Bordeaux En Primeur 2020

Chateau Pontet Canet Cellar

Bordeaux En Primeur is a highly publicised campaign that is regarded as one of the most important annual events in the wine calendar, not only for oenophiles but for fine wine investors too. Each spring, the latest wine vintage from Bordeaux is released ‘En Primeur’. This year, we welcomed the 2020 vintage. 

“After tasting more than 400 samples from the 2020 vintage I can 100% confirm it is another great year for Bordeaux”James Suckling, April 2021

Commentary on the Bordeaux 2020 En Primeur suggests:

  • Indicators show potential for high-quality wines, but a variable vintage
  • 2020 is a smaller than average Bordeaux crop, producing a lower supply of investment-grade fine wines
  • Devastating frosts in 2021 has decimated vineyards across Europe – 2020 supply could be factored into 2021 losses
  • Critics scores have being published 
  • A small, fast-paced campaign 
  • Bordeaux is on the rise; regional demand, market share, and prices increasing.

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    Bordeaux En Primeur 2020: What happened?

    Grapes on Vine

    Historically, during the En Primeur Tasting Week wine critics, merchants, and wine enthusiasts from around the world are hosted by the chateaux and the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB) to taste the produce of the vintage. Following the tastings, the fine wine critics publish their quality scores on each wine, rating them on a 100 point score, or on a 20-point score. These scores provide the market with a qualitative guide to the new Bordeaux vintage and influence the chateaux’ pricing strategy.

    Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the annual Bordeaux Tastings have once again been forced to change from the usual traditions. Some tastings still went ahead in Bordeaux, but samples of the new vintage were also shipped to some of the key critics and merchants around the world. 


    How do the critics rate fine wine? Each of the key fine wine critics will taste the new vintage wines at En Primeur (in-barrel samples), when the wines are bottled and at key points in the wine’s lifecycle. Robert Parker Jnr established the scoring system for The Wine Advocate where he awarded wines a rating out of 100 points. Scoring wines out of 100 is the most commonly used approach by international critics today, however several key critics use a 20-point scale, such as Jancis Robinson. 

    The key critics for investment wines during the Bordeaux En Primeur 2020 Tastings:  Neal Martin (Vinous), Lisa Perotti-Brown MW (The Wine Advocate), Antonio Galloni (Vinous), Jancis Robinson, James Suckling, and Jeb Dunnuck.

    Score Explanation
    96–100 An extraordinary wine of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety. Wines of this caliber are worth a special effort to find, purchase and consume
    90–95 An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines.
    80–89 A barely above average to very good wine displaying various degrees of finesse and flavor as well as character with no noticeable flaws.
    70–79 An average wine with little distinction except that it is a soundly made. In essence, a straightforward, innocuous wine.
    60–69 A below average wine containing noticeable deficiencies, such as excessive acidity and/or tannin, an absence of flavor or possibly dirty aromas or flavors.
    50–59 A wine deemed to be unacceptable.

    Robert Parker’s 100 point rating system

    Score Explanation
    20 Truly exceptional
    19 A humdinger
    18 A cut above superior
    17 Superior
    16 Distinguished
    15 Average
    14 Deadly dull
    13 Borderline faulty or unbalanced
    12 Faulty or unbalanced

    Jancis Robinson’s 20-Point Scale


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