We're very pleased to have access to Chapoutier's 2022 vintage — Northern Rhône, of course, but the Southern Rhône as well, and some wines from even further south in Roussillon. We also seldom get to offer anything from their Alsace portfolio and this year we're able to offer a few cases of the lieux-dits Rieslings.
Some of us had the pleasure of tasting these latest releases in London: on the whole, all the clues of a warm vintage are there (in the fruit character and the alcohol, most notably) but this is quite consistently balanced by a correspondingly fresh acidity and firm tannic structure. The Méal and Ermite, especially the whites, presented particularly well amongst the Hermitage wines, but the Châteauneuf-du-Pape cuvées also showed very well, with the Barbe Rac's firmer structure especially enjoyable. It should be no surprise, especially with the Hermitage lot, that concentration is excellent and the differences betwen the lieux-dits are abundantly clear.
• Rhône: drought and heat tested growers' ability to respond quickly — and the arrival of the much-needed rain even more so, as this caused fast vegetative growth. Ultimately, conditions for full ripeness were present and the wines show freshness, balance, and reasonable alcohol levels in both red and white. • Roussillon: Chapoutier's vines largely escaped the heatwaves and there was an abundance of water reserves. Full ripeness, but nothing overdone. • Alsace: A dry and sunny vintage balanced just in time by rain at the start of September. High ripeness overall but balanced also by fresh acidity.