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Bordeaux 2020

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
 TO 

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
 TO 

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
 TO 

Capsicum/peppery/young blackcurrant fruit with balancing medium-bodied tannins. Classic Bordeaux of charm, freshness, and finesse.

Chateau d’Issan Margaux
 TO 

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
 TO 

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
 TO 

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
 TO 

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
 TO 

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
 TO 

Ripe peppery/capsicum/cassis-ish fruit of energy and balancing tannins. Freshness.

Chateau Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc
 TO 

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
 TO

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.

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