I have tasted 33 wines of the Bordeaux 2020 vintage.
Four are whites and, except for five over-extracted, over oaked, over-the-top reds, the rest reminds me of Bordeaux 2001 and 2002.
Both those vintages have great freshness and, particularly in the case of 2001, great vitality and greater intensity.
I daresay 2020 is ahead of 2002, but behind 2001.
The 2020 fruit has a ripe peppery capsicum aspect and also a hint of blackcurrant cassis. This, with time, will come forward more and more. The tannins are ripe-ish to ripe – some are positively silky – and all the wines have delicious freshness.
The rating for 2020 is 3 to 4 ½, out of a maximum 5, Star.
Chateau Beychevelle Saint-Julien
Floral, ripe blue/purple fruit including whiff of figs. Density, intensity and persistence. Rich, silky tannins. I don’t remember Beychevelle being so ripe. And, certainly, would not recognize it as such in a blind tasting. The sweeter fruit is not overdone as there is supporting structure and freshness.
Chateau de Fieuzal Pessac-Leognan
Ripe red cherries. Silky tannins and suave freshness. Seamless. Elegant. De Fieuzal shows a lighter wine can be just as great as a more intense example. Poise, finesse, and polish.
Chateau Leoville Poyferre Saint-Julien
Violets and vanillin. Ripe, rich, deep blue fruit of intensity and persistence. Harmony and great freshness.
Chateau Branaire Ducru Saint-Julien
Ripe capsicum and light blackcurrant fruit that has density and length. The tannins are just as polished. This across-the-road neighbour of Beychevelle continues to impress with every passing vintage.
Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Leognan
If the white is great, the red is not far behind and certainly, incredibly undervalued. Capsicum/peppery/blackcurranty fruit of persistence and vitality. Very fresh and balanced.
Chateau Gloria Saint-Julien
Capsicum/peppery/young blackcurrant fruit with balancing medium-bodied tannins. Classic Bordeaux of charm, freshness, and finesse.
Chateau d’Issan Margaux
Blue fruit of richness surfing on silky tannins. Great balance and elegance. D’Issan – complete with a moat – is one of the most arresting chateaux in Bordeaux.
Chateau Langoa Barton Saint-Julien
Ripe berry/curranty fruit of freshness. The tannins are very nicely integrated and woven into the persistent fruit. Langoa is a solid Saint-Julien that keeps over-delivering.
Chateau Moulin Riche Saint-Julien
Blue/purple fruit of good intensity and persistence wrapped by silk tannins. The hallmark freshness of the 2020 vintage shines through.
Pavillon de Leoville Poyferre
Peppery capsicum/blueberry fruit lifted by elegant, silky tannins. Together with Chateau Le Crock and Moulin Riche, the property of the Cuvelier Family.
Chateau Saint-Pierre Saint-Julien
Capsicum/peppery/light blackcurrant fruit with persistence. Ripe tannins and freshness. Very balanced and elegant. As with Chateau Gloria, owned by daughter and son-in-law of the late Henri Martin, Francoise and Jean-Louis Triaud who is probably even more well-known in football circles as he is President of FC Girodins de Bordeaux.
Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafitte Pessac-Leognan
Ripe peppery/capsicum/cassis-ish fruit of energy and balancing tannins. Freshness.
Chateau Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc
Blue/blackberry fruit of intensity, persistence, and length. This top Cru Bourgeois is balanced, fresh, and produces wine worthy of the quality and consistency of a Classified Growth.
Chateau Le Crock Saint-Estephe
Blueberry fruit with liveliness and backed by crisp tannins. Balance of fruit and structure reinformed by freshness.
Chateau La Gaffeliere Saint-Emilion
Capsicum/peppery fruit with a hint of figs. The fruit is ripe but not over-the-top. Good, supporting freshness.
Chateau Labegorce Margaux
A few years ago, I found the wines to be too extracted and oaky. Not the 2020 which has nice smoky blackcurrant fruit, ripe tannins, and a roundness of freshness.
Chateau Latour-Martillac Pessac-Leognan
Peppery capsicum/blueberry fruit. Rich-ish tannins. And lots of freshness. Extensive renovations – including a very smart visitor’s centre – at Latour-Martillac were completed in the middle of 2020. Situated in Martillac, it is a must for post-Covid revenge travel.
Chateau Beaumont Haut-Médoc
Capsicum/blueberry fruit of persistence. And freshness. Balanced. Classic. Medium-plus-ish. A Cru Bourgeois knocking on the door of a Classified Growth.
Chateau Malescot Saint-Exupery Margaux
Ripe-ish peppery capsicum fruit lifted by balancing crisp, ripe tannins. I have not tasted this Margaux for a few years and used to find them dry and austere. The 2020 is a pleasant surprise as it is an elegant, balanced wine.
Chateau Pedesclaux Pauillac
Capsicum/peppery fruit that is a touch stalky. The tannins do not seem as ripe as in previous recent vintages either. Although balanced, I am surprised Pedesclaux did not greater impressed.
Chateau Talbot Saint-Julien
Toasty/smoky blue/blackberry fruit and rich tannins. A touch dry and austere on the finish. Less oak, and a lower toast, could help bring out the fruit more.
TOO CLOSED TO TASTE
Chateau Poujeaux Moulis
Tried tasting this twice. Still reductive after 45 minutes. Otherwise, everything points to a balanced wine.
Chateau Lafon Rochet Saint-Estephe
Quite reductive. Even on the palate. Otherwise, everything suggests a balanced wine that is fresh.