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Bordeaux 2022 en primeur: Haut-Médoc, Listrac-Médoc, Médoc, & Moulis-en-Médoc

I conclude my review of the left-bank in this exciting if complex vintage with a selection of the wines of the appellations of Haut-Médoc, Listrac-Médoc, Médoc and Moulis-en-Médoc. Many of these I found extremely impressive and even those noted below 89-91 are likely to represent exceptional value for money.

Grapes and ruined medieval tower in vineyard in region Medoc, France

I conclude my review of the left-bank in this exciting if complex vintage with a selection of the wines of the appellations of Haut-Médoc, Listrac-Médoc, Médoc and Moulis-en-Médoc. Many of these I found extremely impressive and even those noted below 89-91 are likely to represent exceptional value for money.

The stars here are, perhaps unremarkably, a brilliant and rather Margellais La Lagune, brimming with crushed berries and florality, a refined and elegant Cantemerle exuding class and finesse and a supremely well-composed and gracious Branas Grand-Poujeaux.

Highlights in 2022

Best of the appellation:

  • La Lagune (Haut-Médoc) (93-95)
  • Clarke (Listrac-Médox) (91-93+)
  • Clos Manou (Médoc) (91-93)
  • Branas Grand-Poujeaux (Moulis-en-Médoc) (92-94)

Value picks:

  • Cantemerle (Haut-Médoc) (92-94+)
  • de Malleret (Haut-Médoc) (91-93)
  • Potensac (Haut-Médoc) (91-93)
  • Fonréaud (Listrac-Médoc) (90-92)
  • Fourcas-Dupré (Listrac-Médoc) (91-93)
  • Fleur la Mothe (Médoc) (90-92)
  • G d’Estournel (Médoc) (91-93)
  • Chasse Spleen (Moulis-en-Medoc) (91-93+)
  • Granins Grand Poujeaux (Moulis-en-Medoc) (91-93+)

A note on the ratings

This year, as for the 2021 vintage before it, I have decided to provide an indicative rating for each wine alongside the published comment. All such comments and ratings are necessarily subjective (they cannot be anything else, when one thinks about it). I would urge you to look at the two together and, if anything, to privilege the comment over the rating. My aim is more to describe the wine in the context of the vintage, the appellation and recent vintages of the same and similar wines, rather than to judge the wine per se.

The ratings, of course, reflect my subjective evaluations and relative preferences between wines. Your palate is likely differ from mine. I hope that my comments give you at least enough information to be able to recalibrate my ratings and, in so doing, to align them more closely to your palate. To give an example: if the idea of the ‘new classicism’ leaves you cold, you may well wish to discount the (typically high) ratings I have given to wines described in such terms.

2022 is, of course, a far from entirely homogeneous vintage – and, consequently, my ratings span a considerable range (from the very top of the scale downwards). I see little interest, either for the consumer or the producer, in publishing very low scores. Consequently, I have decided not to publish scores for wines that I have rated below 90 (here the range 89-91). Where no rating is published, the wine would have scored 88-90 or below.

Finally, élevage is likely to be very important in determining the quality in bottle of these wines (like 2021 and rather more so than in other recent vintages). I am no soothsayer and cannot predict how that will turn out. All en primeur ratings should be treated with caution and taken with a certain pinch of salt.

Detailed tasting notes (listed alphabetically and by appellation)


  • D’Agassac 2022 (Haut-Médoc; cru bourgeois exceptionnel). This is likely to represent excellent value. Plush, plump, ripe, but not over-ripe, cherry and berry fruit and a fresh, fruit-charged, dense mid-palate with lots of energy make for an exciting combination. The finish is well-sustained, the tannins remain silky and the fruit sapid and juicy. 89-91.


  • Beaumont 2022 (Haut-Médoc; 65% Cabernet Sauvignon; 35% Merlot; 5% Petit Verdot; tasted at the UGC press tasting). As ever this is impressively similar and recognisable in style as the little sibling of Beychevelle. Gloriously soft, caressing, silky and gentle for a wine in this kind of price bracket and with depth and concentration to match in this vintage too. Lovely walnut, cedar and graphite interwoven with the berry and stone fruit. Quite gracious, though it will need a little time in bottle to show at its best.


  • Belgrave 2022 (Haut-Médoc; 57% Merlot; 39% Cabernet Sauvignon; 4% Petit Verdot; 13.5% alcohol; aged in oak barrels, 25% of which are new, and amphorae; re- tasted at the UGC press tasting). Nice lift on the nose. Quite a precise fruit profile here – loganberries, raspberries and brambles; a little blackcurrant leaf too, accentuating the sense of lift. Pure and direct, a little note of sous bois and a touch of graphite (but no more). Bright, lively, crunchy berry fruit – again loganberry is the most prominent. Structured by the Cabernet tannins and the acidity. Very fresh, with just a hint of astringency perhaps, but undoubtedly sapid and gently rolling on the finish with excellent length. Nice harmony if not the complexity of the greatest of the classed growths, a success nonetheless. 90-92+.


  • Bellegrave du Poujeau 2022 (Haut-Médoc; cru bourgeois). Easy, accessible, with nice crushed dark berry fruit notes. Quite pure, no great mid-palate concentration, but a pleasing mouthfeel and quite ample. Long and mentholated on the finish and fresh.


  • Bernadotte 2022 (Haut-Médoc; cru bourgeois supérieur; 52% Cabernet Sauvignon; 47% Merlot; 1% Petit Verdot). Limpid in the glass, a little closed on the nose but with lovely dark stone and then berry fruit (as the wine breathes and exhales). Very refined with ultra-fine grained silky tannins and a translucent, elegant and detailed mid-palate. A long, slightly chewy finish. This is worth seeking out; accessible yet with aging potential. 89-91.


  • Cantemerle 2022 (Haut-Médoc; 70% Cabernet Sauvignon; 20% Merlot; 5% Cabernet Franc; 5% Petit Verdot; 13.5% alcohol; Eric Boissenot is the consultant oenologue; re-tasted at the UGC press tasting). Refined and elegant on the nose if a little closed and introvert at first (no bad thing), the fruit profile is quite complex (with red and darker berries, a little cherry, but also some damson and plum skin elements). A wine with that Boissenot grace and charm. Subtle and a little introvert, not at all showy or demonstrative. The oak is subtle and there’s just a hint of the cedar to come. On the palate, the tannins are silky, the structure is elegant and shapely and the finish very well-sustained, sapid and refreshing in its juiciness. There’s more to come from this estate, but this is very promising indeed. 92-94+.


  • De Camensac 2022 (Haut-Médoc; 60% Cabernet Sauvignon; 40% Merlot; a final yield of 30 hl/ha; tasted at the UGC press tasting). The Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the blend, though there is more Merlot in the vineyard itself. Oakier on the nose and sweeter too than Belgrave, tasted alongside. A pleasing delicate florality to this aromatically. Quite like a lot of other wines of the appellation, it is pure and fresh and quite bright and crisp, with a well-defined spine, but it doesn’t have great complexity, perhaps lacks a little delineation and I find the finish almost a little acidic – in tension with the somewhat sweeter scented nose.


  • Cissac 2022 (Haut-Médoc; cru bourgeois). Lovely fresh, bright and crisp, crunchy berries – red and darker – with a little red cherry too. Subtle use of oak (it’s scarcely detectable). A touch of graphite and quite a sumptuous mid-palate charged with free sapid fruit juices. Refreshing and a little distinctive. An excellent proposition for relatively early drinking.


  • Citran 2022 (Haut-Médoc; tasted at the UGC press tasting). Sweetly-scented, gentle and harmonious on the nose, the slight hint of wood well-incorporated. Soft on the entry but the tannins when they engage are a little coarse and, if never dry, then ever so slightly abrasive. But a great value in prospect.


  • Coufran 2022 (Haut-Médoc; 85% Merlot; 15% Cabernet Sauvignon; tiny yield of 16 hl/ha due to significant hail damage; tasted at the UGC press tasting). A rather strange nose. Soft and supple, plump and quite lithe, but with pronounced earthy, sous-bois notes and almost a peanut butter element alongside the dark berry and stone fruit! Full, plump and quite ample but this has been pushed too far – it’s very blitzed and the tannins are dry on the finish.


  • Croix du Trale 2022 (Haut-Médoc; cru bourgeois). More extraction than Bellegrave du Poujeau with soft tannins on the attack, but then then start to build in granularity and they dry the wine out a little on the finish.


  • La Lagune 2022 (Haut-Médoc; 52% Cabernet Sauvignon; 45% Merlot; 3% Petit Verdot; 13.7% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting). This is very pretty, with lovely floral aromatics that would have you place this in Margaux (it’s not that far away really). Lilac, peony, fresh pink rose petals, a little suggestion of lavender and wild herbs – thyme and rosemary – interweave with the crunchy, plump black cherry fruit, but there are also red currant and black currant leafy notes bringing freshness. A hint of cedar. Very complex and also super-svelte on the entry and through the mid-palate. Sumptuous, very elegant and refined and very stylish. The wine of the appellation. 93-95.


  • De Lamarque 2022 (Haut-Médoc; 42% Merlot; 42% Cabernet Sauvignon; 16% Petit Verdot; a final yield of 42 hl/ha; 14.5% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting). Creamy and quite opulent, soft and svelte tannins, quite ample and rich, juicy and sapid. An impressive wine with a crystalline and luminous mid-palate.


  • Madame de Beaucaillou 2022 (Haut-Médoc; 66% Merlot; 23% Cabernet Sauvignon; 11% Petit Verdot; after name change in 2019 from Fourcas-Borie & Ducruzeau). Smoky. Quite marked by the Petit Verdot with pink and green peppercorns. Creamy but fresh. Croquant. A little closed. Tender but rather coarse tannins. Juicy. Fresh. Leafy mint on the finish.


  • De Malleret 2022 (Haut-Médoc; cru bourgeois exceptionnel). Gorgeous aromatically, with subtle wild herbs, violet and peony alongside the black cherry and dark briary fruit. More black cherry on the palate, which is nicely shaped and built around a well-defined, dense, fruit-filled core. Impressive. Quite gracious. Tastes like it comes from Margaux, and it’s not that far from Arsac and Macau. Seek this out, it’s great! Definitely a pick amongst the cru bourgeoisie! 91-93.


  • Moulin Riche 2022 (Haut-Médoc; cru bourgeois supérieur). Classic authentic claret, with a nice dollop of graphite to accompany the raspberry and bramble fruit. Ripe, but not over-ripe with good density and crumbly tannins.


  • Paloumey 2022 (Haut-Médoc). Now and for some time reliably excellent, there is no exception in this vintage. Cedar and graphite wrap themselves around the dark, briary fruit. An impressively dense and compact mid-palate and silky tannins make for a wine with structure and finesse. A long gracious finish. Very good indeed. 89-91.


  • Potensac 2022 (Haut-Medoc; 43% Cabernet Sauvignon; 36.5% Merlot; 19.5% Cabernet Franc: 1% Petit Verdot; 14.5% alcohol; tasted at Las Cases in excellent company). A ‘best ever’ candidate from here and likely to represent fabulous value for money. Creamy. Rich, with a tight and slender frame. Incredible tannins and great elegance, finesse and clarity. Dark berry and stone fruit. Pure. Unpretentious. Excellent. 91-93.


  • Reysson 2022 (Haut-Médoc; cru bourgeois supérieur). Dark fruit. Clay earthy notes. Big, punchy, long, quite brash and the tannins just a little rustic. Impressive length. Needs time. Somewhat monolithic and monotone. But fine.


  • La Tour Carnet 2022 (Haut-Médoc). Dark plump berry fruit, with a lovely slightly wild and almost heathery herbal element on the nose – which is a little introvert at this stage (something I rather like). Fine-grained tannins slowly build to reveal the taut and tight structure of the wine. The fruit is a shade lighter on the palate. Not the most profound wine of the vintage, but a nice sense of balance and harmony and a wine that will drink well in its fresh-fruited youth. 91-93.


  • Villegeorge 2022 (Haut-Médoc). Richer than La Tour de Bessan tasted alongside. But with much the same elegance. Lovely density. More graphite. Cedar. Sage. Violets. A wild herbal note. Very harmonious. More cedar on the palate. The violet again really come through (hence the purple label?). Lovely; very cool but without any obvious menthol note. Quite gracious and a success in this vintage. 90-92.


  • Clarke 2022 (Listrac-Médoc; 70% Cabernet Sauvignon; 30% Merlot; 14% alcohol; tasted a second time at the UGC press tasting). Fuller, darker and richer in the glass than the other wines of the appellation tasted alongside, this is limpid, glossy and evidently viscous; indeed, there’s a lovely and impressive creaminess and a radiant freshness on the nose. Red and darker berry – raspberry and bramble – and black cherry, a touch of wild rosemary and thyme and a suggestion of walnut shell on the nose, with crushed berry and stone fruit on the palate. Quite substantial but fine-grained and well-behaved tannins accentuate the sense of structure. Slightly sombre and serious and very much a vin de garde but with lots of potential. 91-93+.


  • Fonréaud 2022 (Listrac-Médoc; 55% Cabernet Sauvignon; 40% Merlot; 5% Petit Verdot; a final yield of 38 hl/ha; 14% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting). Fresh and bright aromatically with a lovely purity of raspberry, blackberry and stone fruit, with just a little hint of wood smoke and a wild heathery note for good measure. Supple, soft on the entry and then a lot of momentum over the palate. Fresh and vivid and vibrant. Pure and precise. Nicely done and with highly refined tannins. 90-92.


  • Fourcas-Dupré 2022 (Listrac-Médoc; 51% Cabernet Sauvignon; 44% Merlot; 5% Petit Verdot; a final yield of 26 hl/ha; 14% alcohol; re-tasted at the UGC press tasting). Resplendent in its new bottle design, this is a super wine even in the context of this great vintage. Tender and slightly wild (in the best sense of the term) on the nose, with wild herb, subtle spices and a crunchy berry fruit, this is delicate, gracious and silkily textured with a lovely freshness that builds towards the sapid and refreshing finish. A little fresh mint on the finish, reinforcing the freshness. Likely to represent excellent value. 91-93.


  • Fourcas-Hosten 2022 (Listrac-Médoc; 53% Cabernet Sauvignon; 44% Merlot; 3% Petit Verdot; a final yield of just 22 hl/ha; 13.3% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting). A little sweeter and slightly more reductive at first than its immediate neighbour on the nose. Slender and lean and focussed in its precision, with soft and gentle tannins nicely enrobing the fruit. A very pure dark fruit. A hint of walnut and graphite. Lovely. 90-92.


  • Saransot-Dupré 2022 (Listrac-Médoc; cru bourgeois supérieur). Another excellent wine from Listrac that expresses its terroir very well. Bright, crunchy red berry fruit – that is just ripe and hence preserving of all its natural freshness. Accessible, unpretentious, lively and energetic and with soft and refined tannins, I am very impressed.


  • Beauvillage 2022 (Médoc; cru bourgeois). Like many, this is dark fruited, pure, tight and impressively concentrated, the fruit shading a touch lighter towards the long finish. The tannins gain in granularity but this is accessible and well-made – above all, pleasingly pure.


  • La Branne 2022 (Médoc; cru bourgeois supérieur). I find this a little pushed. The nose is marked by the oak and the tannins are a little raw – I feel wood tannin on my tongue and that turns this dry on the finish.


  • Castéra 2022 (Médoc; cru bourgeois supérieur). Another wine I find a little over-oaked and hence dry on the finish. A shame, as the fruit profile is interesting and there is plenty of freshness in the mid-palate.


  • Clos Manou 2022 (Médoc; 52% Merlot; 42% Cabernet Sauvignon; 3.5% Petit Verdot; 2/5% Cabernet Franc; 14.7% alcohol). Don’t be put off by the seemingly high alcohol level here as there is plenty of freshness to keep things in check – in fact there’s plenty of wine here too. Really impressive in its mid-palate density, breadth and intensity, with a gloriously rippling ripe berry fruit – a little like a pure raspberry coulis cutting through the richness of a panacotta. Great length, great concentration and fabulous purity. Another great value in the making from Stephane Dief. 91-93.


  • Fleur la Mothe 2022 (Médoc; cru bourgeois supérieur). Ooh, this is good. Lovely classic Médocain cedar richly wrapped around the dark and slightly spicy berry fruit. Full, plush and nicely shaped and well-structured, with a pleasing subtle saline minerality and great sapidity, this is a great wine to look out for in this vintage (and its shocking orange label might help you track it down). Great value. Lovely juiciness on the finish. 90-92.


  • G d’Estournel 2022 (Médoc; 67% Merlot; 29% Cabernet Sauvignon; 3.6% Cabernet Franc; 0.4% Petit Verdot; tasted at Cos d’Estournel). Bright, smoky with those redolent charcuterie and gamey notes. Dark berry fruit and fresh plums and a little damson. Sage and assorted wild herbs. Impressively full and with an expansive frame yet at the same time gracious and elegant. Nice spiciness but less obvious oak – cinnamon and nutmeg, no vanilla. Limpid. Crunchy fruits and a lovely calm sea glassy clarity. Fresh but substantial. True to where it comes from. This becomes more and more briary in its fruit profile in the glass. A bit of seafoam and iodine from the north! 91-93.


  • Noaillac 2022 (Médoc; cru bourgeois supérieur). Lovely cedar and pencil-shavings accompany the briary, bramble fruit on the open and expressive nose. Pure, direct with quite a lot of tannin to resolve, but an impressive length and a promising life ahead of it. Richly meriting its status as cru bourgeois supérieur on the basis of this showing.


  • Poitevin 2022 (Médoc; cru bourgeois supérieur; in conversion to organic viticulture; 13% alcohol). Toastier than most – with almost a hint of the toast one left just a fraction too long in the toaster, which rather overwhelms the pleasing cedar notes. Soft plump plum fruitiness, a little hint of walnut and a tender, sapid mid palate. The tannins are just a shade dry and I’d probably prefer a little less wood influence, but after élévage this will be another good advert for the appellation and for the cru bourgeois


  • Rollan de By 2022 (Médoc). Easy, dark, rich, nicely delineated and with a very pure purple berry and stone fruit gently supported without ever being dominated by the oak and the subtle spices it brings. Excellent value, above all in this vintage. 89-91.


  • La Tour de By 2022 (Medoc; 60% Cabernet Sauvignon; 35% Merlot; 5% Petit Verdot; 14/5% alcohol; a final yield of 50 hl/ha; re-tasted at the UGC press tasting). I’ve always had a soft-spot for this wine – one of the first Bordeaux vineyards I ever visited. Beautifully expressive of its Médoc terroir, with well-developed gracious cedar richly coating the dark cherry and berry fruit; the wood needs a little longer to bed in. Soft, supple, plump and pulpy, this will bring a smile to many faces in 5 years time and is quite accessible already. 89-91.


  • Branas Grand Poujeaux 2022 (Moulis-en-Médoc). Reliably now the leading wine of the appellation and it certainly doesn’t disappoint in this vintage. Dark-hued and limpid in the glass, with lovely crimson and violet highlights and yet translucent too. A supple and subtle dark cherry and red and darker berry fruit – bramble, maybe a little damson too. Soft and opulent on the entry, quite ample but at the same time nicely chiselled by the fine-grained, glossy, silky and polished tannins. Freshness from the minty note and with plenty of natural acidity on the finish. Long and tapering. Very harmonious and with a nice sense of moderation. 92-94.


  • Chasse Spleen 2022 (Moulis-en-Médoc; 54% Cabernet Sauvignon; 39% Merlot; 5% Petit Verdot; 2% Cabernet Franc; a final yield of 34 hl/ha; 13.5% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting). Lovely pure cassis and blackcurrant notes, subtle and yet graciously enrobed in graphite. Slightly closed, but that’s a pleasing thing – allowing this to unfurl at its own pace. A lovely touch of blackcurrant leaf. Fresh, tight and pure, relaxed and silkily textured. Nice to see a return to top form here. Maybe not the most complex, but everything about it is soft and voluptuous. 91-93+.


  • Granins Grand Poujeaux 2022 (Moulis-en-Médoc). This is excellent. A little hint of smoke and charcuterie, graphite too, but basically just loads of bright, crisp, crunchy fresh fruit – picked ‘à point’ and so highly sapid and juicy. On the palate this is very tight and compact with a cylindrical core densely charged with dark and red berry fruit. Long and nicely detailed on the slowly tapering finish. 91-93+.


  • Malmaison 2022 (Moulis-en-Médoc). Red cherries and a little cedar. Pure and nicely focussed if a little monotone, but with an impressive mid-palate density and structure. Long and fresh but not as much terroir identity as the best wines of the appellation.


  • Maucaillou 2022 (Moulis-en-Médoc; 60% Cabernet Sauvignon; 40% Merlot; a final yield of 35 hl/ha; 13.5% alcohol; re-tasted at the UGC press tasting). Quite toasty on the nose, with the oak reinforcing the subtle florality (a little less so at the UGC). Black cherries and mulberries and plenty of acidity, the tannins just a little rustic towards the finish and, if never dry, then shading towards a coarser grain. An impressive wine, but I’m not sure I’d really pick is as coming from Moulis. The oak returns on the finish and dries this just a touch.


  • Poujeaux 2022 (Moulis-en-Médoc; 55% Cabernet Sauvignon; 42% Merlot; 3% Petit Verdot; pH 3.85; a final yield of 31 hl/ha; 14% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting and at Clos Fourtet). Pure, richer than Chasse-Spleen with plum and crushed dark berry fruit – a pronounced signature of brambles. Broader on the opening too, perhaps more layered but the tannins I find just a shade or two courser. This performed better at Clos Fourtet, more sumptuous and I adjust my note a little. More of a vin de garde. Wild mint on the cool and refreshing finish. Lots of graphite; but just a touch dry on the finish. 91-93.

Please click link for db’s 2022 en primeur vintage report, along with appellation-by-appellation reviews (links updated as they become available) on PomerolSaint-Émilion,  St EstèphePauillacSt JulienMargaux, Haut-Médoc, Listrac-Médoc, Médoc, & Moulis-en-Médoc, Sauternes & Barsac and the satellite right-bank appellations.

Read more:

Bordeaux 2022 vintage report: Mysterious majesty forged from the enigma of climatic excess (

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