Domaine Ste. Barbe/Jean-Marie Chaland, takes a little explaining, but the wines do not—they are uniformly stunning.  Here’s another domaine where you should buy whatever you can find and whatever your budget allows.  Jean-Marie Chaland runs the Domaine Ste. Barbe, which explains why both names are on the label.  Plenty of acidity supports their easy-to drink fruity 2022 Macon-Villages “Les Tilles” (91 pts, $20).  As Jean-Maire exclaims with a smile, “we don’t need to think all the time.”  Jean-Marie’s stellar 2022 Viré-Clessé show why those two villages deserve their own appellation.  The saline-like acidity amplifies the charms of the finesse-filled 2022 Viré-Clessé “Vieilles Vignes” that comes from 50-year-old vines (92 pts, $20), while the Viré-Clessé “Chazelles” displays a touch more ripeness without sacrificing any elegance (94 pts, $24).  As you can see, the wines are a bargain.

Moving to the Côte d’Or, Domaine Michel Bouzereau, led by Jean-Baptiste, is another “can’t miss” producer.  He started harvest earlier than usual and was thrilled with the results because of the precision and freshness of the wines.  He explains that there’s “plenty of flesh to go with the energy.”  No disagreement on my part.  As with past vintages, their 2022s wines are simply marvelous.  You just can’t go wrong with any of the wines from this producer, one of Meursault’s best.  I can recommend only one specific wine, their vibrant and deep 2022 Bourgogne Côte d’Or, because all the others were still in barrel or had just been racked.  However, judging from my past experience with their wines and how the other wines were showing, I have no doubt that their 2022s will be exemplary when bottled.  My advice: buy what you can find and can afford.  

Bouzereau has used the new appellation, Bourgogne Côte d’Or, which indicates that all the grapes came from the Côte d’Or, the heart of Burgundy, as opposed to anywhere else in the region.  Sixty percent of the grapes for this marvelous Bourgogne Blanc came from Meursault and the remainder from Puligny-Montrachet, but obviously, from outside of those village appellations.  You wouldn’t know it from tasting the wine.  Crisp and riveting, it delivers a marvelous and seamless combination of minerals and subtle fruitiness.  Tasted blind, it would be easy to mistake it for a village Meursault, except, of course, for the price (93 pts, $37).  Michel Bouzereau’s equally compelling and suavely textured 2022 Bourgogne Rouge Côte d’Or (93 pts, $38) is a good reminder that wines with a down-market pedigree from a top producer is where to find value in Burgundy.

My visit and tasting at Domaine Jean Pascal et Fils, a 35-acre family-run estate based in Puligny-Montrachet was motivated by their stunning 2020 Bourgogne Côte d’Or Blanc, a case of which lies in my cellar.  Alexandra, the daughter-in-law of the recently deceased Jean Pascal, like others, started the harvest early, August 22, to capture acidity.  It worked.  Their racy 2022 Bourgogne Côte d’Or Blanc, like the 2020, is stunning for a Bourgogne Blanc and is just another example of the importance of buying wines with lesser pedigrees from top producers (92 pts, $32).  A big step up in depth, complexity and price, Pascal’s 2022 rich and vibrant Meursault out-performs its village appellation (94 pts, $66).  Their striking 2022 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chalumaux combines weight and a captivating floral element with vibrancy (95 pts, $92 for the 2020).  Pascal’s entire range is easy to recommend.

Domaine Méo-Camuzet, like other top growers, has a négociant business to supplement their production.  None of the wines at Méo-Camuzet were bottled when I tasted there in November, but the range was splendid.  Though the label of the bottled wines will eventually distinguish the domaine from the négociant wines, it’s difficult to see the distinction when tasting barrel samples of the two.  The same consistency and high-quality is evident in both.  What also struck me was the vibrancy and energy of Méo-Camuzet’s 2022s.  My advice, buy what you can afford.  In my experience, Méo-Camuzet’s wines develop magnificently with bottle age.

The advantage of tasting at Burgundy’s top négociants is the ability to sample a wide range of wines from throughout Burgundy as opposed to a grower’s range, which is typically narrower and limited to their home territory.  Additionally, tasting with Véronique Drouhin (winemaker at the family run firm of Maison Joseph Drouhin) and Frédéric Barnier (winemaker at Maison Louis Jadot) allows an assessment of how individual producer styles—elegant and lacey for Drouhin; sturdier and more robust for Jadot, fare in a particular vintage.  Spoiler alert: Both styles succeeded marvelously in 2022.  None of the wines at either house had been bottled when I tasted, so I cannot give specific recommendations.  That said, Drouhin and Jadot each produced a spectacular array of 2022s, reflecting their respective styles, but also allowing the origins of the grapes to speak clearly, reinforcing the success and transparency of the vintage.  I’ve long been a fan of both houses, have great experience tasting their wines young and watching how they develop with cellaring.  Though differently styled, of course, Drouhin’s and Jadot’s 2022s are sensational young wines.  I recommend them enthusiastically.  I repeat my opening advice: buy as much of the 2022s as your budget allows from producers you like.

*          *          *

E-mail me your thoughts about Burgundy at Michael.Apstein1@gmail.com and follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MichaelApstein

February 14, 2024                                    

More columns:     Columns
Wine reviews:      Reviews