Tasting the 2022 vintage from the Rhône Valley


We recently opened our cellars for an En Primeur tasting of the latest vintage from the Rhône Valley. Across the range, the wines showed great promise for the long term. Below, we delve into just a few highlights from a fantastic vintage. 

In early March, we welcomed almost 30 producers to our cellars for a tasting of the 2022 vintage from the Rhône Valley. Across our cellars, the wines – of which there were over 100 – were split into Northern Rhône and Southern Rhône. 

In the north, the Syrah grape reigns supreme, reaching its (very steep) zenith in the villages of Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage and Cornas. Here, the red wines are renowned for their power and grace, with plenty of black fruit and spice character (some even with a distinctive note of bacon fat). Whites are made from Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne, and tend to be fresh and aromatic, with some styles displaying tropical fruit flavours. The appellation of Condrieu is particularly famed for its white wines, which are renowned for their richness and body.  

In the Southern Rhône, the reds are warmer and riper than their northern counterparts, typically made from a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (often referred to as GSM blends) as well as other grape varieties such as Cinsault. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the most famous appellation in the south, producing many fine collectible wines. However, many of the wines made in the South are sold as Côtes du Rhone; although they are not celebrated for their complexity, many are reliably delicious and offer excellent value. Beyond the reds, there are many delicious whites to explore too. These can be made from Grenache Blanc, but also Clairette, Roussanne, Viognier and Marsanne.  

With such choice and breadth at your fingertips, where to start? You’d need hours to try every wine in earnest. Add to that the fact that your palate is dulled after a few wines, and things quickly begin to taste the same. However delightful it may sound, tasting wines in this manner can truly be hard work.  

When it comes to tastings such as these, my personal strategy is to choose just a few wines in each style and from each region. This helps me build a broader picture of how the region is tasting overall, rather than honing in on a specific producer or sub-region.  

Diligently tasting my way through 20 wines, I was struck by high levels of acidity across the range, in both the reds and whites. In the reds, this manifested as a sort of sour cherry character, and in the whites as a zippy lemon profile. High acidity is key to ensuring a wine has good ageing potential, alongside structure and tannins. Suffice to say that the wines showed great promise for the long term.  

Below, I’ve included six wines from across the region that stood out to me in particular.  

2022 Condrieu, Côte Bonnette, Mouton Père et Fils 

This white wine had delicious notes of orchard fruits such as golden apple and pear, with a floral perfume and a zesty lemon twist. The palate was marked by a distinct salinity, with more waves of orchard fruit emerging. It also had a subtle savoury character, with a touch of bread and biscuit from time spent on the lees, which also gives it a pleasing sense of body.  

2022 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Domaine des Saumades 

This was beautifully lively and fresh, with notes of nectarine, juicy pear and white grapes, alongside touches of white flowers and freshly cut grass. With a high acidity and great freshness, it was zingy and ripe in equal measure. Just the sort of wine I can’t wait to enjoy on a hot day, perfectly chilled. 

2022 Viognier de Rosine, Stéphane Ogier  

This ripe white wine had notes of peach, nectarine and orange blossom, with a lovely florality and hints of chamomile, as well as a subtle wax note. The palate was characterised by more lush stone fruits, with great acidity and freshness. All the elements are in place for this to age wonderfully, as the components harmonise. 

2022 Côte-Rôtie, Rose Pourpre, Domaine Pierre Gaillard  

This wine comes at the top end of Pierre Gaillard’s offering. It was displaying notes of rich black fruits, blueberries and spice, with a beguiling perfume of violets. It is not quite approachable yet, but with firm tannins, great structure and a sharp acidity, it has everything needed to age beautifully in the cellar. 

2022 Hermitage Rouge, Domaine Marc Sorrel  

My favourite wine of the evening, this was beautifully rich, complex and layered, with notes of blackcurrant and black plum, alongside pepper, flashes of vanilla, and a hint of violets. This richness was counterbalanced by an uplifting freshness, and the overall texture was wonderfully silky. Although it’s delicious to drink now, it’ll develop even more complexity with time in the bottle.  

2022 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine de la Janasse  

This was Mediterranean warmth in a glass. It was brimming with ripe, sticky fruits such as cranberry, blackcurrant, plums, with a hint of raisins. Very concentrated, rich and full-bodied, this will continue to develop more savoury notes of leather and tapenade as it ages.  

Browse our Rhône 2022 En Primeur offer here