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2022, down into the earth

Photographs by Olivier Metzger & Nathalie Mohadjer

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2022, down into the earth

Thread

2022, down into the earth

Through thick and thin, the vineyard retains a certain mystery.

2022, down into the earth

A FEW DAYS AFTER THE START OF THE HARVEST, we tasted the first vats of Merlot and realized that the wines in this vintage would be different to anything we had expected.
In our experience, dry, scorching summers produce powerful, bright, expressive wines. And while Château Palmer and Alter Ego 2022 both embody these characteristics, they also have a certain harmony, delicate nature and freshness that continue to surprise us even as we introduce them to our friends across the world.
But why?
Winegrowing has changed significantly over the last 15 years. Palmer’s soils are alive, the organic matter is stable, and the roots run deep. Our vineyard plots are more than 40 years old on average, and we no longer trim the tops of our vines. The high temperatures in June helped them to prepare, while the rains at the start of the summer almost certainly made a big difference.
All these factors played a role, of course. But the vineyard has retained a certain mystery that we may never be able to explain entirely.
The X factor, perhaps?
- Thomas Duroux, Director of Château Palmer

“Although we were expecting the effects of the climate to wreak destruction, the terroir remains the undisputed master in the expression of our wines’ complexity.”
Thomas Duroux — Director, Château Palmer

AFTER A DAMP LATE FALL, a moderately rainy winter brought an alternation of warmth and cold to the vineyard. The vintage launched on March 22 with the homogeneous budding of our Merlots. From April 2 through 5, spring opened with a series of black frosts that arrived earlier than in 2021, and which had a limited impact on the vines’ growth and the next steps in their vegetative cycle. The vintage’s sunny trend became apparent from May onwards, with rapid flowering starting on May 18 in a hot, dry context.

IN LATE JUNE, welcome storms broke a first heatwave that had already set the stage for a scorching summer with no significant rain until mid-August. The threat of mildew abated while water scarcity set in. Having had their growth halted, the first ripe grapes appeared in early July. However, our youngest vines bore the brunt of temperature spikes above 40°C (104°F) between July 11 and 18. The mid- August rains proved beneficial and the grapes finished ripening in consistently hot conditions.

THE GRAPE HARVEST BEGAN ON SEPTEMBER 7 for a month-long race. With overall grape weight down by a quarter, the skins revealed a bold tannic presence. Driven by a well-developed phenolic maturity, the fermentation was fluid and offered a near-miraculous balance. Standing as testament to the clarity of the Palmer terroir, the assemblage was easy and natural, concluding in late November after just two sessions. Despite a contrasted climate, this 2022 vintage bears the promise of powerful wines, a precise texture, and a harmony capable of holding its own.

ALTER EGO 2022. The radiance is recognizable in an instant. This vintage’s sunny appeal is concentrated in the grapes’ generous flesh. Yet the most moving aspect of Alter Ego 2022 is its harmony. The assemblage offers a pitch-perfect rendition of the earth from which it was born: the light, Margaux soil, shifting and combining to form the finest of matters. Bringing to life a floral character and a powdery, tannic structure. Rooted steadfastly in its terroir, this Alter Ego opens in a display of intense refinement.

CHÂTEAU PALMER 2022. At the smallest movement of the glass, the rich fabric of this Château Palmer 2022 immediately heralds a singular creation. The palate welcomes an explosion of fruit in black and blue; the suave and delicate tannic texture dances across velvet. Without denying its solar identity, Château Palmer reveals a chiaroscuro of freshness drawn deep from its native land; it shines with a dark, beautiful light, reminiscent of an outrenoir by Soulages. Its balanced timbre, telluric in depth, has only just begun to express its nuances.