A new trilogy? A Merlot vintage? The vintage of clay terroirs? The 2020 vintage is a heroic one! People, challenges, results. That's 2020 in a nutshell. It first required being there and adapting to difficult conditions, those imposed by climate and Covid.
« We invested in a new, high-performance internet connection and are now ready for tastings on Zoom » explained Guillaume Pouthier, Director of Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion.
« We have traveled less and spent more time in the vineyard » explained Guillaume Pouthier, Director of Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion.
Two beautiful quotes from some winemakers that witness the incredible resilience of Bordeaux which, in such a difficult 2020 vintage, has produced the best possible version of its wines and has allowed them to parade around the world, having tamed a world logistics still influenced by Covid-19.
The quality of the vintage is heterogeneous. The wines produced from clay terroirs are superb! Second wines and other labels have also benefited from the advantages of this great vintage and the expertise of Bordeaux producers. All of this is a reminder that you no longer need to wait twenty years before you can drink a great Bordeaux. Never as this year have organic certifications, biodynamic cultivations and reconversions been useful...congratulations!
As to 2020, we can talk about an optimal climate where, however, Bordeaux has come close to more than one catastrophe. For example, at the beginning of 2020, temperatures reached a record 12.7 degrees in Pauillac. This abnormal heat favored an early flowering of about three weeks earlier than in a normal season, therefore it was necessary to brace for an early vintage. Frosts were rare and the cold weather and even the snow at the end of March did not interrupt the growth of the vineyard. Even the month of April was very hot, but what scared the most was the excess of precipitations. Some hailstorms touched Bordeaux in a more or less important way. The flowering took place between the middle and the end of May in a homogeneous way: early vintage confirmed. At the beginning of June, rain intensified the action of mold, then the weather remained warm and dry for two months.
In mid-July, the cool nights preserved the vines from water stress, which, however, intensified again with the arrival of the heatwave in mid-August. Once again, storms came to the rescue. The clayey terroirs were able to store a reserve of water sufficient to stem the new water stress. The dry and sunny climate of September allowed an acceleration of the grapes ripening. Not a single drop of water until mid-month, something that had not happened since 1958.
Thanks to all these challenges, the result of the wines is a precise and concentrated style, with a lower yield than the previous vintage. Smith Haut Lafitte considers its 2020 unique, thus confirming the trilogy. Saint Estèphe and Pessac-Leognan offer exceptional wines. Whites are powerful and ask nothing but to be paired with haute cuisine dishes. Other wines, such as Château du Tertre, surprise with a magnificent white made of Chardonnay, Viognier and Manseng. In Saint Julien, Ducru Beaucaillou offers, for its three hundredth anniversary, a wine rich in emotions and character.
We weren't able to travel, but we are happy to discover the winemakers' new jewels! Many of them relied on internationally renowned architects to give shape to their oenological soul. Complete renovation for Troplong Mondot; a "garden that takes flight" for Haut Bailly, just to name a couple.
Why buy En Primeur and why Arvi SA ?
Buying Bordeaux En Primeur wines will allow you to choose your favorite formats, from half-bottle (a small solitary pleasure) to the "commemorative" formats of 12, 15, 18 and 27 liters that your children's children will be able to enjoy. In fact, 2020 has all the makings of a centennial vintage. Buying En Primeur will also allow you to make excellent bargains, as you will buy directly from the producer at the best price. All this thanks to Arvi's experience, financial soundness and excellent relations with Bordeaux. Arvi guarantees the price and a secure delivery of the bottles through direct collaboration with the Châteaux.
The 2020 vintage was a record year, comparable to a marathon. Record high temperatures, record rainfall and record drought. But it was also heroic, because Bordeaux accepted the challenge to produce great wines despite adversity. Flowering was early thanks to the warm weather in February. The temperature dropped in early spring and the soil was waterlogged. Summer temperatures were high, then drought took over. On clay and clayey-calcareous soils it was possible to avoid the growth stop thanks to water reserves. Between the end of August and the beginning of September some rain showers invigorated the vineyards and the sun allowed the grapes to finish ripening before a good harvest. Wines are precise, concentrated and often already accessible. However, let's not forget we are in Bordeaux: wines are made to be kept and have a quality-price ratio among the best in the world.