The 2020 vintage from Bordeaux is very successful, brimming with freshness and very accessible in light of its warm characteristics. The other week at Wine Paris, we were able to try some bottles from this magnificent vintage. Read on to hear our thoughts.
Optimal weather conditions:
The early winter months, which were characterised by really mild conditions and a significant lack of rain, were followed by a colder March. Budbreak occurred early, about two to three weeks in advance than normal. The weather was particularly mild throughout April and May, which, alongside fairly regular rain, allowed the vines develop quickly, causing early flowering. Rain in June and a drop in temperatures provided ideal conditions for mildew to develop. Luckily, high temperatures returned as the rain subsided, stopping the fungal diseases in their tracks. Hot daytime temperatures were replaced by cool nights, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly and to develop fine, concentrated aromas. Major storms then broke out, which prevented ripening from stalling. The harvest of white grapes started in late August, followed by the Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes at the beginning of September and concluding with the Cabernet Sauvignon harvest.
The wines appear powerful, yet delicately accessible. The majority of the wines we tried at Wine Paris, both red and white, offer a quaffablity that means they can be enjoyed now. The red wines, although warm, retained their beautiful freshness and relatively high levels of acidity. The Pessac-Léognan whites seduced us with their wonderful freshness. Even if the Sauvignon Blancs are a little less aromatic those from 2019, they are very balanced and taut while the Sémillons added to the blends generally bring a mouth-watering bitterness.
We have to confess to having a soft spot for the wines from Château Pape Clément and Château Smith Haut-Laffite.
The reds are generally very successful with a beautiful depth and silky tannins. They possess the right amount of sweetness and have no room for austerity.
Turn towards Château Haut-Bailly for the most elegant and precise wine from the region and Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion to taste a bottle that’s been awarded 100/100 by wine critic, Antonio Galloni!
See all Pessac-Léognan wines from 2020
In the Médoc, in Margaux more precisely, the vintage appears to be what you’d expect from grapes that had a long ripening during a very hot and dry year where the ripening cycle was not blocked.
Our favourites are:
Saint-Emilion and Pomerol deliver wines that are extremely successful, flavourful and deep with the same freshness as seen on the other side of the river.
Château Canon stands out, bringing suppleness and fluidity. The wine is magnificently balanced, with tannins already where they should be and complex black fruit aromas. An extremely fine wine for the future!
Larcis-Ducasse is another favourite with its complexity, defined red fruit aromas and a fresh, exquisite finish.
From Saint-Julien, Château Branaire-Ducru reveals its delicateness, beautiful cherry aromas that mix with spiced undertones, and perfect level of acidity, all of which creates a wonderfully balanced wine.
Moving on to Saint-Estèphe, Château Phélan-Ségur confirmed its rise in power with a particularly seductive 2020 vintage. The wine’s energetic side and depth give it a certain class and its concentrated aromas and power will take it very far into the future.
Tasting the wines confirmed what we already thought after trying them during the en primeur campaign in 2021. This is one successful vintage that can be enjoyed now or aged for many years to come.