We , at De Toren, could not have asked for a more exceptional season. As a result, our extraordinary 2022 vintage is in every sense a success thanks to the mercy of mother nature. We experienced a higher-than-average winter rainfall with slightly cooler temperatures. This meant our De Toren vines were able to build up enough cold units to have a strong, even bud break later on in the season, while the above-average winter rainfall meant we had plenty of water to nourish them during our warmer summer months.
The 2022 vintage rainfall was slightly over double what we experienced during the 2017 vintage. As a result of a record-breaking rainfall experienced in May last year, we could plant our cover crops earlier and still benefit from the late autumn temperatures, allowing our cover crops to outcompete all other weeds while adding immense amounts of nutrients and building organic matter to improve our soil quality and enhance water conservation.
The westerly winds started picking up quite late in 2021, resulting in above-average fruit set for certain vineyard blocks. Our Malbec’s, which is always somewhat more affected by wind during the flowering season, produced an above-average crop, which we predicted.
Although the 2022 vintage was considerably cooler, we received little summer rainfall, so our disease pressure was quite low, resulting in healthy and evenly ripened grapes arriving at the cellar in the end.
A few heatwaves helped our vines to produce optimal sugar levels during the ripening phase. The first one occurred in January, which aided our De Toren vines to reach the harvest stage faster.
Though some days were hot, the temperatures at night were considerably cooler – the result being a substantial amount of colour and tannin production, resulting in concentrated, full-bodied wines.
As our fruit reached maturity with a lower alcohol potential, we had the option of either harvesting for aromatics and elegance or choosing bolder and heavier styles, placing our winemaking team in “blending heaven” with so many options to explore.
Our cellar took in all of our 2022 vintage grapes in only 22 days, making this season one of De Toren’s quickest ever. Our cellar team had to work a little harder and make sure we preserved all of our growing efforts.
Due to the fermentation success of our luxurious The Black Lion and Book XVII wines over the past couple of years in oak barrels, we wanted to incorporate the same approach with our Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec grapes this season. We did this by fermenting quite a large volume of grapes in barrels similar to The Black Lion and Book XVII for our premium range wines. We fermented our best lots in these barrels rather than stainless-steel tanks, which not only provided more cellar space, but also wines with significant more structure, texture, and aromatic intensity.
This is a concept we have been experimenting with (with extremely positive results) over the past three vintages in our premium wine range and have been developing over the past ten vintages in our icon wine range. This fermentation technique will play a crucial role in the future quality of our wines as we evolve our De Toren DNA.
As our grapes were all in the cellar on the 24th of March, we have been able to extract the natural acidity of our vineyards successfully at a perfectly low pH, which is essential to develop our De Toren wines that will stand the test of time.
With the 2022 vintage grapes encapsulating all the complexity and intensity as shown in our analysis, I can without a doubt say that this could well turn out to be another stellar vintage for De Toren.