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Bordeaux 2020: Graves and Pessac-Léognan

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Attractive, mid-weight wines have been produced in Graves and Pessac-Léognan in 2020. Of the samples tasted, the aromatics were fresh and pretty amongst the reds, and the vintage has produced wines of medium body with ripe tannins. Overall, while there is a little more variation than in 2019, the impression is of good, well-balanced wines that should drink nicely in the near and medium term. The whites were not hugely aromatic for me but nevertheless the best had life, zest and texture and were appetizing. These tastings notes are based on samples sent by the Grand Cercle in the main, with a few additions. I hope to catch up with other properties and members of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux at forthcoming events.

The following wines were tasted in May, 2021.


Château Brondelle, Graves 2020

White: Palest straw; apples; pear drops; lees; notes of Cox apples; nice palate; spicy, apples and pear drops, tangy zesty citrus notes. Good stuff here. Really moreish and nicely done. Excellent. Tasted May, 2021. Drink now-2026. 89-91.

Red: Mid depth; purple at edge; Morello cherries; damsons; blueberry fruit tones; quite light; not super concentrated; sweet entry; ripe cherry and plum tones; fruit quite caressing with a kiss of spice from the oak; this will be a pleasant well balance red; light, appetizing finish. Has freshness and texture; not huge in the middle. Sappy and energising. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2028. 85-87

Château de Cérons, Graves, 2020

White: Pale straw; neutral on the nose; little dumb at first; some spices; palate a bit flat and lacking texture and zip; feels like the heat got to this or it might be the sample; lacks life; rather neutral and insipid and lacks depth and weight and doesn’t make up for this with zap. Might be the sample. Tasted May, 2021. Drink now-2023. 82-84?

Red: Mid depth; earth purple at edge; blackcurrant notes, earthy and plums; some violet lift; nice weight and texture; elegance; not hugely concentrated but well balanced and harmonious; some spices; blackcurrants and earthy notes; little undergrowth; elegant. Early drinking, soft and pleasant. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2028. 86-88

Château Crabitey, Graves, 2020

White: Washed silver; real zap and citrus zest; candy, grapefruit – almost a tangerine note; palate has depth and texture; round and very enjoyable but still with real zap and freshness; this works super well for me again. Excellent Graves. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2021-2024. 88-90+

Red: Bright and vivid; dark at centre; ripe fruit; blackcurrant; earth; attractive; plush texture; plenty of fruit; blackcurrants; has elegance; not as saturated as those on the right bank; but has harmony and freshness on the finish. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2030. 87-89

Château Haura, Graves, 2020

Mid depth; lightish at edge; pretty red fruits and pain grillé tones; fresh and appetizing nose; some briary/blackberry, summer fruit pudding elements; grippy textured blackcurrant and plum fruit tones; has freshness and vigour; this works well in a fresh, appetizing style; texture to the tannins; bit of bite and grip on the end but works. Like the purity and the classic style; this wine has tension and a moreish and appetizing style. Good stuff. Texture and tension on the finish. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2030. 87-89+

Château Lesparre, Grand Vin du Château Lesparre, Graves de Vayres, 2020.

Mid depth; healthy colour; earthy purple at edge; vivid; sweet ripe plummy merlot; very Bordeaux aromatics; freshness too; easy; emphasis on the sweet ripe fresh fruit; fresh fruit; spices; tomato plant and plum notes; relatively simple but fruit driven; soft palate; will be early drinking; tannins soft. Nicely balanced and not pushed. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2028. 86-88+

Château Méjean, Graves 2020

Mid depth; translucent in centre; spices; not hugely aromatic; some light spicy blackcurrant and redcurrant notes; opens up; fresh; zappy palate; nice fresh style with blackcurrant fruit and some earth; not concentrated; light but fresh and appetizing. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2028. 85-87

Château Peyrat, Graves, 2020

White: Straw; bold; some spices; pear drop, candy; some spice and wax; appetizing; nice zip on entry; fresh and waxy; spices; pears; some lees notes; this has freshness and zap but also weight behind. I’d like to see the analysis – but this is very good. Drink 2022-2025. 90-91

Red: Lightish red; translucent core; purple edge; spicy briary fruits; freshly aromatic; light; fresh; soft entry; spices; some undergrowth alongside plum and blackcurrant notes; lacks concentration; round and attractive if not hugely concentrated; soft and easy entry; easy going fruity Graves; round, supple and soft. Drinking early. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2022-2028. 85-87

Château Roquetaillade La Grange, Graves, 2020

Deepish looking; solid at centre; earthy purple at edge; legs; strong and ripe; meaty notes; savoury; some chocolate; sweet entry; lovely sweet ripe fruit and nicely integrated oak; this works well; quite chunky and substantial in the middle; texture to the tannins; inky finish. Lots here. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2022-2030. 88-90

Château Saint-Robert, Graves, 2020

White: Pale straw; hint of green; spices; apples; flinty; some mineral; needs to open up; nice texture; has depth and some weight; apples; spices; works nicely on the palate. Texture and some freshness gives a twist to the finish. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2021-2023 86-88+

Red: Mid red; more concentrated looking than some in Graves this year; spicy fresh blackcurrant and black cherry fruit; positive and fresh; sappy; some spicy oak; nice entry; sweet ripe fruit; more concentration here; some oak; nice texture to the tannins; works; has elegance but also depth. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2028. 86-88+

Clos Floridene, Graves, 2020

White: Palest straw; attractive; pear drop; wax; nicely layered; has depth and lees notes on the palate; attractive, zesty lees driven palate. Lovely freshness and acidity on the finish. Good wine here – as usual. Salty tang on the very end. Real polish and verve. Tasted May, 2021. 90-92+

Red: Bold; inky; vivid purple at edge; some plushness; full; plums; palate has extract and texture; feels a little angular in the tannins; spice and ink notes; earthy finish. Has typicity. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2030. 87-88


Château d’Alix, Pessac Léognan, 2020

White: Pale straw; honey note; wax; pear drops and candy; full on the palate; substantial; barrel ferment notes; candy and pear drops; broadness here and some weight; lacks zip but nicely done and has plenty of length on the end. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2021-2024. 88-90

Red: Mid depth; nice and healthy looking; ripe red fruits; strawberry notes; some jam; attractive earthy undergrowth note too; sweet peppers; quite substantial aromatics; nice entry to the palate; lovely texture and fruit; plenty of extract and structure here but the fruit surrounding the fruit is quite soft and voluptuous; still manages freshness and salinity too; like this; chocolate notes on the finish. Good wine. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2024-2035. 90-92+

Château de Cruzeau, Pessac Léognan, 2020

White: Pale gold; apples; feels warm year; spices; some apple crumble notes; palate solid; some candy and pear drop tones; little citrus note; finishes a little loose. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2021-2023. 86-88

Red: Mid depth; purple at edge; blackcurrant; cherry and plum tones with some spices; nice engaging youthful Bordeaux; nice texture and complexity; like this; blackcurrant; plums and earth; really nicely done; appetizing; has nice freshness on the end and suave tannins. This should be good value. Sappy finish. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2030. 85-87+

Château Haut-Bacalan, Pessac-Léognan, 2020

Mid depth; vivid purple at meniscus; ripe black fruit; plums and prunes; salty tang [as in 2019 – must be the terroir]; sweet entry; violet notes alongside plums; nicely balanced and appetising; quite moreish; nice texture to the tannins. Has ambition and length. Works a treat. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2032. 89-91+

Château de Rochemorin, Pessac-Léognan 2020

White: Pale straw; apple and citrus notes; some candy too; nice zappy fruit; candy and pear drop palate; some grapefruit zest; opens up nicely; lacks bit of depth on the finish but works overall very well. Very dependable white here. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2021-2024. 88-90+

Red: Mid depth; purple at edge; sturdy; blackcurrants; plums; bit reductive to start with; less expressive immediately than de Cruzeau; attractive tension on the palate between the freshness, the fruit and the acidity; this is refreshing and has zap; tad more savoury than de Cruzeau; more chocolate notes on the finish. Opened up later. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2030. 87-88

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