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Bordeaux 2020: Côtes de Bordeaux

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

If there is genuine excitement to be had in Bordeaux 2020, that is, excitement above the wines made in 2018 and 2019 here, then it probably lies in the wines of the right bank, and starts with the Côtes de Bordeaux appellations, especially those on limestone and clay limestone soils, such as Francs and Castillon. I was super impressed by the quality of some of the wines from the latter appellation especially [and also in Fronsac too – more on that appellation shortly]. Château Alcée, L’Aurage, Château Le Rey and Clos Puy Arnaud are simply knockout in Castillon in 2020. Château Ampélia and Château La Brande are also very impressive and close behind in quality. Château Puygueraud in Francs is very good and in the Côtes de Bourg, Roc de Cambes is a wonder.

In the Blaye, Château Haut-Bertinerie was fresh and harmonious and Château Reynon, in Cadillac, had ripe fruit, but the oak was a little dominant. Château Réaut, also in Cadillac, felt a little narrow, although to be fair tasting samples that have been flown in can sometimes be a little hit or miss and it would be good to see all these wines again [Réaut especially] once bottled.

The following notes were taken on May from wines sent in late April by the Grand Cercle, Vignobles K, François Mitjavile and Nicolas Thienpont. Hope you find them useful.

Blaye – Côtes de Bordeaux

Château Haut-Bertinerie, Blaye – Côtes de Bordeaux, 2020

Bright and defined in the glass; briary and black cherry; precise aromatics; summer fruit compote notes; fresh entry; nice precision and tannin management; has harmony and elegance. Promising this. Fresh cherry and plum notes; blue fruits; sappy and good balance. Nice stuff. Freshness. Like this. Dark chocolate and black cherry on the finish. Twist of freshness. Tasted May 2021. Drink 2023-2030. 88-90

Côtes de Bourg

Domaine de Cambes, Côtes de Bourg, 2020

Dark and meaty looking; lush; super depth; black fruits; earthier; ripeness; lots going; real mouthful; marzipan; kirsch; black fruits; blueberries along with some rose hip; freshness however; quite a zip of freshness to this. Real life on the palate; alcohol for sure; quite heady style. Tasted April, 2021. 2024-2030. 89-91+

Roc de Cambes, Côtes de Bourg, 2020

Deep earthy purple red; opaque at centre; legs; lovely lush, violet scented fruit; oak quite dominant; vanilla pods; plums; blueberries; layers of fruit; opens up on the nose; lots of black fruits; minerality behind; lovely lush fruit on the entry; soft tannins but plenty of extract; supple; some freshness again; zap and tingle on the palate; lovely wine. Plenty of style. Black cherry and chocolate notes on the finish. Lots going on here. Length on the end. Tasted April, 2021. Drink 2025-2035. 93-94+

Cadillac – Côtes de Bordeaux

Carat de Château Réaut, Cadillac – Côtes de Bordeaux

Earthy red purple; black fruits; gutsy and inky; bags of fruit; little coarse and slightly oxidized sample possibly; inky and concentrated; pretty robust; plenty of extract; black cherry; some bitter chocolate notes; little chewy on the finish. This is the prestige cuvée here – so will re-taste. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2024-2030. 86-88?

Château Réaut, Cadillac – Côtes de Bordeaux

Bright purple at the edge; deep at core; legs; black cherry; ripe; little schist; fresh; sour black cherry; little taut on the palate; not feeling a ripe as others; little sappy and narrow; has freshness but little pinched on the end. Sappy. Has texture though. Tasted May, 2021. 2023-2028. 85-86

Château Reynon, Cadillac – Côtes de Bordeaux

Deep at centre; earthy purple at edge; oaky plum and blackcurrant notes; sweet and unctuous; oak a little in the ascendant; nice entry; oak and fruit; needs to settle; quite gutsy red at the moment; needs to settle but has the elements. Nice sap on the finish. Fresh. Oak needs to settle. Fresh. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2028. 86-87

Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux

Château Alcée, Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux, 2020

Deep and dark; colour tight to rim; dense and saturated looking; lush and ripe; polished; lovely plummy, ripe fruit; like this; layered and attractive; quite lush and almost hedonistic; good entry has lots of style; inky but has a mineral edge; schist; very Castillon; lots of extract but this has texture and a nice twist of freshness on the finish; Nicely punctuated. Very fine Castillon indeed. Up there with the very best. [92% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2024-2035. 91-93

Château Ampélia, Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux

Deep and dark legs; deep at dark at centre; legs; colour right to the rim; lots of fruit; some fig; black fruits; nice fruit; plenty of it; rich; fruit cake spice; some molasses and spices; that schist thing too but more flesh on the bones here than Laussac. Good Castillon – plenty of fruit and spices; comes together nicely on the finish. Good stuff! Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2024-2032.88-90

L’Aurage, Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux, 2020

Dark; red purple at edge; beautiful purity; wonderfully ripe fruit; creamy black plums; deep; layered; violet scented; lovely on the palate; creamy and ripe fruit; this is layered and seductive Castillon – bold too; lots of sweet extract on the finish. This has a lot going on and tremendous potential. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2026-2038. 93-94+

Château La Brande, Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux, 2020

Deep and dark; vibrant purple edge; creamy and briary fruit; summer fruit compote; fresh and attractive; black cherry; chocolate; nice finesse and texture with classic Castillon stamp. Works nicely. Pure and clean with freshness and composure. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2024-2035. 89-91

Clos Puy Arnaud, Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux, 2020

Deep and arterial; vibrant purple, colour tight to the rim; violets; fresh black fruits; black cherry; summer compote tones; very vivid; creamy and lush; also salty tang; full and deep on the palate; plenty of fruit; lush quality but also plenty of extract and tannin; real density; another excellent vintage here at this pioneering biodynamic property. Length on the finish. Inky and very promising! [15 years biodynamic here, 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cab Sauvignon, 14%, pH 3.32 harvest 4-16 September, manual harvest]. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2025-2035. 91-93+

Château Côte Monpezat, Cuvée Compostelle, Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux, 2020

Deepish; mid way between Ampélia and Laussac; dark at centre; fresh; some spices and schist notes; clean and fresh; like the fruit; plums; stone fruits; nice layers and opens up; depth here; good entry; clean and fresh; nice texture to the fruit; good purity here; texture to the tannins; but also freshness too; this works; good finish too; more structured than Ampélia. Sappy and refreshing on the finish. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2024-2034. 89-91+

Château de Laussac, Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux, 2020

Mid depth; not as dark as the others; less colour concentration; sour cherry; some briary notes; little oxidised; more perfume on the palate; schisty; lacks middle but has structure and freshness; will fill out. Nice freshness on the finish. Perfumed. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2024-2030. 85-87?

Château de Laussac, Cuvée Sasha, Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux, 2020

Deep at core; earthy purple at rim; attractive; some schist; ripe Merlot; spice; has the minerality but fuller than the regular bottling; evident depth; attractive; nice entry; spices; schist notes; violet notes and chocolate; structured; has zap too. Like this – works well in a refreshing style. Some wood to resolve but works nicely. Will fill out further. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2025-2034. 88-90

Château Le Rey, Les Argileuses, Parcelles 1&3, Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux, 2020

Very deep; healthy at edge; purple; colour tight to rim; glossy; spices; ripe fruits; salty tang; some fruitcake spice; fine and sophisticated; real finesse here; palate glossy fruit; really nice freshness; spices and minerality; this is excellent; real race and drive; had elegance too. Opened up well and revealed more brambly, briary fruit tones – lush and lovely Castillon this. [12ha, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.6% alc, pH 3.40, yield 35 hl/ha, elévage cuves and amphoras, no oak. Harvest October 3]. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2032. 90-92+

Château Le Rey, Les Rocheuses, Parcelles 5&6, Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux, 2020

Very deep; healthy at edge; purple; colour tight to rim; glossy; richer on the nose; more sweet plums and plum pudding notes; fragrant almost; lush and nicely done; opens up a treat in the glass; lovely fruit here; wonderfully layered; sweet entry; voluptuous wine; has structure beneath; spice and nicely done; beautiful fruit but nicely nimble on the palate. Soft and caressing on the finish. A wonder. Has depth and length and plenty of textured fruit. Brilliant wine. [12ha, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.7% alc, pH 3.5, yield 35 hl/ha, elévage 20% new oak, 40% one year, 40% two year. Harvest date October 9]. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2025-2040. 92-94+

Francs – Côtes de Bordeaux

Château Puygueraud, Francs – Côtes de Bordeaux

Dark at centre; vibrant purple at edge; healthy looking; briary and brambly fruit; black cherry; sweet and ripe; very polished and attractive; nice and positive entry; lovely fruit; plenty of black fruit, some chocolate; very sensuous and nicely handled; like this a lot; balance; textured tannins; positive finish. Has vigour and freshness too. Good stuff. Will offer good value and great intro to the talents of Nicolas and Cyrille Thienpont. [88% Merlot, 12% Cab Franc, 14.5% alc]. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2032 90-91+

Château Charmes Godard, Francs – Côtes de Bordeaux

Washed silver/green; apples; candy; saline note; fresh; appetizing; zesty; apples; fresh acidity; nicely appetizing again; goes through to a tangy, saline finish. Nice white in a tricky vintage for whites, this retains freshness. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2021-2025. 89-91+

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