C94F0AC9-FD06-474F-8FC5-481499A78F7F 8030012C-F81C-47CA-B0CB-274F7F7D399E
En Primeur Notebook – Part 3

En Primeur Notebook – Part 3

En Primeur Week, an annual ritual which sees wine professionals from all over the world flocking to Bordeaux. Over the course of three days, in six host châteaux, the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux holds tasting sessions devoted to each of its constituent appellations. Tag along with Vintage for a behind-the-scenes insight into this vast event, and get an exclusive preview of the 2022 vintage


It’s Thursday morning, and the sun is just peeking through the clouds as we head up the left bank of the Garonne. In Saint-Julien, we are greeted by an instantly recognisable mythical creature. A griffin-bowed ship, guardian of the wines of Dionysos in Greek mythology and emblem of Château Beychevelle, points the way to the wines of Saint-Julien, Listrac-Médoc and Moulis-en-Médoc. We climb the stairs to the mezzanine, overlooking the glass-paned vat room. The vast windows offer an unimpeded view of Beychevelle’s illustrious neighbour, fellow Grand Cru Branaire-Ducrue. As we survey the room and pick up the latest rumours and chit-chat from the assembled tasters, it becomes clear that En Primeur Week has been an unmitigated success. A German merchant confirms our intuition: “This year, I decided to focus on the left bank because I love the wines of the Médoc. The vintage is really remarkable. You can feel that sense of pride at the estates, talking to the owners and winegrowers.” One Saint-Julien château-owner was quick to agree: “It really is a great vintage for our appellation, with all the typical characteristics: Fruitiness, length on the palate, softness, tannins… something we hadn’t seen for a very long time.” Time for us to hit the road and see if the mood was the same up in Pauillac, just a stone’s throw further north.

© Martin Dupuy Photographie

“The vintage is really remarkable. You can feel that sense of pride at the estates, talking to the owners and winegrowers.”


Set on the banks of the Gironde estuary, the port of Pauillac marks the geographical centre of the appellation. From this very spot, in 1777, the Marquis de Lafayette set sail on a mission to support the Americans in the war of independence. Today, the terraces of the restaurants lining the port are packed with wine professionals grabbing a quick spot of lunch before tasting the great growths of Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe, Haut-Médoc Nord and the Médoc. We headed over to Lynch-Bages to join them, and to marvel at the estate’s state-of-the-art facilities. The wines are served in the centrepiece of the recent renovation, an immense, energy-efficient vat room bathed in natural light. The verdict? Here, as everywhere else in Bordeaux this year, the wines are great! In fact, judging by what the tasters are saying, great is something of an understatement. The proof? The Americans are here, and “they only make the trip for the very best vintages,” one representative confides with a smile. Now it’s time for us to wrap up the final leg of this exceptional road trip in pursuit of the 2022 vintage. On Thursday night, En Primeur Week draws to a close. Peace and quiet return to the vineyards, after a jam-packed week.

© Martin Dupuy Photographie
© Martin Dupuy Photographie


Jean-Charles Cazes, owner of Château Lynch-Bages

What is the general atmosphere like as En Primeur Week draws to a close?

It has been a very busy week, with a lot of visitors. Numbers have returned to pre-COVID levels, particularly with the return of Asian visitors. The Americans also showed up en masse. This week has got the campaign off to a very good start. You can sense that people really appreciate the quality of this vintage.

What are your first impressions of the 2022 vintage?

It is a great vintage across the board in Bordeaux, with real quality wines in all of the appellations. That in itself is remarkable. We are very pleased with it. As for Pauillac, all of the wines I have had the chance to taste have been of exceptional quality.  They are underpinned by a tannic structure and Cabernet grapes which are quite simply outstanding. The vintage is really something special, exuding power, richness, exceptional maturity and a rather surprising freshness! We were expecting less freshness, given the very hot conditions. In the end, the acidity levels balanced out. We can put that down to the combination of warm days and cool nights we had in September, which did not negatively impact acidity, unlike in 2003 when overnight temperatures were also very high.


Beyond discovering a new vintage, what does En Primeur Week mean to you?

It’s an opportunity to get together, and to talk about wine. Retailers really appreciate this week, not only because they get to taste the wines, but also because of the opportunity it presents to meet up with other industry players from various markets. It helps them to get a feeling for the international situation, taking the pulse of the global market. Beyond getting a sense of the vintage, there is a lot of insight to be gained about the state of the market as a whole.


As an estate owner, what does hosting tastings at Lynch-Bages mean to you?

Hosting tasters at Lynch-Bages for a vintage such as this is an immense pleasure and a real privilege. We are delighted to welcome our friends and neighbours from the Union des Grands Crus who joined us to present their wines. And of course, we’ve just completed a four-year renovation, so this is the perfect opportunity to showcase our facilities, including our brand-new vat room and cellar.


Arthur Jeanne


These articles may
interest you


logo airfrance logo riedel