July 10, 2024In News

Bordeaux 2020: A Classical Vintage

Château Ausone, Bordeaux

Bordeaux has produced a very fine 2020 vintage, the third in a row, despite having endured a difficult year brought on by the challenges of Coronavirus and extreme weather conditions.

Indeed, the best vineyards of Bordeaux are adapting to these extreme weather conditions – from blistering hot and dry days to fierce frosts and mildew. Many continue to produce exceptional grapes in such years, including the four vintages mentioned above. This sets a new benchmark for viticulture and wine quality in Bordeaux today and for the future.

“You had a new challenge every day, and it could be climatic, and it could be sanitary,” Veronique Sanders, who heads Château Haut-Bailly, told James Suckling on May 6, 2021. “We had to keep our team working and that could be a challenge. Imagine what it was like when France was in lockdown in May and April!”

She added that Haut-Bailly had to recruit an additional 50 workers for their vineyards, some of whom were from outside the wine industry. Despite this, the workers found their tasks enjoyable, and they appreciated being in the natural environment of the winery and the vineyard. She said that her workers were proud of their achievements, and the results of their efforts were impressive.

“Nature was our saving grace during that time and helped us push through,” she said. “It was fantastic to have it and the result is fabulous. The people who were there [in their vineyards], we owe them a lot, but they also enjoyed it.”

The 2020s, paradoxically, offer a return to a more classically styled vintage, despite there having been long periods of hot, dry weather during the growing season. The best wines display good fruit density, harmonious balance and, crucially, freshness, with no hint of overripeness. As a general rule, the reds have more structure and tannin,and slightly lower alcohol levels than the last two vintages. The best wines in 2020 really are very good indeed.

Château Smith Haut Lafitte
Château Figeac

Château La Conseillante

Château Smith Haut Lafitte

Château Smith Haut Lafitte