An Anatomy of 2022 in Provence

An Anatomy of 2022 in Provence –  First thoughts and conclusions based on the Rosé Press Tasting, February 2, 2022

The 2022 vintage in Provence almost came as a blessing after the challenging frost- affected and mildew- impacted 2021. With an estimated rise in volume of 18% compared to the previous vintage and +6% reported to the last five years ‘average, 2022 seems extremely promising. Sampling around 100 Rosés across Côte de Provence, Coteaux Varois en Provence and Coteaux d´Aix en Provence while reading through my tasting notes and conclusions from 2021 and 2020 allowed me to draw a first picture of the vintage for this flagship colour.

Delayed budbreak in 2022 (ranging from end of March to late into April) as compared to 2021 prevented from frost- attacks that revelled so damaging in 2021 and 2020. Spring storms during the Easter weekend helped building water reserves after an historically dry winter and allowed for a drier up- coming period during flowering. The most prominent red grape of the area, Grenache Noir hence had the chance to escape coulure, which challenges it most of the vintages. Mildew pressure was insignificant compared to 2021 and hail scarcely threatened some sectors by the end of June.

However, what came next had been a true challenge of its own. The 2022 vintage experienced one of the most serious droughts for decades doubled by three to four heat waves. Despite late bud- burst, the veraison started by mid- July and the vintage begun 10 to 15 days earlier than in 2021, depending on various sectors with first grapes picked as early as 6th of August! Salvation came with some rainfall in August, the only month of the year to experience higher precipitation levels comparted to 2021. This also helped rebuilding a day to night thermal shift after the breath- taking heat in July.

Ripening was surprisingly even, despite some water stress and healthy grapes were picked with incredible concentration. When it comes to the flagship colour of this region (rosé represents 91% of the production) this is a true problem. Decrease in acids, sugar accumulation and the threat of skipping the thiolic harvest window were among the most important threats. Harvest during the earliest hours of the morning if not earlier into the night seemed the only solution to preserve delicate aromas and avoid issues related to water stress.

Despite these challenges those how have chosen the reductive pathway technically succeeded in achieving well defined thiols. The threat of failing was such that some pushed it slightly too far into the thiolic area in a vintage that suffered from a certain lack of nitrogen. Some samples show slightly too reductive and mainly offering the 4MMP box- hedge aromas. The best examples combine thiols and their esters (3MH and their a3MH form). In some cases, amylic features also appear. However as already mentioned for 2021, this itinerary has already revealed its limits and weaknesses. Thiols have much more resistance through development and tend to keep on developing through hydrolase phenomena while purely esteric versions would easily fade.

Nevertheless, the biggest challenge was to link the fresh thiolic nose to something coherent on the palate. With alcohol levels ranging between 13- 13,5% abv. and diminished acidities we had the reverse picture of 2021. Last year´s wines tended to explode on the nose with confected fruit and esters or on the contrary, highly aromatic thiols, however, with abrupt and restrained palate that somehow lacked mouthfeel and emphasized the herbal sensation.


Côtes de Provence 

Astros Selections “Amour ” Overt, with fruity esters and clean, intense fresh peachy fruit. Fleshy, combining balanced freshness despite a moderate acidity, with smooth texture and nice zesty, sapid grip. Lengthy.

Vignoble Jérôme Quiot Domaine de Verlaque « V de Provence » Pale grapefruit pink. Expressive, offering confected fruits such as melon, pear, and strawberry. Palate is wide and richly textured, with mild acidity and lots of sweet fruit, finish comes with some extraction giving zesty feeling and  pleasant bitterness to counterbalance the generous style. Both long and intense.

Bastide des deux lunes  “Tout près des étoiles” Rose petal colour, nose mixes light boxwood, fine herbal aromatics with melon and confectionery hints. Stony background. Smooth and large palate with moderate acidity, the intensity of ripe fruit promotes estery aromas while alcohol is generous and balanced by the phenolic structure. Lactic hints on stony aftertaste bring more complexity.

Cibonne Selections “Cibonne Tentations” Very pale, pearly pink. Discreet, reductive style, combining pomelo and stony hues. Its palate is very fresh, while texture is smooth and light with zesty background, moderate alcohol and citrusy, thiolic finish with an herbal touch and good length.

Château La Tour de l ́Evêque « Pétale de rose » Pale salmon pink. Seducing red fruits mingle with ripe peaches. Soft and wide attack with gentle acidity and silky texture, its fruity energy softens towards the finish, offering ripe fruit and a focused, sapid mesh that restructures the whole.

Châteaux Elie Sumeire Château Coussin “La Croix du Prieur” Pale grapefruit pink, nose mingles herbal nuances on floral background with a light reductive hint. Fresh and citrusy acidity, with rounded core, finish promotes zests and citrus notes.

Clos des Roses “Dame de coeur “ Pale melon pink, intense nose, offering strawberry and peach. Mouthcoating roundness with melting soft acidity and silky texture without becoming flabby. Intense fruit, bursting with peaches and zests on the finish.

Château des Demoiselles Rose petal pink. Nose shows citrus fruits, grapefruit thiols, with a stony touch. Fresh, tonic, with juicy, pomelo- like acidity, zesty phenolics without any bitterness. Punchy citrus peel aromas linger on the finish, a well balanced, long and elegant wine.

Château Paquette organic Salmon pink. Strawberry notes mix up with herbal hints. Supple, slighty fizzy to enhance the mild acidity, its stays fresh, though smooth with lovely bitter zestiness on the finish.

MIP “Classic” Pearly peachy pink, nose mixes melon and boxwood with herbal hues. Moderate though fresh acidity, enhanced by light fizz, citrusy pomelo background digesting the alcohol, though offering a spicy hint with nice bitterness.

Domaine Fontainebleau en Provence « Château Fontainebleau » Pearly peachy pink. Fruit with light flesh, light ester. Ample, supple acidity and rich heart, textured, final on the intensity of fruit, peach and melon.

Château Vert cuvée « Château Vert » Pale salmon pink. Boxwood, stony, Pomelo, light pearl. Acidity present and salivating with good balance on the texture with a zesty and not bitter finish.

Château Angueiroun “Reserve” Pale peachy pink. Reductive opening upon orchard fruit with herbal hues. Wide and smooth with juicy and fresh citrusy acidity, its balanced core restraints towards a touch of zesty bitterness.

Château Jas d ́Esclans Orange pink. Ripe fruit on the nose offering peach and apricot. Ample palate, with smooth texture and melted acidity its generous core is structured upon a slightly firm mash, though coated up by layers of mouthfeel and roundness.

Château Mirabeau en Provence “Etoile” Pearl pink, delicate nose entwining floral elements and light estery peach. Moderate acidity and textured grain offering structure with slightly spicy finish.

Domaine de la Navicelle “La Navicelle” Pale rose petal. Deliberately thiolic with lots of boxwood and pomelo, very lively and tonic palate, with linear texture and rather intense, zesty clean finish.

Coteaux d´Aix en Provence

The Coteaux d´Aix en Provence seemed more heterogenous with a large variety of styles from the most reductive and purely thiolic to various stages of esters and up to the confected, amylic styles with richer and more layered palate than usually. Acidities vary from moderate to more supportive depending on sectors and styles, while more assertive when it comes to reductive, thiolic vinifications.

“A whole year without disease, lovely grapes, perfect maturity… We lived a dream harvest! However, the vintage was marked both by its precocity, harvest starting on August 6 (the 2003 record was thus equalled) and by its length since it lasted until the end of September. As for the volumes, they are good, estimations oscillating between 225,000 and 230,000 hl, with levels that tend to become the new average of the PDO.” Olivier Nasles, President of the Syndicat des Vins Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence


Château Calissane “Calisson de Calissane” Salmon pink, with peachy nose offering a touch of citrus, with fruity esters rather than thiols and a floral twist. Silky attack, with supportive freshness, its texture grain gives a slight grip, finish comes with spicy layers and peppery pomelo zests.

Château Vignelaure Pale salmon pink. Discreet, delicate notes of flower and redcurrants, a hint of vine peach. Wide with moderate acidity, slightly generous core and gentle spiciness, backed by a zesty finish. Long and complex with peachy and exotic fruits on the aftertaste.

Château La Coste  Melon pink. Exotic nose sharing passion and nectarine peach backed by floralnotes. With light pearly fizz enhancing tonic acidity, its tangy citrus fruit couterbalances the slightly generous alcohol, its finish is spiced up with exotic notes.

Commenderie de Bargemone “Cuvée Collection” Litchi pearly pink. Nice compromise mixing citrus thiols and estery notes. Hints of pear, anise come along. Supple, with ligh carbonic drizzle to emphasize the freshness, its juicy and zesty feel together with gentle alcohol altogether offer a palate with both texture and vibrancy, carried on by lovely zesty crunch.

Château Paradis Pale redcurrant pink. Thiol reducing, stony, grapefruit, limit reduction. Lively and in citrus fruits, pomelo, zesty freshness, some phenolics, moderate alcohol and final on bitters.

Hecht& Banner Pearly melon pink. Delicate nose mingling pomelo and notes of pear and anise, its supple and slightly pearly attack offers freshness, despite the gentle acidity. A digest palate with moderate alcohol, grapefruit- driven and offering a zesty and spicy finish.

Les Quatre tours “Vilandria” Pale pearl pink, mingling fruity esters with exotic thiols like passion fruit notes, tropical fruit, backed by floral hints. Delicate palate, with smooth, silky mouthfeel contrasting with the animating acidity. Moderate alcohol, refreshing zestiness and a peppery twist.

Maison Saint Aix “AIX” Rose petal pink, its reductive style offers thiolic citrus notes, entwined with orchard fruits and floral background. Grainy palate with balanced acidity acidity and a structuring finish backed by peppery generosity.

Coteaux Varois en Provence        

The Coteaux Varois en Provence benefited from the altitude effect and the wines show freshness despite moderate acidities and slightly more generous palate, with higher alcohol compared to 2021. Like elsewhere in Provence the sector also took advantage of the allowance for irrigation on almost 20% of the area. However, the acceptance came slightly late, by the beginning of June. One of the main threats was the decrease of malic acid as temperatures constantly exceeded 30°C. Storm episodes by the 15th and the 30th of August replenished the berries with salvatory water re- establishing balance and quantity. The most prominent hazard was the hail episode of September 2nd that affected the villages of Saint Maximin, Le Val and Brignols, Bras. Harvest extended from September 5th to October 10th and took advantage of the important day/ night thermal shift with particularly cool night during September which was not the case everywhere in Provence where some sectors still registered 30°C by mid- September.


Estandon “Génerations” Melon pink. Deliberately thiolic, with notes of boxwood, passion fruit, grapefruit. Dry and lively, with fresh dynamics recalling citrus fruit, such as grapefruit, its digest alcohol brings smooth texture, finish is backed by nice zesty bitterness with a touch of exotic passion fruit on the aftertaste.

Domaine de « Cala Prestige » Melon pearly pink. Nose is reductive with notes of cracked match and toast. With fairly melted acidity and generous core, the finish offers some bitter  zestiness, with grainy texture supported by phenolic backbone and stony minerality.

Domaine de Saint Andrieu « Oratoire Saint Andrieu » Pearly melon pink. Nose offers refreshing thiolic notes of citrus with hints of box hedge. Fresh palate, highlighted by a slight pearling, its supportive acidity combined with moderate alcohol offer a juicy, well-defined profile with zesty finish.

Château des Annibals « Suivez- moi jeune homme » Sandy pink. The nose combines herbal notes with white peach and fresh grapefruit on stony background. Dry and smooth, with invigorating citrus fruits, its freshness is balanced with spicy and peppery hints. A light phenolic crunch enhances the structure while the finish is sappy, with savouriness.

Château Marguï Sandy pink, with white gold rim variation. Fresh pomelo character mingling with vine peach, together with some confected fruit. Lean and grainy palate with balanced and animating acidity, supported by digest and integrated alcohol while the finish offers salivating pomelo notes, with hints of zests and slightly tropical after- taste.

Domaine de la Gayole “La Chapelle” Pale pearly pink, offering a good compromise thiol / ester, between boxwood and peach, backed by melon and pear. Wide with a natural textural richness, it feels spicy, with melted acidity supported by zests, some peppery notes and a slightly bitter twist come along and spice up the finish.

Cave Saint André “Passion” Pale redcurrant pink. Intense nose offering small red berries, pear drops and confected fruits. Slightly off- dry- ish, with supple acidity and sustained alcohol, though not warming, its fleshy core contrast with some tangy zests.

Bastide de Blacailloux « Miraia » Melon pink, sandy- lined. Reductive nose, offering thiolic characters and estery melon notes. With rounded up mouthfeel and moderate acidity, its pomelo- like citrus fruit and hints of citrus peel animate its core and counterbalance the slightly generous alcohol, with a fairly zesty bitterness on the finish.

Domaine de Ramatuelle « Bienfait de Dieu » Pearly peachy pink. Notes of pear mingle with pomelo and box- hedge. Palate is clean and smooth, with medium still fresh acidity, cutting through the silkiness while finish comes with a zesty twist and juicy grapefruit character.