Return to list

2020 En Primeurs: Our first impressions on this unique vintage!

1%, U'Wine

After tasting over 400 wines during the En Primeur Week, U’Wine gives its analysis on the 2020 vintage. The Selection Committee composed of Aymeric de Clouet, wine expert to the Paris Appeal Court, and Quentin Chaperon, Operations Director, gives its view on this vintage full of surprises along with its favourites. The tastings will continue next week with the 1st Grands Crus Classés.

A unique year

The year 2020 has left its mark in many ways and Bordeaux’s 2020 vintage is a perfect example of that. With a climate that has put the estates to the test (a mild winter, a rainy spring and a scorching summer), 2020 is representative of the extreme. The summer drought yielded small grapes with a high concentration. Clay or limestone soils were able to restore freshness, whereas gravelly soils remained relatively warm. However, despite a very hot summer, alcohol levels remain rather low, the balance is right, and the wines are less exuberant than the 2015, 2018 or 2019 vintages. In general, the power is even better controlled this year.

A unique vintage

In 2020, we find a vintage of pure Bordeaux style, with fine and balanced wines for the most part, with pleasant tannins and fruit at the right maturity. Thus, one cannot really speak of a 2018-2019-2020 trilogy because of how different the styles of these 3 vintages are. The appellations of Pomerol, Saint-Estèphe and Pessac-Léognan are found at the top, which are clearly successful with the highest average level and a very good homogeneity. There are some great successes and some nice surprises as well in the whites as in the reds. At Saint-Emilion, Margaux, Pauillac and Saint-Julien, disparities are greater, and the selection will have to be more refined.

The biggest successes according to U’Wine

Here are our favourites by appellation:

  • Saint-Estèphe:
    • Château Calon-Ségur, a real success!
  • Pauillac:
    • Château Pichon-Baron, 2nd Grand Cru Classé, the best wine of the year without a doubt
    • Château Pédesclaux, which continues to rise
  • Saint-Julien:
    • Château Gruaud Larose, by far the best wine of the appellation!
    • Château Langoa Barton, very successful
  • Margaux:
    • We retain Château Rauzan-Ségla which stands out compared to the rest of the appellation
    • Château Siran, always excellent
  • Graves:
    • Château les Carmes Haut-Brion: the appellation’s gem
    • Château Haut-Bailly, a perfectly mastered and well-made wine
    • Domaine de Chevalier, as good in reds as in whites
  • Saint-Emilion:
    • Château Figeac: a very nice wine, with magnificent Cabernets Francs.
    • Château Bellefont-Belcier, a wonderful wine
  • Pomerol:
    • La Conseillante: once again this year, a solid value for Pomerol
    • Château Petit Village, the perfect definition of Rising Star!

The 2020 vintage gives prominence to certain domains and appellations and will require judicious choices and a careful selection by those who have discovered it during the tasting. More than ever before, the eye and palate of U’Wine’s experts will play a role in the constitution of the cellar and in the appreciation of each wine’s potential. The En Primeur tastings, offering the possibility of identifying success and nuggets, shows their interest and relevance this year. The 2020 vintage is therefore synonymous with quality and selectivity.