The 2022 harvest has so far been a huge success. The quantities are ample, and quality is fine, with beautiful, healthy grapes harvested until the end – more or less.
Yields are high, and many producers flirted with the legal limits (amazing how clever vines are). And although this year’s production perhaps cannot satisfy the global demand for Burgundy, it will certainly help.
Rain on September 14
One of the advantages of following the harvest up close is that you notice changes in the weather, and the tensions it creates amongst the vignerons.
The weather in Burgundy is volatile and localised; rainfall in one appellation or even vineyard does not mean the neighbouring appellation got the same amount of water. I am based in Nuits-Saint-Georges, and my observations are made just opposite the town hall. They are local, and for the most part about the effects on local pinot noir.
There were light, occasional showers during the harvest itself, but the first major rain was on September 14. In Nuits-Saint-Georges, 20 mm fell onto the relatively dry vines and vineyards. The rainfall here was not as heavy in other parts of Burgundy -important to note.
The water was quickly absorbed by the vines and the grapes, resulting in some dilution of the juice (this became clear after pressing). But the grapes maintained their health, with no rot in well-kept vineyards.
The resulting dilution is, however, significant, meaning one can taste it compared with wines from the same domaine harvested before September 14.
That said, the ultimate effect on quality and hedonistic joy is debatable, as the wines still appear to have lovely juiciness and an expressive character.
In the end, post-rain concentration is lower, and while these wines will provide lovely drinking in their youth, they will possibly not age as well or should I say long as the wines harvested before the rain. Also, will they have that sparkle or twinkle that is often lost when rain falls just before the harvest?
The grapes harvested before the rain were not too powerful or concentrated, so in the long run, the post-rain wines will presumably prevail. But let’s see how the character of the 2022s develops. It’s always a question of balance.
So note the harvest dates: before September 14th – and after!