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Bordeaux – The Social Distance Vintage

While picking required creativity and an ocean of hand sanitizer, leading château owners report promising wines

The profile is less powerful than that of 2019 which showed more ripe notes. Nevertheless, this new vintage reveals a more silky, fine and delicate texture along with exceptional colour. At the same time, these wines are also superbly structured and balanced, the early signs of great ageing potential. In any case, it is a vintage that has all the characteristics necessary to evolve beautifully over time.

On the Left Bank, from Saint-Estephe to Margaux, via Saint-Julien and Pauillac, the 2020 Bordeaux stand out for their colour and structure. These great terroirs did not suffer from water stress, producing fine wines steeped in elegance, made to withstand the passage of time, while also being accessible in their youth.

And when it comes to the 2020 from the Right Bank, particularly those of Pomerol shone through with St. Emilion being a much wider appellation being good when good but patchy elsewhere.

It is impossible not to praise the historic quality of the Merlot grape in this vintage. The colour is simply remarkable, and the juices reveal delicious fruit upon a solid tannic structure.

Keen collectors should be buying Pomerol (at all levels)      St. Emilion from the properties on the plateau and good names across the Medoc (who didn’t pick too early and leave their wines with a hollow mid-palate).

Everyday drinking bargains, once the wines are bottled and released, will cover the spectrum from the Haut Medoc to Pessac and across the Gironde with the plethora of Merlot dominated Petit Chateaux.

As the 2020 campaign comes to a close, many Chateaux have released at prices around 20 to 40% above last year. This has scared a few off. Some highly rated wines from both Left and Right banks sold out in minutes. Should be some fun drinking from 2023 and onwards.

Nick Midwood
June 2021