April is here, the sun is shining, the wisteria is flowering and Europe’s vineyards are in the early stages of bloom. What usually typifies Bordeaux En Primeur season -- tasting the latest harvest in the beautiful surrounds of some of France’s finest Chateaux -- is, for the second year in a row, glaringly absent. While we have been deprived of this special pleasure, this week we instead welcomed some 150 fresh barrel samples to our offices to taste in carefully arranged conditions. Regardless, the mood was positive amongst the team, each member focused on the job in hand as they assessed each wine individually. Is this the so called “new norm”? I sincerely hope not. Does it work? Yes, it most definitely does…
A special thanks from all of us at Goedhuis & Co goes to Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux for coordinating this on our behalf. We received the wines in perfect condition, fresh and on the day before our tasting. So, it is with complete confidence that I can write about both quality and style of the 2020 vintage… and I love them!
Our tasting this week was a two-day tour of the great appellations of Bordeaux that has left an overriding impression of a sumptuous, rewarding vintage with deliciously generous fruit; at its apex are some outstanding wines that are fine, controlled, and complex. This is, I must stress, a first impression and we still have a further 60 wines to taste in early May from those Chateaux who have deferred sending their samples until next month.
It is clear though that the 2020s have a deep richness of fruit benefitting from last year’s warm summer. The best have suave, silky tannins and the light touch of acidity is gentle and delicate. Put this all together and 2020 strikes us as the type of vintage we often crave for; not one to wait 30 years for it to hit its pomp, but one which will give youthful pleasure with its deep, dark primary fruits. However as always, when wines are balanced, longevity is a given – and the best of 2020 most certainly have this balance.
It is too early to say if one appellation has excelled over all others. 2020 feels as if it is a year of more uniform quality, however, as ever, within each region some Chateaux have performed better than others. A more complete report will follow our second tasting early next month ahead of the expected releases from the top Chateaux in the second half of May into June. We hope prices will be sensible, volumes released generous, and anticipate an exciting 2020 campaign ahead of us!