Bordeaux 2022: St Julien
Author: Mark Pardoe MW
Having tasted at all the appellation’s key châteaux, our Bordeaux Buyers have a clear picture of St Julien in 2022. The best wines are “generous and enveloping”, says Mark Pardoe MW. Here, our Wine Director tells us more about the vintage and the estates to seek out in our Bordeaux 2022 En Primeur offer.
St Julien 2022 in a nutshell: the thick skins and small berries were remarked upon at several châteaux, which would certainly contribute to the exceptionally concentrated character of a lot of St Julien wines this year – though they still have a sunny, welcoming personality. The average yield is 34hl/ha.
A CLOSER LOOK AT ST JULIEN 2022
Although St Julien may not have hit the heights of the very best wines of Pauillac, this appellation’s reputation for consistency and reliability is untarnished. Perhaps there isn’t the sense of light and shade that can be found in the very finest wines of the vintage. There is great density: of colour, flavour and, of course, tannin. These wines feel generous and enveloping, sometimes with an opulence and viscosity that truly reflects the vintage conditions.
Leading the pack are Léoville Las Cases, Ducru-Beaucaillou and Léoville Barton. Perhaps that is no surprise, but the latter is an exceptional effort. It is also the first to come from the fully completed new cellars. The new facilities have allowed more control over the details; Léoville Barton 2022 does seem to have more tension than usual. This is even more evident with its sibling estate, Langoa Barton. The château’s smaller and more dispersed plots can now be managed much more nimbly. The wine shows a new focus and complexity and achieves new heights. Keep an eye also on Talbot, whose wine is following a similar path.
Similarly sensual and beguiling is Branaire-Ducru. Its elegant aesthetic is enhanced by a plumper than usual mid-palate, but without ever feeling overstretched. Examples of the richer and moreish character of the vintage are Beychevelle, Lagrange and Léoville Poyferré – the latter because of the high proportion of Merlot used.