2020 Bordeaux – First Impressions
The Big Picture:
2020 is good. It is not as ‘homogenous’ as either 2018 or 2019 but there are some outstanding wines to be found. The key in success was judging balance, a question of how the fruit, the acidity, the concentration and the structure combine. It was a warm, challenging year for the growers and winemakers had to have a deft hand in avoiding over-extraction.
In general, we found the Right Bank Saint-Emilions and particularly Pomerols have a more generous character, the fruit a little sweeter – clay soils perhaps giving the best results. Saint-Emilion with a note of caution, as some wines were over extracted. Pessac-Léognan turned out some excellent wines, these are worth looking out for this year. The Médoc was more uneven, but with some excellent performers none the less. We pick out the wines from Margaux to be more dependable and in cases outstanding than the other communes, perhaps due to higher Merlot percentages in the blends.
Regarding the dry white, you will find short offers of both. Stylistically there is more variation so we have narrowed the choice down to the best and most characteristic wines of their ‘type’ across a range of prices. Notable wines include Domaine de Chevalier, Malatric Lagraviere, and Clos des Lunes ‘Lunes d’Argent’.
While yields were OK on the Right Bank, the Left Bank had an overall lower production than 2019 which may affect price and availability. This year’s catastrophic frosts may well be taken into account too, all of which means we will be looking closely at prices, and recommending to you based on price to quality ratios.
As ever, all eyes will be on release prices and critics scores when it comes to collectable wines, such as the first growths, and super seconds. However, a few Chateau to look out for, that we think outperformed the vintage, and in some cases their more modest release prices we would like to recommend you strongly consider:
- Pessac-Leognan : Domaine de Chevalier, Smith Haut Lafitte, Pape Clement
- Saint Julien : Beychevelle, Leoville Barton, Langoa Barton, Branaire Ducru
- Pauillac : Clerc Milon, Batailley , Pichon Lalande
- Margaux : Cantenac Brown, Malescot St Exupery
- Saint Emilion : La Dominique, Pavie Macquin, Valandraud, Trottevielle.
- Pomerol : Bon Pasteur, Gazin, Rouget , Fayat