2020 Bordeaux is the grand finale of the never-before-experienced, three consecutive run of great vintages. Yes, there has been a few back-to-back double plays, but this is the first time Bordeaux has ever experienced a full hat trick.
There are differences in the vintages, which will become more apparent as the wines age and evolve. Each vintage is unique. Perhaps 2020 is closest to 2018, for its opulent, velvet drenched, sensuous style. Though, it is important to note that you also find freshness, lift and elegance. Here is something to consider about 2020, alcohol levels are lower for many estates, which is surprising with hot, dry years like 2020.
It was not an easy year for vignerons. In fact, by the middle of the summer, many were becoming concerned by the drought conditions. The hot, very dry summer shaped much of the vintage’s character. Fortunately, the summer rain that fell in August saved the vintage. Without that rain, the vintage could have developed like 2003.
2020 will not only be known for its wines. It will remain famous as the first vintage in over 100 years to be made during a pandemic. All of the barrel samples were sent to my home in Los Angeles. The same decision was made to send 2019, but 2020 was much easier for the chateau and for me as well.
With 2019, sending the samples happened so fast, it was not always well-organized. But with 2020, things went smooth from start to finish. Samples were shipped most of the time by FEDEX or other overnight couriers arriving within 3 days on most occasions. The bottles were usually still at cellar temperature! Some of the wines were tasted over video conferencing, but most were simply tasted in my home office.
As you can see from the selection of tasting notes below, I am a big fan of 2020 Bordeaux! The combination of changing climatic conditions along with choices in the vineyards and cellars have helped this new modern classic style take over Bordeaux. 2020 is the new version of what I like to call classic modern Bordeaux.
This report covers the best wines of the vintage, all of which should reach 97-100 Pts by the time the wines are in bottle. But that does not tell the entire story. For the details and tasting notes of the best 900 wines of the vintage:
2020 Château Angélus St. Émilion Grand Cru Dark in color, the wine explodes with blackberry liqueur, plums, smoke, licorice, Asian spice, cherry blossoms, violets and truffles. The wine is full-bodied, rich, dense and intense, with layers of opulent, cashmere textured fruits. As good as that is, it's the mid-palate and finish, with its non-stop waves of silky, sensuous fruits that build, expands and intensifies, leaving you with a beautiful purity of fruit-infused with spicy chocolate. The endnotes linger for close to 60 seconds. Give this a decade or so of age and it should be a mind-blowing tasting experience. The wine blends 60% Merlot with 40% Cabernet Franc,14.5% ABV, 3.65 pH. The wine is aging in 100% new, French oak, however, 40% of the Cabernet Franc is aged in foudres, allowing the oak to almost finish integrating into the wine on release. Harvesting took place, September 12-September 30. 98-100 Pts
2020 Château Belair-Monange St. Émilion Grand Cru Full-bodied, concentrated, rich and velvety, the wine promptly provides layer after layer of flawlessly ripe, black and dark red pit fruits, crushed rocks, licorice, espresso, smoke and flowers. Long, deep, rich, concentrated and focused, the wine finishes with a majestic combination of minerals, black plums, black cherries, dark cocoa, velvet-laced tannins and spice. The stony finish sticks with you for close to 60 seconds. Give this at least a decade before pulling a cork and enjoy it over the next 3 decades with little effort. 98-100 Pts
2020 Château Canon St. Émilion Grand Cru Aromatically, this is off the hook with flowers, black, red and blue fruits, licorice, black raspberry, forest leaf, wild cherries and crushed rocks. With polished silk and velvet textures, the wine balances weight, depth, energy and concentration. The layers of perfectly ripe, sweet, fresh, red and black fruits keep on coming. On the palate the wine is both concentrated and weightless, making this is far too easy to drink. The seamless finish delivers length and purity that goes on for more than 60 seconds. This is as good as the famous 2015, and by the time it is in bottle, it could be even better. The wine blends 68% Merlot with 32% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% ABV pH 3.53 98-100 Pts
2020 Château La Conseillante Pomerol Dark garnet in hue, the wine explodes from the glass with its showy display of lilacs, violets, spice, chocolate, truffle, espresso and black plum liqueur. On the palate the wine is incredibly sexy with its silk and velvet textured fruits. The wine is showy, ostentatious, opulent and frankly decadent. In other words, this is everything you want in a great Pomerol. Full-bodied, rich and with length, purity and energy, the wine deftly balances density with lift, remaining with you for over 60 seconds in its seamless finish. Different in style, this could be at the same level of quality found in the perfect 2016! The harvest took place September 9-September 30, making this one of the longer harvests in the history of the estate. The wine blends 87% Merlot with 13% Cabernet Franc, 14% ABV, 3.67 pH. 98-100 Pts
2020 Château Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan Dark, ruby, garnet in color, the wine exudes cedar, cigar box, tobacco leaf, smoke, roasted cherries, herbs, spice box and forest floor scents. What is amazing here is the incredible level of density, because it is also light on its feet, perfectly balanced, poised and energetic. Texturally, this is surreal. Picture velvet and polished silk on your palate coating each berry. The fruit offers intensity, purity and length, with a finish that exceeds 60 seconds. The seamless finish could put a smile on the most jaded taster. Do not be concerned with the alcohol levels as there is no heat. All of that is buried in the wealth of fruit. If you have the money, this is one of the great vintages of Haut Brion that promises to evolve for at least 4-5 decades with ease. The wine blends 42.8% Merlot, 39.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17.5% Cabernet Franc, 15% ABV. Harvesting took place September 7-September 29. 98-100 Pts
2020 Château L'Eglise-Clinet Pomerol Everything you would expect from L'Eglise Clinet is here in spades. The nose shoots from the glass with its truffle, spicy plum, wet earth, herb, smoke, tobacco, cocoa and cherry liqueur scents. Full-bodied, concentrated, focused and fresh, the wine perches on the border between opulence and classic. From a blend that mirrors the vineyard at 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, the wine packs layers of dark chocolate covered ripe plums that coat your palate, linger and expand. This will age gracefully for 3 decades easily. It is great to see so much continuity here from the Durantou family. 98-100 Pts
2020 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc Pessac-Léognan Green apples, pears, lemon, grapefruit peel, spice, flowers, crushed rocks and stone create the nose. The palate is full, rich, deep and creamy, with endless layers of fresh, ripe, yellow citrus, honeysuckle and minerality tinted fruits that are made even better by its slap of crisp, biting acidity. Made from a blend of 55% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Semillon, picking took place August 20, August 27. 99 Pts
2020 La Mondotte St. Émilion Grand Cru Intensely colored, the aromatic profile, with its licorice, blackberry, bitter chocolate, plum liqueur. crushed rocks and stones get noticed quickly. On the palate, the wine is concentrated, full-bodied and ntense. Picture a giant gulp of ripe black plums, blue fruits, licorice, cocoa and broken stones with salt coating your palate and expanding for at least 60 seconds. Not much wine is made here. In fact, the production was about 1,200 cases. Still young, give this stunner at least a decade and drink it over the next 3 decades or longer. 98-100 Pts
2020 Château Larcis Ducasse St. Émilion Grand Cru Pungent aromas of flowers, licorice, crushed rocks, oak, dark cocoa, black, red and blue fruits focus your attention. The wine offers a mineral-driven, full-bodied blast of silky, flamboyant, luscious red fruits with salty tannins. The fruit coats your palate, lingers and seamlessly expands, finishing with licorice, sensuously textured red and black fruits, espresso and oyster shell. This is on the way to developing into one of the best vintages ever produced by Larcis Ducasse. 98-100 Pts
2020 Château Margaux Margaux The purity of the fruit in the nose is striking. From there you move to notes of allspice, tobacco, roses, truffle, smoke, roasted plums, cherries and currants. Incredibly sensuous, silky and fresh, the fruit literally coats your palate with layers of velvet and silk textured berries. Intensely concentrated, weightless and effortless to drink, the wine seamlessly glides across your senses and holds with you for at least 60 seconds. This is a prodigious vintage of Chateau Margaux. The product of an early vintage, picking took place September 10 to September, 30. Yields were 36 hectoliters per hectare, with the Grand Vin produced from only 36% of the crop. The wine blends 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, 13.5% ABV, 3.68 Ph. 98-100 Pts
2020 Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac Dark, almost opaque in color, the wine opens with a cornucopia of scents; spice-box, dark Cuban cigar wrapper, flowers, creme de cassis, blackberry espresso, mint and a drop of dark chocolate. Concentrated, full-bodied, deep, long, intense and complex, texturally, the wine is opulent, plush and velvety. But there is also more than ample lift keeping everything upbeat. The seamless finish is perfectly balanced, with all its layers of polished, sensuous, silky fruits in the right place for over 60 seconds! The wine blends 84% Cabernet Sauvignon,13% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, 13.1% ABV, pH 3.8. Yields were low at 32 hectoliters per hectare with only 49% of the harvest going into the Grand Vin, so not much wine was made. The harvest took place September 7-September 24. The first vintage with Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy calling the shots is a tremendous success! This is a contender for wine of the vintage. 98-100 Pts
2020 Château Pavie St. Émilion Grand Cru Aphotic ink with purple accents in color, the intense sensation of crushed rocks and stones, flowers, licorice, truffle, wet forest, smoke, plums, black and blue fruits with oceanic smells captivate your interest. Full-bodied, concentrated, lush and palate-staining, with all its depth of flavor, the wine remains light on its feet. The fruit coats your palate with layers of opulent, sensuous, salty fruits that hold on to you for at least 60 seconds. Leave this in the cellar for 12-15 years and enjoy the thrills for the next 3 decades. The wine blends 50% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Franc and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.82% ABV pH 3.61. Harvesting took place September 21 - September 30. Yields were low at 31 hectoliters per hectare. The wine is aging in 75% new, French oak. 98-100 Pts
2020 Château Péby Faugères St. Émilion Grand Cru Opaquely colored, the fruit here matches the color. Dark, dense and intense, the wine is packed with licorice, black and blue fruit, chocolate, smoke and espresso. Powerful, sensual, rich and frankly decadent, with a 60 second finish, this is the type of wine Caligula would serve at dinner. 98-100 Pts
2020 Château Trotanoy Pomerol Inky garnet in color, the wine is pure hedonism at its best. The attention seeking nose, with its violets, spice, truffle, black and blue fruit, licorice and cocoa is off the hook. And it only gets better from there. Incredibly sensuous and silky, the fruit is drenched in velvet, infused with dark chocolate and is effortless to drink. With a seamless finish that exceeds 60 seconds, this is what great wine is all about. A serious contender for wine of the vintage, fans of Pomerol and Trotanoy should buy this as soon as its offered. It is that good. 98-100 Pts
2020 Vieux Château Certan Pomerol Inky dark in color, it takes no time to discover the truffle, violets, black plum liqueur, Valrhona chocolate, spice, espresso bean, black raspberry and hints of blue fruit on the nose. Full-bodied, and incredibly concentrated, the wine feels like polished velvet as it caresses your palate. Dense, rich and powerful, yet weightless, balanced and fresh, the finish crosses the 60 second mark and keeps on going! The level of purity, concentration and depth of flavor here is matched by its sensuality. If Caligula were serving wine, this would be his choice. This is better than the 2009, 2016 and probably 2018. This will be one of the legendary vintages for Vieux Chateau Certan. It is a serious contender for wine of the vintage! The wine blends 85% Merlot with 15% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% ABV. The harvest took place September 14-September 24 for the Merlot. Cabernet Franc was picked September 28-September 30. Yields were low at only 30 hectoliters per hectare. 98-100 Pts
2020 Château Beausejour (Duffau Lagarrosse) St. Émilion Grand Cru Inky in color with purple accents, the wine pops from the glass with notes of crushed rocks, flowers, licorice, espresso, plums, cherries, black raspberries and oceanic nuances. Fresh, full-bodied, concentrated and intense, the layers of plush, pure fruits are made even better by its salty tannins and seamless finish that doesn't know when to quit. There is an incredible sense of purity in the fruits that comes through loud and clear in the more than 50 second finish. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château Bellevue Mondotte St. Émilion Grand Cru Almost opaque in color, the wine is equally dark on the palate with its blackberry, black plum and chocolate profile. Full-bodied, rich, opulent and dense, the wine coats your palate, stains your teeth and doesn't relinquish its hold on you for at least 60 seconds, leaving you with waves of opulent, velvet-drenched plums and black cherries. Hedonistic and intense, with a salty, mineralistic, chocolate-tinged, plummy finish, this is a unique style of wine that needs to be tasted. And it needs to be aged for at least 12-15 years due to its intensity. However, it is not easy to find as only 350 cases, give or take were produced. This is the first vintage made from 100% old vine Merlot. 14.81% ABV. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château Clinet Pomerol Deep and dark in color, the perfume instantly shoots out its notes of flowers, spearmint, licorice, plums, black cherry, smoke and espresso. Full-bodied, velvety, opulent, sensuous and sexy, the wine is dense, long and silky on your palate. The finish really sticks with you, which is a good thing because you never want this voluptuous stunner to end. The fruits show a remarkable sense of purity, leaving you with over 50 seconds of hedonistic pleasure. This is the best Clinet since 2010. The wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% AVB, 3.7 pH, with no touch of heat. The harvest took place September 14, finishing September 23. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château Cos d'Estournel St. Estèphe Deep garnet in hue, the wine shoots from glass with tobacco leaf, currants, spice box, cigar wrapper, blackberry and cassis. Elegant, fresh and vibrant, the wine is silky, long and precise. There is a cool spicy note that rides along with all the layers of soft, polished fruits on the mid-palate and in the finish. This is a refined vintage for COS. You find lower alcohol and the wine feels more energetic on the palate and in the finish, even though the pH is high at 3.9. Let it sleep for at least a decade before popping a cork. Produced from a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon and 38% Merlot, 13.46 % ABV, the harvest took place September 10 to September 24. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou St. Julien Richly colored, the wine delivers a complex nose of cigar box, tobacco leaf, wet forest floor, camphor, red and black currants, blackberry and creme de cassis. Supple, sensuous, elegant and concentrated, the wine focuses on its refined character, purity of fruit and silky textures. Long, vibrant and incredibly refined, the finish builds as it lingers. This gem should start to really unfurl after its 10th birthday and provide fabulous drinking for 25-35 years after that. Not as powerful as some recent vintages, instead this is a stunningly graceful Ducru Beaucaillou. Produced from blending 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Merlot, 13.5% ABV. Picking took place September 11 - September 30. Yields were low at close to 30 hectoliters per hectare. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château Figeac St. Émilion Grand Cru Roses, tobacco leaf, oak, black raspberries, spice, black currants and plum aromas are all over the place. Incredibly silky on the palate, the wine is fresh and focused on its purity and precision. Elegant, gentle and refined, the sweet, ripe cherries come in waves, building in length and intensity from the mid-palate through the finish, which lasts almost 50 seconds. The wine is effortless to drink. This should age and evolve for decades. The wine blends 37% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc and 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.9% ABV, 3.7 pH. Picking took place September 4, October1, making it one of the longest harvests in the history of the estate. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château Haut-Bailly Pessac-Léognan Deeply colored, the wine explodes with fresh flowers, tobacco leaf, cigar box, currants, blackberry, Allspice, licorice, savory herbs and smoke aromas. On the palate, the wine is intense, balanced, silky and refined. The fruits express purity, harmony, length and complexity, finishing with layers of currants, blackberry, herbs, pepper and plums that hold your focus for at least 50 seconds. Give this at least 10-12 years of age. It will evolve and provide sensuous tasting for at least 25 or more years after that. The wine blends 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc., 14.3% ABV, pH 3.9. The harvest took place September 9 to September 25. The Grand Vin was produced from 60% of the harvest. 2020 was the first vintage produced in their new cellars. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château Haut-Brion Blanc Pessac-Léognan Lush, creamy, floral, fresh and packed with flowers, spice, mango, rocks, stone, green apple, lemon peel and waxy aromas. On the palate the wine is bright, crisp, creamy, concentrated, long and intense. The sweet, ripe, fruity, oily, fresh, finish with its spiced yellow citrus, touches of mango and mineral essences carries through to the endnote. The wine blends 71% Sauvignon Blanc with 29% Semillon. Picking took place August 20, August 27. 98 Pts
2020 Château Hosanna Pomerol Dark in color, the wine is loaded with truffle, flowers, black and blue fruits and spice. Full-bodied with a serious depth of flavor, the wine is rich, supple, silky, long and intense. With the texture of velvet, the perfectly ripe, sweet, plums, cherries, blackberries, blueberries and dark cocoa holds on to your palate for at least 50 seconds. The purity here is just great. Give it a decade in the cellar and this will be a beauty. Clearly, this is the finest vintage of Hosanna ever produced. 97-99 Pts
2020 L'if St. Émilion Grand Cru Richly-textured, sensuous and silky, the wine opens with flowers, licorice, plums, spice box, roasted nuts and black, red and blue fruits. Opulent, fresh, long and velvety, the wine is refined, complex and concentrated. The fruit coats your palate, yet retains its freshness, lift, elegance and purity. The over 50 second finish leaves you with layers of vibrant, black and red fruits, savory herbs, minerality and spicy cocoa. This remains one of the new stars of St. Emilion and is a wine to follow before prices jump. The wine blends 84% Merlot with 16% Cabernet Franc, 14.8% ABV, pH 3.52. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château La Fleur Petrus Pomerol Dark in color, the nose, with its bouquet of flowers, truffle, wet earth, licorice, Asian spice and red with black fruits let you know this is special. However, if you were not convinced yet, once the wine hits your palate with its silk and velvet textures, you'll be hooked. Rich, full-bodied, sensuous and sexy, the array of fruits and their purity is spell-binding. The finish lingers, expands and inspires you to take another sip to experience it all over again. One of the wines of the vintage, this stunning Pomerol will age and develop for at least 3 decades. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan Dark in color, the wine pops with its profile of Cuban cigars, black currants, camphor, spice, tar and smoke. Full-bodied, powerful, long and rich, the wine builds as it intensifies on your palate. There is length, intensity and layers of mineral-driven, dark red pit fruits with lift and persistency in the extended finish. The wine demands 12-15 years of aging and will evolve for at least 3-4 decades after that. The wine blends 48.6% Merlot, 43.2% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8.2% Cabernet Franc, 14.7% ABV. Harvesting took place, September 7, September 29. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château Lafite Rothschild Pauillac The compelling nose, with its showy notes of lead pencil, tobacco leaf, cedar, cigar box, currants, spice and wet forest leaf comes through easily. The palate is pure silk in texture. Seamlessly moving from the beginning, middle and end, the wine is fresh, bright, long and intense. The purity in the fruit, paired with its energy and lift linger for more than 50 seconds. Refined, elegant, complex and compelling, if you have the patience to wait for 15-20 years before opining a bottle, this is going to be one of the great vintages for Lafite Rothschild. The wine is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot 12.8% ABV. The harvest took place September 14 - October 4. With yields of 37 hectoliters per hectare, the Grand Vin represents 45% of the harvest. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Pauillac Deep, dark and almost opaque in hue, the perfume is intoxicating with its spice box, dark Cuban cigars, violets, lilacs, oak, savory herbs, roasted plums, currants and cigar box aromas. On the palate the wine is pure silk and velvet with layer after layer of supple textured fruits. Silky, sexy and sensuous, there is richness, depth of flavor, length and purity here that is a treat to feel and taste. The wine blends 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc, 13.6% ABV 3.82 pH. Picking took place September 9 - September 30. Yields were low, 30 hectoliters per hectare, 60% of the harvest was placed into the Grand Vin. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron Pauillac Richly colored with purple around the edges the wine struts its creme de cassis, tobacco, cigar box, earthy, forest floor and peppery spice nose with ease. On the palate the wine is round, polished, sweet, fresh, ripe, long and elegant. This is a refined, classic, potentially forward vintage of Pichon Baron that should start showing quite well with just a decade of aging. The wine was made from blending 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Merlot, 13.6% ABV. Yields were only 33 hectoliters per hectare. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château Rauzan-Ségla Margaux Incredibly dark in color, the wine explodes with violets, boysenberry, cigar box, graphite, blackberry, plum, black cherry, toasty oak and spice. Full-bodied, with a fabulous depth of flavor, energy, purity and refinement, the wine is long, intense and silky. The finish, with its velvet-drenched layers of fruits entices you to take another sip, simply because it is that good. The finish holds on to for close to 50 seconds, leaving you with a wealth of expansive fruit, espresso and dark cocoa. The wine blends 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, 13.5% ABV, pH 3.74. The harvest took place September 8 - September 29. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Léognan Incredibly dark in color, the aromatics spring from the glass with smoke, tobacco leaf, blackberry, cassis, licorice, flowers, cocoa and cigar box notes. The wine is full-bodied, rich, lush, opulent and intense. All that power is harnessed by freshness, intensity and lift. There is a beautiful sense of purity and vibrancy not found in previous vintages. With textures of silk and cashmere, with layers of perfectly ripe, seductive, black and dark red fruits accompanied by Valrhona chocolate, the seamless finish stays with you, expanding for close to 60 seconds! This is clearly the best wine Smith Haut Lafitte ever produced! The reason is simple. Previous vintages at times felt like they were made in the cellar. Here you taste a wine that was produced in the vineyard. Blending 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, 14.5% ABV pH of 3.65. The harvest took place September 12 through September 30, yields were only 32 hectoliters per hectare. 97-99 Pts
2020 Tertre Rôteboeuf St. Émilion Grand Cru The striking nose with its exotic perfume is just the start here. Full-bodied, opulent, sensuously textured, the fruits are perfectly ripe, fresh, sweet and addictive. With a fabulous blend of ripe and almost overripe crushed black raspberries, kirsch, flowers, crushed rocks and forest notes, the wine seeks your attention. Rich, silky, concentrated and multi-faceted, the wine is long, intense, pure and energetic. This uniquely styled wine stands out in a crowd and should age and evolve for at least 2-3 decades with little effort. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château Valandraud St. Émilion Grand Cru Completely opaque in color, the wine grabs you with camphor, flowers, plum liqueur, licorice, blueberry, cherry pie and Asian spice aromas. THedonism at its best, this a bringing sexy back to wine with all its layers of voluptuous, opulent, palate staining fruits. Yet, even with all of that going on, the wine remains fresh, focused and complex. The array of sensations here is exactly what the doctor ordered. If you can wait a decade before popping a cork, this is going to be a true cellar treasure. No guts no glory. But you can quote me. This is the best vintage of Valandraud ever produced. 97-99 Pts
2020 Château Beau-Séjour Bécot St. Émilion Grand Cru With striking floral notes on the nose, you also find licorice, Asian spice, spearmint, cigar wrapper and an array of red and black plums. The wine is lifted, elegant, refined and focused on its purity and silky tannins. The energetic palate leaves you with layers of velvet-textured, sensuous, spicy fruits that lingers and expands for over 50 seconds in the finish. This is a new level of quality at Beau-Sejour Becot and also a change in style with less volume, but more intensity, purity and precision. The wine blends 85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.3% ABV. 96-98 Pts
2020 Château Brane-Cantenac Margaux Blackberry liqueur, creme de cassis, violets, tobacco leaf and earthy nuances create the attention seeking nose. Dark in color, with equally dark, palate-coating fruits with layers of velvet-textured, sensuous, sexy, deep red berries. The fruits display a majestic sense of purity. The elegant, silky finish remains with you for close to 60 seconds, expanding and building in intensity. This is a wow wine that fans of the estate should run, not walk and buy as soon as its offered. The wine blends 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere 13.7% ABV pH 3.71. The harvest took place September 14-September 28. 96-98 Pts
2020 Château Calon-Ségur St. Estèphe If you are not familiar with everything going on with Calon Segur these days, you need to taste this wine. Deeply colored, without hesitation the wine shoots from the glass with Asian spice, boysenberry, black currants, cedar, cigar box, tobacco leaf, lead pencil and forest leaf. Full-bodied, concentrated, powerful and rich, yet it is also balanced, refined, and intense. There is purity in the fruits, freshness and symmetry, ending with seamless waves of perfectly ripe, creme de cassis. Let this rest for at least a decade and enjoy for 3 or more decades after that. The wine blends 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. 13.8% ABV. 96-98 Pts
2020 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Léognan Dark in color, the wine pops with notes of Cuban cigars, smoke, black currants, flowers, blackberries, forest leaf and an intriguing hint of orange rind at the end of the nose. Full-bodied, plush, polished and well-defined, every layer offers nuance with silk and velvet textures. There is lift, energy, volume and depth on the palate, finishing with waves of dark red currants, creme de cassis, tobacco leaf, blackberry, savory herbs and a gentle wisp of spearmint on the backend. It is going to be quite a treat comparing 2018, 2019 and 2020 over the years. I am certain this will age and evolve for at least 3 decades or more from here. The wine blends 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 3 % Cabernet Franc 13.7% ABV. 96-98 Pts
2020 Clos Fourtet St. Émilion Grand Cru Dark garnet in color, the wine gets your attention quickly with its licorice, smoke, dark cocoa, chalk and plummy aromas. Pure silk and velvet on the palate, with a fabulous sense of purity in the fruits, lift, length, richness, concentration and minerality. This is clearly a top vintage for Clos Fourtet that will age for decades. The wine was made from blending 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% ABV. 96-98 Pts
2020 Château Clos St. Martin St. Émilion Grand Cru Opulent, silky and rich, this is pure bottled hedonism. Flamboyant, showy plums, cherries, smoke, licorice, spice, oak and earthy nuances seek your attention. Rich, lush and opulent on the palate, the wine finishes with layers of perfectly ripe, sensuous fruits. Give it 7 years or so for the oak to fully integrate and enjoy over it the following 2 decades. 96-98 Pts
2020 Château L'Evangile Pomerol Dark garnet in color, initially you notice all the truffle, flowers, dark cocoa and plums with a touch of licorice in the aromatics. On the palate the wine is rich, lush, velvety and full-bodied. There is a beautiful richness to the texture on the mid-palate and in the opulen finish with its wealth of chocolate, espresso, black plum and sweet Morello cherries. The endnote lingers, which is what you need, as this tastes and feels so good, you want more of it. If you can, give this a decade of age this will really be singing. The wine blends 88% Merlot with 12% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% ABV. Yields were low at 32 hectoliters per hectare. The Grand Vin was made from 50% of the harvest. 96-98 Pts
2020 Château Le Dôme St. Émilion Grand Cru Flowers, incense, crushed stone, smoke, thyme and red pit fruit aromas get the wine started in the right direction. Full-bodied, fresh, lively, rich, silky and mineral driven, there is purity, lift and richness, leaving you with a gorgeous, elegant, seductive wave of cherries in the end note that lingers long after the wine has left the glass. 96-98 Pts
2020 Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan Garnet in color, the wine opens with tobacco leaf, cigar box, thyme, herbs, flowers and red berries. Medium/full-bodied, vibrant, fresh and focused on its purity of fruit and elegance, this sublime wine is silky, sweet and sensuous. This finish is long and refined, with sweet, ripe cherries, dark cocoa, spice, herbs and cigar wrapper with a cool touch of salt and crushed rock in the endnotes. The wine was made using 55% whole bunch clusters during fermentation. From a blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 26% Merlot, 13.7% ABV. The wine is aging in 80% new, French oak which is already close to fully integrated. 96-98 Pts
2020 Château Léoville Las Cases St. Julien Dark garnet in color, the wine pops with aromas of tobacco leaf, cigar box, cedar, herbs, black currants, coffee and spice. Refined, fresh, polished and firm, the fruit is vibrant, long and intense. The tannins are ripe almost creamy in texture. The finish is long, regal and compelling, leaving you with layer, of black currants and cassis. Give this at least 12-15 years before popping a cork and enjoy it for the next 3 decades after that. The wine is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc, 13.68% ABV, 3.80 pH. The harvest took place from September 12 - September 27, making this the earliest vintage since 1989. 96-98 Pts
2020 Château Léoville Poyferré St. Julien Silky, polished, lusciously textured and rich, the wine pops from the glass with incense, smoked berries, cherry blossoms, creme de cassis, tobacco leaf and blue fruit. Full-bodied, silky and opulently textured, this concentrated wine offers layers of deep, ripe fruits that simultaneously coat your palate, yet feel fresh and vibrant. The flamboyant, seamless finish builds in intensity as it expands on your palate. 96-98 Pts
2020 Château Pavie Macquin St. Émilion Grand Cru Inky in color, with dark purple accents, the wine explodes with flowers, incense, licorice, black fruit and touches of blueberries. Rich, intense, flamboyant, sensuous and silky, this hits all your pleasure buttons simultaneously. The wine paints your palate with layers of decadently ripe fruit that is simultaneously sweet, fresh and dense. The seamless finish does not quit. Instead it builds and expands, growing in intensity and complexity. This is going to be stunning with a decade or so of aging. 96-98 Pts
2020 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc Pessac-Léognan With the pop of grapefruit, white peach, lemon peel, flowers, orange rind and honeysuckle in the nose, and a creamy, sweet, fresh, juicy, slightly honeyed, lush, white peach and citrus finish, you have all the ingredients needed for a luscious, white Bordeaux wine. The wine was produced from a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Semillon. 97 Pts
2020 Château Troplong Mondot St. Émilion Grand Cru Inky dark in color with purple around the edges, the wine jumps out of the glass with its complex nose of plum liqueur, flowers, licorice, caramel, cappuccino, herbs and earth. Full-bodied, seductive, concentrated and powerful, yet even with all its richness, the wine remains light on its feet. The strong sense of minerality accompanying the fruit in the end note adds complexity. There is lift, length and purity from start to finish making you want to go back for sip and sip. 96-98 Pts
Read a complete report from here
The Top 25 Wines from the Bordeaux 2009 vintage.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. In many ways that old chestnut remains truer than ever when it comes to Bordeaux. I am sure you are wondering what I am talking about. Afterall, the style of Bordeaux wine continues evolving.
We are on the same page, so not too worry. In fact, those continuing changes are the point I’m making. Give or take, every 10 years or so, Bordeaux takes a leap forward in quality and in style. This is especially true in relatively modern times following World War. Think about it. The 50’s from the 40’s, the 70’s from the 60’s etc., through to today.
2009 is a big leap forward in quality from 2000. The tannins are riper, more opulent and polished. The wines are richer, deeper, more complex. They are accessible earlier. There is more purity in the fruit and the wines texturally feel more sensuous.
10 years after the vintage is a good time to see where Bordeaux wines are heading. While the top wines are not mature at that point, they clearly offer a view as to where they are going to be, once they are more evolved.
2009 is clearly one of the great vintages of Bordeaux. There is a beauty, purity and intensity to the fruit. On the palate, the wines are plush, sensuous and long. While high in alcohol for the time, the wines retain freshness and vivacity.
2009 produced great wines at all price levels in every appellation from the Left Bank and Right Bank. The remarkable level of consistency found in 2009 Bordeaux, along with its unique character is another reason this is seen as one of the future legendary years from Bordeaux.
To find the best wines of the vintage, I tasted over 100 of the top examples during both tasting trips to Bordeaux this year, as well as in subsequent tastings from wines purchased on release in my office and home. Every one of the wines in this article represents a singular tasting experience that is unequaled in the world of wine. They are also investment quality wines that as they reach maturity, can only move much higher in price.
The Top 25 Wines from the 2020 vintage.
2009 Beausejour Duffau - The intensity on the nose is instantly noticeable. The strong aromas of juicy plums, crushed stone, flowers, oceanic nuances and herbs pop right in front of you. The fireworks however is on the palate. The wine is incredibly concentrated, full-bodied, rich, flamboyant and sexy. The fruit is energetic, pure, velvety, long and intense. The wine fills your palate with sweet fruits and doesn't want to leave, which is a good thing as you don't want it to stop! 2009 marks the initial vintage for the team of Nicolas Thienpont, where they were in charge of everything from start to finish.
2009 Cheval Blanc - This is pure, unadulterated, sex in the bottle wine. The textural experience is polished velvet, silk and it really lingers. The nose, with its blend of lowers, wet earth, ripe, very ripe, under-ripe and overripe berries is off the hook. The opulent finish hangs with you for at least 60 seconds. It is scary to consider how good this wine is going to be with an additional decade or 2 of aging. If you have the money, this is a good place to spend it. 100 Pts
2009 Clinet Speciosa Seposito - If scores for special wines could hit 101 Pts, this might hit 102! Mind-blowing in every sense of the wine, it is easy to note this as soon as the wine hits your glass. At 10 years of age, the wine is still the color of glossy, dark ink. On the palate, the texture is akin to motor oil. But even with all its richness and power, the wine is elegant, refined, fresh, incredibly long and exotic. Layer after layer of dark red and black, juicy, sweet, ripe, delicious plums coat every nook and cranny of your palate. This is bottled decadence. The finish passes by the 60-second mark and keeps on going! Good luck finding a bottle, as only 300 bottles of this majestic elixir were produced. 100 Pts
2009 Cos d’Estournel - The wine is just starting to establish itself. The baby fat has melted away. Now you find a wine of intensity. Intense concentration, intense aromatics, intense palate presence and an intense finish. But everything is in balance and harmony here. The fruit is lushly textured with a velvet drenched touch. While your palate is coated with layers of fruit, nothing is overwhelming. This is power and refinement, the true velvet fist in an iron glove. Still primary, give this another 7-8 years and you should have a legendary Bordeaux in your glass by that time. 100 Pts
2009 L’Evangile - Picture smelling roses, smoked truffle with plums and mocha to get the idea of the initial aromatics. Bottled decadence is the perfect descriptor. Opulent layers of velvet drenched fruit are all over the place. The wine has concentration, purity, length, complexity and exudes sensuality. This is a deal closer that is only just now starting to show its stuff. In 5-10 years this is going to be in contention as one of the best wines ever produced at this storied estate. 100 Pts
2009 Haut Brion - Not a lot of wines leave me speechless from start to finish. But this wine did! Still deep, dark, almost inky in color, the wine offers off the hook aromas of smoked truffle, cigar box, tobacco, black and dark red fruit with spice box, tobacco leaf and smoke filled nuances. Deep, rich, full-bodied and with this incredible blend of elegance, power and sensuality, this wine is going to age for decades. The wine was made from blending This 46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 14% Cabernet Franc. 100 Pts
2009 Latour - You can sense the ripeness of the sunny vintage in the nose, with its joyous red berries, tobacco leaf, oyster shell, vanilla smoke, mint, cigar box and dark chocolate. Sensuous on the palate, with silky tannins and sweet, ripe, pure fruits, the wine is all power, grace, symmetry and elegance. This is a sexy vintage of Latour that you can really feel, as the wine rests and expands on your palate. Yes this is young. So if you are going to open a bottle, give it 2-3 hours of air, or wait another decade. This is one of the memorable tasting experiences that was impossible to spit. 100 Pts
2009 – Margaux - If you are wondering what heaven in a glass feel, smells and tastes like, look no further. This is everything a great wine needs. The texture is pure silk and velvet. And speaking of purity, the fruit delivers that in spades. The sensual texture really brings everything together. If you have a bottle and can wait another decade, as good as this is today, it will be even better! 100 Pts
2009 Montrose - Full-bodied, powerful and concentrated, the wine clearly takes up a lot room on your palate. Opulent, as well as refined, now, you find an oceanic influence with its saltiness in the tannins. The wine has depth, freshness and perfectly ripe, soft tannins. If you are lucky enough to have a bottle of this gem in your cellar, try to wait another 10 years for it top really start opening up and displaying all of its incredible charms. 100 Pts
2009 Petrus - 2009 Petrus is deep ruby with purple tints at the rim of the glass. Spice, plums, blackberries, and blueberries, with cinnamon, clay, mint, mocha, and kirsch, make up the complex perfume. From a blend of 98% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, the wine is rich, concentrated and packed with surreal levels of glycerin. This viscous, thrilling treat provides a seamless, intensely pure finish of spice, jammy cherries, and chocolate. 100 Pts
2009 Vieux Chateau Certain - Off the hook! This is so sexy, sensual and hedonistic, it is probably illegal in some countries. The fruit is dripping with velvet, the wine coats your mouth, filling your palate with layer after layer with opulently textured, perfectly ripe fruit. Hints of flowers, truffle and chocolate are all over the place. Even in its youth, it is impossible not to be wowed by this stunning wine. It is going to age for decades. But if you have a case and want to take an early look, pop a cork and enjoy the ride. 100 Pts
2009 Clinet - With all its sublime layers of concentrated, lusciously textured fruit, there is more than meets the eye here. Voluptuous in nature, the wine is sensual, plummy and packed with all the dark cocoa and truffle you desire. Full-bodied, deep and rich, this opulent wine has a finish that is close to the 60 second mark. Young, yet approachable, the best years are in its future. 99 Pts
2009 Clos Fourtet - With additional years of aging, this has exploded. The wine has dramatically much more weight, density, softness of tannins and length. The wine is opulent, showy, sexy and feels like crushed velvet on your palate. Layers of perfectly ripe, dark red fruits, licorice, smoke, wet earth and black cherry coat your mouth and palate. The finish hangs in there for at least 50 seconds. With another 5-10 more years of bottle age, this will be screaming! 99 Pts
2009 Ducru Beaucaillou - Now the truffle, crushed stone, Cuban cigar, flowers and crème de cassis is starting to bloom. With ample weight, density, length and purity, silky tannins and vibrancy, at just 10 years of age, this is really starting take off. Nothing is out of place, everything is in balance and the finish, with all its layers of fruit, spice and freshness lets you know, this is a wine of unique character Age this for another 5, 10-15 years and its only going to get better. This stunner should age and evolve with little effort for at least 30 more years or longer. 99 Pts
2009 l’Eglise Client - Starting to show its edge, with a lightening in the color the nose is just display its secondary nuances with truffle, smoke, spice box, licorice, incense, flowers and red pit fruits. With the texture of Cashmere, the power of a great vintage and all the sensuality of Pomerol, this is bottled decadence. You can start to drink this now, but if you can wait 5-8 more years, it will be close to off the hook!
2009 Lafleur -Dark garnet in color, to understand the perfume it's easy. Take a shot of chocolate, sprig of mint, handful of truffles with a bushel of plums and cherries blending it all together you get the idea. As good as that is, the fireworks is on the palate where the wall of fruit coats your palate with layer after of ripe, black plums, kirsch, wild cherries and powdered dark chocolate. Intense, but not over the top, the wine is hangs with you, builds and expands for over 60 seconds!99 Pts
2009 Lafite Rothschild - Elegant, fresh, vibrant, lively, focused and refined, there is a beautiful purity to the fruit found here. Classic Pauillac here, but the wine is also lush and almost opulent in nature. Medium/full-bodied, with delicious array of red and black fruits, tobacco leaf, crushed stone, smoke and crisp red fruits in the end note, this beauty demands at least 15 more years to start delivering its true potential. The wine was made from blending 82.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and .5% Cabernet Franc. This is the highest percentage of Merlot in the blend since 1995. The wine reached 13% alcohol. 99 Pts
2009 Leoville Las Cases - If you like great Cuban Cigars, the nose here has your name on it. From there, add forest floor, leaf, red fruits, spice, flowers and a waft of smoke. Full-bodied, powerful, graceful and concentrated, this is a perfect example of classic Bordeaux at its best. The wine is firm, focused, fresh, pure and mouth-filling, Light on its feet, especially when you consider the level of density found here, the fruit is what stands out the most, for its vibrancy, purity and length. If you need to see what this is about now, give it 2-3 hours of air. If you can wait, this will rock your glass in another decade or so! 99 Pts
2009 La Mission Haut Brion - Powerful, full-bodied, youthful, mouth filling and packed to gills with layers of dark, red and black fruits, the wine is big. But it is also balanced, long, deep, regal and complex. Made from blending 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc, the finish does not seem to quit. The texture is equally dense and regal, with layer after layer of smoky, tobacco infused fruit. This is still a baby. Give it 10-15 more years and this will be a truly majestic wine. 99 Pts
2009 La Mondotte - Intensely concentrated, the wine combines all its power with a strong sensation of minerality, layers of ripe, sweet, velvet textured fruits, salty tannins and purity. The wine lingers and expands on the palate for close to 60 seconds. Still young, give this stunner another 7-8 years and it will repay your patience with an incredible tasting experience. 99 Pts
2009 Mouton Rothschild - Even at this early stage, it is impossible not to be awed by what's in your glass! Concentrated, opulent, flamboyant and compelling, the wine explodes from the initial scent. Full-bodied, deep, sensuous and rich, the unique concoction of Asian spices, tobacco leaf, dark red fruits, smoke, wet earth, cedar and crushed rocks grabs you. The intense, long, textural finish builds and lingers. The wine needs another 12-15 more years to really hit its stride. But it is going to be worth the wait! 99 Pts
2009 Palmer - Just starting to knock on the door of secondary aromatics, you can peek into the wine and find truffle, flowers, tobacco leaf, smoked cherries and spice. But that is only the beginning. Once you taste the wine and you feel those sensuous textures as the wine glides across your palate, you know this is special. The wine has more than ample density, but it is not heavy. The lift in the mid-palate keeps all those layers of ripe, dark red, earthy fruits alive. Vibrant, elegant and silky, the end note remains with you for at least 50 seconds or more. If you like more youthful fruit in your wine, you can drink this now. If you want to enjoy the wine as it heads to its peak, give it another decade of rest. This should age effortlessly for decades. 99 Pts
2009 Pontet Canet - What makes this all work, is the perfectly ripe fruit that shows off its purity with ease. Supple textured, multi-layered and with a finish that seems to never leave, the wine is rich, luscious, opulent and mouth-coating. Intense, yet not heavy, everything is in balance. The mouth-coating finish hangs with you for close to 60 seconds. Not quite primary, but still obviously young, if you like wines with sweet, exuberant fruit, why not pop a cork and check it out? Else wait another decade for its real character to kick in. 99 Pts
2009 Trotanoy - Majestic in every sense of the word, this wine rocks! With the texture of polished velvet, the waves of perfectly ripe red and black plum, cherry and boysenberry never quit. Hedonistic and impossible to put down, the finish must be tasted and felt to be believed. This is a wine for the future. Give it 5-8 more years and it could hit triple digits as it clearly has all the right stuff. 99 Pts
2009 d’Yquem - Still just a baby as you would expect, yet it is impossible not to be blown by the juxtaposition between the insanely concentrated levels of ripe and over ripe, honey drenched tropical fruit and the bracing acidity that gives the wine life. Everything here is off the hook. This is so good today, I wish I had a bottle tonight. But if I had the wine in my cellar, as tempting as it might be, I'd wait at least 1 more decade, or better yet, 2 before I started thinking about popping a cork. 99 Pts