This year’s en primeur has kicked off with three of the most anticipated releases from Bordeaux just unveiled – Chateaux Angélus (99pt), Pavie (100pt) and Cheval Blanc (99pt). The prices are again honest, noting all of last year’s investors are ahead thanks to the pandemic pricing opportunity – we expect the same this year, around 10-15% below the lofty 2018s.
While last year’s campaign was thrown into just a few short weeks, we expect the vintage 2020s to push into late June. To get involved this year we are revealing our normally confidential pricing estimates and a Pre-Order Function. That means that we can better secure icon wines and we won’t overload your inbox – after all, we’ve all got wine to drink.
The 2020 Vintage – Completes a Trifecta
For the first time in the Bordeaux’s very long history, 2020 completes a trifecta of outstanding vintages (’18, ’19, ’20). This is nothing short of extraordinary considering the pressures that growers (as well as the rest of us) have been under these past 12 months. It began with a mild winter and an extraordinarily wet May, while remaining warm during flowering. It’s with irony that the French government’s lockdown meant, in the words of Chateau Palmer’s Thomas Duroux, “we had nothing else to do but spend our days in the vineyards!” And then…. a crazy dry summer – 66 days of zero rainfall and warm summer weather. But those sponge-like clay soils were so full of water in spring, they saved the vines from excess stress in summer. Finally, with September continuing to provide 18 days of pure sunshine, harvest was quick, and near perfect… and well before the October rains arrived.
It is a high quality vintage, with statistically higher tannin levels and reassuringly low alcohol levels, particularly for the Cabernet-based wines. Top producers and vineyards will have a harmonious volume of fruit matching velvety tannins. 2020 is a low yielding vintage, with volumes down by 30% in comparison to previous vintages. That’s all fantastic for longevity – these wines may outlive us all.
What are the critics saying?
James Suckling: “I can 100% confirm that it is another great year for Bordeaux. The Medoc reds are closer in character to the 2019 vintage with more linear and finer tannins and precise and pure cabernet fruit character while the Right Bank, particularly Pomerol and St.Emilion, is more like 2018 with reds that have more flamboyant fruit and creamier and more densely ripe tannins.”
Jancis Robinson: It’s clear that, on the basis of these cask samples anyway, some stunning wines have been produced in 2020. On the left bank, they tend to be made by producers who can afford to be extremely selective in their final blends. There is a host of very successful wines on the Merlot-dominated right bank too – not all of them likely to be ridiculously expensive”
Jeff Leve: “So far, I’m really liking what I’ve tasted”
Liv-Ex: “Amid all of this, the market for Bordeaux itself is delicately poised. The welcoming of the Year of the Ox in Asia, the suspension of US tariffs and the release of in-bottle reviews for the 2018 vintage, have all provided succour to Bordeaux’s steady performance of late. The 2019s were able to catch the attention of the market, the Bordelais should ensure that their 2020 wines are able to hold it.”
As always The most exciting chateaux are going to be over-subscribed which leads to disappointment. With our allocations held tightly already, our new Pre-Order will ensure you have the best chance at securing wines on their release. If the release price is within our forecast price bracket below your investment will be invoiced at this point, while if price is not within the range we will contact you to confirm the order.
The easiest way to pre-order is by simply returning this email.
* Please indicate Magnum or Imperials if you are capable
*For winemakers seeking WET exempt, we will price wines at release