2020 – the paradox vintage
2020 began with mild temperatures even breaking temperature record highs at the beginning of February. These conditions led to a premature budbreak. Budding developed unevenly, very much depending on the locations although the coo and humid weather in April had not a very significant impact on slowing down the growth of the vines. Finally all the vines came into bloom at the end of May without any significant coulure or millerandage. At the start of June, frequent rain intensified the pressure of mildew. From mid-June, the weather changed. The whole Bordelais saw a period of very dry weather for two months. However, the earlier accumulation of water reserves prevented water stress. Around July 18 a heat wave began to build up but the cool nighty prevented water stress on the wines again. The veraison started at the end of July and went on till the beginning of August. The heatwave in August accentuated water stress, but shorter rainy episodes avoided a complete block. The dry and sunny weather in September encouraged the grapes maturity and harvest started on September 10 with a rather mild weather. Towards the middle of September, rain prevented the fruits from wilting but as its frequency was quite concerning, the haves was pushed forward. "Le diabolique" is the title given to this vintage by Véronique Sanders. It is a very special French word, which is not correctly translated with “diabolic” in English. In France, the expression means to overcome the devil. And the vintners succeeded. 2020 is clearly a vintner’s vintage which asked a permanent reinvention of the wineries, struggling hard with this difficult vintage. However, the vintage surprises with excellent wines, exemplary freshness and elegance and very dense structure. In former times it was said that the vine has to suffer to make exquisite wines, in this vintage the people have suffered to make a great wine. The first part of notes for this tasting with over 800 wines you will find today. More notes will follow over the coming days.”
10h 49min ago
The Conseil des Grands Crus Classés en 1855 represents all the Châteaux of the worldwide renowned classification which has been established for the world exhibition in Paris in 1855. It is a great chance to taste most of the wines of this illustrious circle. On May 20, 2020 the samples arrived in my office and were stored under pristine conditions to be savoured the following day. As most of the Châteaux have not been able to show their wines yet, it was a unique opportunity to get a broader picture of the vintage 2019. A few Châteaux have already sent wines before the shutdown so that I even had the option to try them a second time. This might explain some slight adjustments in tasting notes and ratings. The Covid-19 crisis is a nightmare -not only for the Primeurs- but in the same time it offered a perfect chance as well. Usually, the Primeurs would have been presented at the end of March. Now, seven to eight weeks later, the wines had more time to mature and to evolve. The samples performed very well and todays tasting confirmed a lot of quotes from producers in Bordeaux. Bruno-Eugène Borie from Château Ducru-Beaucaillou sees 2019 in a line with the excellent vintages of 2016, 2010, 2009 und 2005. Henri Lurton talks about his best vintage, along with 2016, he has ever vinified at Château Brane-Cantenac. Philippe Dhalluin from Château Mouton-Rothschild asses the vintage as rich and abundant in quality and in quantity as well. After some smaller crops they came back to an average production. Emmanuel Cruse from Château d’Issan sees that 2019 has a lot in common with 2016 yet preserving more freshness. It is a very good vintage but appearing at a very difficult time on the market. At Château Coutet in Barsac, Philippe and Aline Baly were harvesting in three passes with a total of 19 harvesting days. They judge the conditions as rather ideal: “These climatic conditions have generated a harvest whose quality is indisputably present.” The result is a vintage with great qualities. In my opinion 2019 is on a comparable quality level with 2018, however showing even more freshness. Terroir might be more important in this vintage than in 2018 but the best ones show truly great wines.”
11m 17d ago
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