2020 Bordeaux En Primeur

Vintage Summary

  • Yields are down 20% on 2019
  • A warm start to the season caused healthy, even and early flowering – about 15 days ahead of average
  • Fruit set generally followed, with lovely even temperatures pointing toward both quality and yield.
  • Some mildew pressure over May and a wetter June dropped yields somewhat.
  • Warm weather across July and August, along with very little rainfall, caused this mildew pressure to recede and not hit the same levels as 2018.
  • Driest summer since the epic 1959 vintage.
  • Terroir was critical, with this dryness blocking ripening in places – generally limestone and clay performed best, due to their water retention, as well as gravel underpinned by clay.
  • August sunshine was close to normal and harvest was on average only 7 days earlier than usual.

It is impossible to really give general comment about Bordeaux 2020. It is both a vintage of terroir – those with adequate limestone and clay will have either produced better grapes or not had to work as hard to get them and a vintage for the wine makers. Some estates chilled their grapes on entry into the winery, skins were thick so tannin management would have been key – unlike 2018, to which it is being compared, tannins are rarely glossy and rich, instead retaining a dryness and hardness which speaks of a cooler vintage. A definite benefit if controlled correctly, but which could also lead to monolithic, over structured wine. 

The Lea & Sandeman Team

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