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Harvest Report 2022


General Overview of Languedoc-Roussillon


A cooler spring and a slow start to the summer morphed into brutal and intense heat in mid-June and resulted some prolonged heatwave conditions in certain areas, which ultimately characterised the 2022 vintage in Languedoc Roussillon. There was extended drought in some appellations and the intense heat continued into July. Vines were starting to show some signs of stress, as there was no rain at all during these months. Thankfully however, there was some relief in early August with a couple of days of rain and this saved the vintage for many producers.

Harvest time came early for the region, with the first pickings recorded on 3 August. Despite a reduced yield overall caused by the local, prolonged heatwaves, producers are optimistic about the overall quality and quantity of the 2022 vintage.


Vintage 2022 at Laurent Miquel

At Laurent Miquel, our foresight to create a lake in 2009 proves its value once again. This 5 million litre lake fills with water during the heavy winter rains and we re-use the water to drip-irrigate at the base of the vines during the growing season. This provides just enough water reserve to prevent the vine from shutting down during times of heat stress, like that of 2022, and ensures that the grapes reach full maturity. Generally, the quality of the harvest in 2022 was very good and the wines are balanced, fresh, refreshing and accessible.


The grapes were healthy and at optimum ripeness across the majority of sites, as despite the heatwaves in the region, we found that most of our vineyards flourished and, to our surprise, showed little sign of drought, water shortage or imbalance. The altitude at Auzines makes a significant difference during these hot surges, with temperatures on average 3°C cooler than St Chinian. Also, our Syrah and Viognier vines at Cazal Viel in St Chinian are generally 30+ years old, which makes them more adaptable to extreme heat pressure, as with such deep roots they can still find water and nourishment.


At the Auzines estate in Corbières, we had average rainfall during the first half of the year and the fog was well settled in the valley on most mornings. We had less pressure of mildew and oidium as the summer progressed, as the persistent lack of rainfall during June and July was the biggest challenge, but the vines adapted well, thanks to the higher altitude. In the end, our policy of night harvesting helped us retain natural acidity and we produced very fresh wines with a good level of malic acid.


In Cazal Viel in St Chinian, the rainfall in early August brought much needed relief and the ripening of grape sugars progressed in tandem with phenolic maturity. With both our Syrah and our Viognier vines the phenolic and alcoholic maturity curves remained much closer than usual, allowing the grapes to ripen while maintaining a nice acidity. This produced lower than average yields, with smaller berries, but the concentration was very high and the juice of a rare purity.

Harvesting started early in August 2022.


Chateau Cazal Viel

Start of the harvest: 11/08/2022 End of harvest: 29/09/2022


Whites and rosés

We started the harvest with the Chardonnay and then the grapes for our rosé wines. Thanks to upgrades made in 2020 at our grape reception area, we now receive the grapes much faster than in previous years. This speed allows us to choose the date of the harvest when grapes are at optimum maturity and to harvest the grapes at the coolest period of the night (3:00 am). The aromatic profile and tension of the Chardonnay promises great finesse, while the Syrah and Cinsault showed great varietal typicity with naturally high acidity and promise very elegant rosés to come.


Reds

Since 2020, we have chosen to harvest our reds a few days earlier than in previous years, when the grapes have just reached their optimum phenolic ripeness, but still retain a natural acidity. This promotes elegant and complex wines, with lifted, fresh, red fruit aromas. This year, we carried out a gentle maceration with only a couple of light pump-overs, in order to optimise the fresh, fruit flavours and extract silky tannins.

Chateau Auzines

Start of harvest: 19/08/2022 End of harvest: 09/09/2022

Whites and rosés

Thanks to the altitude at Auzines and the rocky, limestone soil, we found the white grapes offered great freshness and tension, especially Chardonnay and our flagship grape variety Albarino. We vinify 2/3 of the crop on site and transport the balance of the grapes quickly to our winery at Cazal Viel during the night, eliminating the risk of spoilage from heat, sunlight and oxidation.


Reds

The aim is to have focused wines, with sensations of fresher red fruits and we are gentle with light pump-overs and maceration to ensure silky tannic structure in the finished wines. We already see that the musts are of a high quality, showing layers of flavour and deep concentration. There is beautiful potential for this vintage for Syrah.


Conclusion

To summarise, despite the heatwave challenges, we were able to harvest 100% of grapes on our two properties at the best of their maturity - the quality and aromatic characteristics are excellent. As always, our focus is on expressing freshness, complexity and aromatic intensity in our wines.


We would like to thank all the employees of the vineyard and the winery for their participation and involvement. We are very optimistic for a high quality terroir expression of vintage 2022!

The quantity harvested of our various grape varieties at Auzines.


Chardonnay - just over 900 hl

Viognier - around 300 hl

Albarino - about 2500 hl

Syrah (red and rosé) - around 600 hl


Approximately 4300 hl of grapes harvested this year at Auzines, with just over 3000 hl vinified on site, with the rest sent to be vinified at Cazal Viel.


There is a little less volume than last year from our Auzines vineyards, which bodes for better quality overall.





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