The Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perroti-Brown rates Bordeaux 2020 an outstanding enigma!

Lisa Perroti-Brown MW is the third of the key critics to publish her scores on the Bordeaux 2020 en primeurs. The Wine Advocate’s editor-in-chief and Bordeaux specialist observes in her report on the vintage en primeur tastings that 2020 is “an enigma” and a more challenging year to comprehend than 2018 or 2019 but with “far more potential”.

Lisa Perroti-Brown – Top scoring Bordeaux 2020 En Primeurs

Bordeaux 2020 Wine Appellation Score
Angelus St Emilion 98-100
Canon St Emilion 98-100
Haut Brion Pessac-Leognan 98-100
Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Leognan 98-100
Trotanoy Pomerol 98-100
Vieux Chateau Certan Pomerol 98-100
Margaux Margaux 97-99
Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 97-99
Pavie St Emilion 97-99
Mission Haut Brion Pessac-Leognan 97-99
Eglise Clinet Pomerol 97-99

Source: e-RobertParker.com

The pandemic meant that the tasting conditions were uniform for all of the wines tasted so far as they were shipped to Perroti-Brown’s home office as opposed to being hosted by the individual chateaux in Bordeaux. She acknowledges missing the face-to-face interviews with the winemakers as these were facilitated by video conference this April. However, some key estates have not shipped samples and include Ausone, Cheval Blanc, Montrose, Palmer, Petrus and Le Pin, and she plans to visit Bordeaux in September to assess these.

Comparisons have been made to the 2018 vintage by growers, in part because it was also a very hot year troubled by challenges with mildew in the spring. Perroti-Brown comments that “calling this a Merlot vintage over-simplifies the situation. Great Cabernets were also produced, but with less consistency. Success this year was largely down to location, luck of the rains and terroir.”

In terms of quality, she states that “2020 is an irregular vintage … and that the peaks of quality far exceed 2017 and are right up there with 2018 and 2019. Therefore, for some areas and terroirs, this is absolutely the third outstanding vintage in this trio.”

Lisa Perrotti-Brown – key observations on Bordeaux 2020:

  • Pomerol’s moisture holding ‘crasse de fer’ (blue clay) vineyards fared better than the sandy, well-drained estates.
  • St Emilion’s plateau and vineyards with limestone and clay-based soils had a distinct advantage – i.e. the great Grand Cru Classe A estates. Chateau Angelus’ Stephanie Bouard commented that the clay across their vineyards “worked like a tank of water” and when the ground was checked during drought that “the clay two metres down was still wet and fresh”.
  • Pessac-Leognan showed consistency and, according to Perroti-Brown, “results are potentially through-the-roof good.” First Growth, Chateau Haut Brion and neighbouring La Mission Haut Brion wines are “simply amazing”. This was attributed to terroir, better luck with rainfall and more flexibility for blending for the grand vins.
  • Medoc – Here Perroti-Brown points to some “shockingly great wines in 2020”. Across the appellation the vintage is characterised by lower alcohol levels, some below 13%, and relatively high PHs. Vineyards with terroir enjoying metres of gravel above limestone and clay, such as Mouton Rothschild, fared extremely well. Ultimately, the supremely wealthy Medoc estates have the resources to deal with nature’s challenges and both Margaux and Mouton Rothschild were scored 97-99 points by Perroti-Brown.
  • The best 2020 wines undoubtedly have significant ageing potential… and the quality of the tannins in the best wines is equally high.”

 Neal Martin and Antonio Galloni are still to publish their critical opinions of Bordeaux 2020, but for further detail on the latest releases and allocations, register your details and  contact us now on 0203 384 2262.

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