Collection: Clos des Papes En Primeur 2022

2022 Vintage Report – by Vincent Avril, owner/winemaker of Clos des Papes

(edited and translated)

“It is a small harvest but the wines are of very high quality. Despite all the whims of nature, we have a very lovely vintage in the cellar.”

After the 2021 harvest, a major period of rain set in until the beginning of November, which made it possible to replenish water reserves; autumn has actually now become our rainy season in the Southern Rhône. We had 340 mm of precipitation in two months. Temperatures cooled with the first frost on November 20th but, by the end of December, it had become mild again.

On January 5th, a powerful Mistral wind brought us back to winter with a temperature of 2°C dropping to -2.5°C on January 14th. On the other hand, the rain was limited. Only 1mm of rain in January and a Mistral with gusts of 120 km/h. The temperature variations over a month were surprising. In December, we experienced a minimum of -4°C and maximum of 13.5°C. In January, the minimum was -2.5°C and the maximum 18.5°C.

At the beginning of February, the Mistral still blew very strongly. On February 14th, it finally rained 20mm and temperatures cooled down to 15-20°C during the day. February 11th saw the start of flowering of the almond trees, which was the same date as in 2020. On February 23rd, two thirds of the vines were pruned. At the end of February, the powerful Mistral returned reducing temperatures. The rain was still absent: only 100 mm had fallen since November.

The frost returned at the beginning of March with temperatures of -3°C in the morning but, fortunately, the wind was still present. We finished pruning on March 13th – at this point we were three weeks behind the same period in 2021 which was positive, given that, in 2021, the vines froze on April 8th. We still had low temperatures in the morning though with a mild 18-19°C in the afternoon. At the beginning of April, bud break was well-advanced and the Mistral was still very present at the start of spring.

Easter weekend saw the temperature warm up to around 27°C. The vegetation had grown a lot despite a period that was still very dry. However, we had to wait until April 23rd to have 24mm of rain.

At the beginning of May, temperatures were still a mild 25°C; the vines continued to grow but did not suffer or show disease. On May 16th, we reached 30°C and flowering increased to 50% on the Grenache, a week ahead of 2019 and 2020 as the mild weather had made it possible for them to catch up. On May 18th, the heat persisted but we needed to remain vigilant as the mornings were humid. At this stage, flowering was well established and even finished in certain areas. The Mistral continued and the intense wind caused temperatures to drop; it was time to start pruning.

On June 1st, fruit set had progressed well although rainfall was still insignificant; only 69mm had fallen since January 1st. The vines were still not suffering despite the lack of water and temperatures are around 32°C. 30mm rain finally arrived on June 5th but, unfortunately, it was accompanied by hail. This damaged almost all our plots: we lost 60% of the harvest on almost 6 hectares.

The heatwave continued: 37.5°C and 34°C at 8.30pm, 30.5°C at midnight. It was very hot during the day but, above all, the nights remained warm. On June 24, we had another disaster: it rained again with hail almost everywhere. This was not an issue for us as regards quality but on quantity; there was no need for us to do a green harvest as nature did it for us. The months of June have been very hot for several years now, especially at night. On June 27th 2019, it was 40°C and in 2017 it was 43°C. We do not see any disease though and, at the end of June, the vines still grew.

At the beginning of July, we had a heatwave and a powerful Mistral. On July 12th, véraison began on all plots. There was still no rain though and, by July 25th, it had been two weeks with temperatures of 39°C and higher. We noticed slight water stress in the vines, but they react well; we have seen much worse.

​On August 1st, temperatures reduced to 38°C (in 2020, it was 41.5°C on the same day) but the nights were cooler. On August 5th, véraison was almost finished on the Syrah and was 60% complete for the other grape varieties.

On August 14th though we had another disaster: we suffered severe hail on 12 hectares and had numerous impacts on others. Only 6 hectares were not affected at all out of our total of 35 hectares. A 4.5 hectare plot was hailed upon this year for the third time, and it was 100% destroyed. Nature is not always kind. In 2017 we had coulure and hail, in 2018 we had mildew, in 2021 we had frost and, in 2022, hail and a heatwave. The quantities were greatly reduced but, fortunately, the ripeness and quality were there.

I will not talk about climate change but about climate disruption, for we have extreme episodes. We must accept the whims of nature. 8 hectares were 90% destroyed. On August 17th, it rained 15 mm again; this was beneficial rain for the rest of the harvest which was beginning to suffer from drought. On August 19th, a small Mistral dried the grapes and the fruit health progressed well. At the end of August, it was still very hot but the nights were cooler.

We begin harvesting the whites on 30th August and the juice yields were low. Then we started with the reds; with the lack of water, the berries were small and therefore the volume of the juice was also low but, a consolation: the phenolic maturity had evolved very well and the quality was good, that is the main thing. We finished the harvest on September 17th. It is a small harvest but the wines are of very high quality. Despite all the whims of nature, we have a very lovely vintage in the cellar.

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Clos des Papes En Primeur 2022

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