En Primeur 2022 New Releases: Château Ducru Beacaillou, Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Canon, Château Valandraud
20 June 2023
The 2022 Château Mouton Rothschild has been released this morning at GBP 6216.
With three critics awarding potential for 100 points (Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Jeb Dunnuck, and Jeff Leve) and a further two suggesting potential for 99 points (William Kelley and James Suckling), this is very definitely one of the wines of the extraordinary 2022 vintage.
“It will unquestionably play with the top wines in the vintage.” Jeb Dunnuck
There were a number of 100pt scores from the Bordeaux Index team after we tasted individually and then shared notes back on the bus. Likened at this embryonic stage to 1982 by Jeff Leve, and to 1986 by both Antonio Galloni and Neal Martin, it is clear that yet another MAGNIFICENT Mouton is born.
“It is amazing how classical this Mouton this is, considering the extreme vintage.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown
One of the big releases of the year sees Ducru Beaucaillou 2022 at GBP 2244.
The 2022 vintage is a special one on more than one level. As well as being absolutely spectacular, it marks 20 years of Château Ducru-Beaucaillou’s legendary and oh-so-charismatic resident-owner, Bruno-Eugène Borie, running the property. His goal – to make “the best possible nectars from these blessed terroirs” – has been achieved, and some; he has transformed the château into one of the most well-known and well-loved of the Grand Crus Classés.
“It soars out of the glass with graceful, energetic notes of crushed blackcurrants, redcurrant preserves, wild blueberries, and dark chocolate.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown
While Ducru has gained a reputation for being one of the most hedonistic and sensuous wines of St Julien, recent vintages have focused more on precision and, if not quite restraint, then harmony. Indeed, it was one of the most delicious wines to taste en primeur this year (at the château alongside Bruno and his team), seamlessly balancing opulence and elegance, with tannins that felt like flowing silk.
The deep Gunzian gravel soils on the estate allowed the vines to access much-needed water reserves in the subsoils during the dry summer of 2022. Like a number of other estates, the harvest was the longest ever for the property (almost a full 4 weeks), with ideal conditions enabling optimal picking of all plots (and a team of 180 harvesters on hand to be deployed exactly when the grapes declared themselves ready).
“The purity here is truly remarkable, and it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, perfectly integrated oak, silky tannins, and a great finish.” Jeb Dunnuck
Bruno has been on “on an unstoppable roll since 2009” with Ducru (Jeff Leve), and since then the Grand Vin carries an average Wine Advocate score of 95+, a sure signal that this is a winegrower at the very top of his game. Pouring buckets of passion into each vintage, “Bruno Borie has done a remarkable job at Ducru Beaucaillou…if you haven't noticed yet, it's time to jump on the bandwagon” (Robert Parker). The only thing that disappointed us (and Bruno) about our visit in April was that we didn’t have time to join him for lunch after tasting…!
“It's a punchy, modern Saint-Julien.” William Kelley
The 2022 Ducru comes highly recommended by us, and by the critics, as the scores on the doors indicate.
A wine that really stood out for us this while tasting across Bordeaux was La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou. Today it is released at 432/12.
While tasting at the property, Bruno Borie explained how due to the very small berries of Cabernet Sauvignon this year, La Croix has a higher proportion of Merlot in the blend (roughly two thirds Merlot, one third Cabernet this year). It was a wine with superb concentration and complexity, aged in 80% new oak which will take a couple of years to meld fully with the fruit. For us, it ranked as one of the very best second wines of the vintage, and well worth seeking out.
“If there was a ranking for the top second wines in Bordeaux, this would be in the top handful of releases.” Jeb Dunnuck
This was one of the earliest, but also one of the longest harvests recorded at the estate running from the 7th of September until the 4th of October – over which time parcel by parcel was harvested at perfect ripeness. Coming from the same ‘beaux cailloux’ terroir as the grand vin, the second wine benefits from the same immense care and expertise at this address. It’s a no-brainer for the cellar, especially in large format!
“Not so far behind the Grand Vin” Neal Martin
An excellent wine of great breeding at a fabulous price. En primeur at its best.
The 2022 L’Evangile has been released this morning at GBP 2676 per 12. This renowned Pomerol estate is now turning out some of the most impressive wines of the appellation and the 2022 vintage is no exception.
“There are similarities with neighbouring Cheval Blanc on the nose as if it's holding something back in a good way.” Neal Martin
L’Evangile is one of the major focuses for the DBR (Lafite) Group and Saskia de Rothschild is already working to drive the quality ever upwards; it’s clear that they have huge ambitions for the estate – hardly surprising when you consider the incredible potential of their land which borders Cheval Blanc to the south and Petrus to the north! As one might expect the critics are wheeling out the praise for the 2022 and some of the highest potential scores the estate has ever seen.
“This classy, balanced Pomerol shines for its purity and finesse” Jeb Dunnuck
“In short, the 2022 is a classic Évangile” Antonio Galloni
Tasting at the estate during the primeur week, Jean-Sebastien Philippe, spoke about the hard work necessary in the vineyard by the team to protect and ensure the best quality from their younger vines. The team harvested according to the laws of the sun: one selection on the sunset side and one selection on the sunrise side to protect the aromas of the berries and ensure the highest degree of precision. The Merlot berries were around two-thirds of their usual weight, but the resulting wine shows incredible concentration and freshness. 2022 demonstrates how important the magnificent terroir of this estate was in producing a wine of great intensity and balance - and with a lot in common with its esteemed neighbours too!