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Bordeaux 2020: Médoc and Haut-Médoc

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Final blog post for the moment on the reds of Bordeaux in 2020. I’ve grouped together notes taken on wines from the Médoc and Haut-Médoc in this post, as well as some specific communes like Margaux, Moulis, Listrac, St Julien, Pauillac and St Estèphe. All of these are based on samples sent by the Grand Cercle. I’ve yet to taste members of the Union des Grand Crus and there are a number of properties that I usually get to taste which I didn’t manage to organise this year. I hope to update these omissions soon. From what I have tasted the reds are fresh in the Médoc in 2020, although there is not the richness of 2019 or 2018 for me. In some there is a certain austerity and angularity. Wines tasted from the Haut-Médoc have good depth and colour, with freshness and zap, but again some can feel a little angular. A handful of wines tasted from St Estèphe look promising, with good colours and nice textures, and there were some nicely perfumed, fresh wines from Margaux. The few bottles I tasted from St Julien and Pauillac showed finesse, but were not quite up with the quality and concentration of the previous two vintages. Overall my tastings in these communes were not as comprehensive as those on the right bank this year. If you want detailed reports on the left bank wines I’d defer to others whose writing on Bordeaux I admire [Jane Anson, James Lawther, Chris Kissack, Neal Martin & Jeb Dunnuck all cover Bordeaux extremely well]. Nevertheless, I hope you find the notes on the following 24 wines useful.

The following samples were sent by the Grand Cercle and tasted in May, 2021.

Château La Cardonne, Médoc, 2020

Mid depth; earthy purple at edge; more intensity than La Grivière and Ramafort and some spice oak alongside the black currant and plum tones; little creamy cassis note here too; more stuffing here; blackcurrants and ink; tannins little dry but there is more to this than the other siblings. Sappy finish. Hopefully will fill out but all of these lack generosity. [Merlot 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 45%, Cabernet Franc 5%]. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2030. 83-85

Château Les Grands Chênes, Médoc, 2020

Deep looking; colour tight to rim; earthy purple; ripe fruit; plummy; sweet entry; ripe and fleshy; lots of extract; plenty of inky fruit; quite tannic but will soften. Little chewy and extracted at present but should settle. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2024-2030. 86-87

Château Grivière, Médoc, 2020

Mid depth; earthy purple at edge; stalky notes; some tomato plant and spices; little herby; quite sappy and angular on the palate; less richness by far than 2019; fresh but lacks mid palate; finishes very sappy and rasping. Might add weight during élevage but austere drink at present. [Merlot 60%, Cabernet Sauvignon 40%]. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-20207. 80-82

Château Loudenne, Médoc, 2020

Mid depth; inky blackcurrant fruit; spices; has texture and fruit; spicy plum notes; soft tannins and some spicy middle; sappy; will fill out with further élevage. Feels a little like ’17 was. Fresh finish, less angular than the first set but still a little boney. 13%. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2024-2032. 86-87

Château Ramafort, Médoc, 2020

Mid depth; earthy purple at edge; stalky blackcurrant and plum tones; black cherry; lightish; little more texture on the palate than Grivière; still fairly angular affair; sappy; lacks middle; structure and sap; lacks generosity. [Merlot 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 50%]. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2027. 82-84


Château du Cartillon, Haut-Médoc, 2020

Mid depth; vibrant purple at edge; healthy looking; creamy blackcurrant and plum aromatics; nice depth to the aromatics; sweet entry; quite plush and nicely handled on the palate; no trace of austerity here; has elegance and harmony; works well; nicely balanced; with freshness. Works well. Supple tannins on the finish. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2035. 88-90

Château Lamothe-Bergeron, Haut-Médoc, 2020

Mid depth; vibrant purple but not as concentrated as Lestage Simon; fresh; black cherry and briary notes; quite Bordeaux with lots of vivid fruit; fresh entry; blackcurrants, cherry; works well; sweetness; not hugely concentrated but appetizing and fresh. Little angular on the finish. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2032. 86-87

Château Lanessan, Haut-Médoc, 2020

Mid depth; deeper at core; earthy purple at edge; stalky blackcurrant aromatics; fresh; little reduced; needs to open up; nice purity here; fresh blackcurrant fruit; quite structured and a little on the angular side but this will doubtless come round during élevage; has good freshness and vibrancy; lacks a little richness in the middle. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2024-2035. 87-89

Château Lestage Simon, Haut-Médoc, 2020

Deep and arterial; dark centre; plush and rich; blackcurrants; bit reticent at first but evident depth; plums and black fruits; nice texture; plenty here; nicely extracted and plenty of middle; this works well; quite satisfying; nicely textured. Good effort. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2023-2035. 88-90

Château Malescasse, Haut-Médoc, 2020

Mid depth; deepish core; purple at edge; little reticent at first; some spices and blackcurrant notes; ink and undergrowth; savoury note too; nice and composed; stylish when it opens; good palate; fresh and bright fruit; blackcurrants, cherry and plum tones; quite firm and structured; but this will work; nice saline finish. Has elegance and tension. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2024-2035. 88-90+

Château Peyredon Lagravette, Haut-Médoc, 2020

Mid depth; some depth; black fruits and spicy oak; opens up the glass; ripe black fruits beneath; chocolate notes; nice fruit on the palate; plums; soft with the oak to integrate still; there is freshness too; still needs to come together further. Fresh finish. Little hard at present. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2025-2035. 85-87

Château Villegeorge, Haut-Médoc, 2020

Mid depth; lively and glossy; vibrant; creamy blackcurrant tones; some spices; firm palate which shows plenty of fruit; quite structured and tannins a little dry; should hopefully round out with further élevage; little dry and tannic on the finish at present. Austere end. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2025-2031. 85-87


Château Dutruch Grand Poujeaux, Moulis, 2020

Mid depth; deep centre vibrant at edge; creamy and polished blackcurrants, earth and savoury tones; really like this property; 2019 was super impressive; this is composed and polished again with a little more freshness and acidity; nice and appetizing; composed and measured with zap on the finish. Perhaps a little lacking in concentration but certainly balanced and moreish. Tasted May, 2021. 87-89+


Château Cap Leon de Veyrin, Listrac, 2020

Mid depth; deepish core; earthy purple; healthy looking in the glass; composed and refined on the nose; blueberry; blackberry notes; some spice and powder; nice entry; composed again on the palate with some creamy plum and blueberry notes; medium weight with refined tannins. Works nicely. Tasted May, 2021. 87-88


Château Le Coteau, Margaux, 2020

Mid depth; earthy purple at edge; nice pure plum and blackcurrant notes; attractive; vigorous and fresh on the palate; nice fruit and balance; has some middle and texture; quite plummy, blue fruit notes with fine acidity. This is fresh and well balanced with the emphasis on purity and energy. Nice and typical of the appellation. Not a blockbuster but an attractive drink. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2025-2038. 87-89+

Château Haut-Breton Larigaudière, Margaux, 2020

Deep at centre; plenty of fruit and some spice; some menthol; plums; nice texture to the palate; some freshness and acidity but nice supple fruit; mid weight. Solid but with some delicacy. Tasted May, 2021. 86-88

Château La Tour De Bessan, Margaux, 2020

Mid depth; deepish core; purple at edge; quite sturdy; plums; black cherry notes; perfumed; black cherry fruit with plums; some texture to the tannins; fresh finish. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2024-2035. 86-88

St Julien

Château du Glana, St Julien, 2020

Bold colour; deep at core; purple red at edge; blackcurrant, cream and spices; quite plush and layered aromatics; spicy entry; blackcurrants; black pepper notes; nice texture to the tannins; medium weight and nicely balanced; good stuff. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2025-2035. 88-90


Château Bellegrave, Pauillac

Deep saturated look; dark at centre; legs; blackcurrant notes; some plums; quite a savoury Pauillac this; has style and texture on the palate; medium weight; nicely balanced and fine tannins. Composed and assured Pauillac. Nice freshness and texture on the finish. Tasted May, 2021. 88-90

Château Fonbadet, Pauillac, 2020

Deep at centre; creamy blackcurrant notes; resin; spices; quite substantial; sweet entry; blackcurrant; texture to the tannins; some austerity on the finish but more a twist. Some depth. Will work out well as solid Pauillac. Tasted May, 2021. 87-89

St Estèphe

Château La Haye, St Estèphe, 2020

Deep and meaty looking; legs; black fruits and some fruitcake notes; full; good fruit on the entry; texture to the tannins; plenty of fruit which is nicely handled; pretty solid effort; some dark chocolate on the finish; medium bodied but overall quite meaty. Tasted May, 2021. Drink 2024-2032 87-89

Château Petit Bocq, St Estèphe, 2020

Mid depth; earthy purple; meaty; solid and substantial aromatics; quite attractive and opened up well; sweet entry; mid depth; nice chew to the fruit; balanced; nice texture on the finish. Tasted May, 2021. 88-90

Château Tour Saint-Fort, St Estèphe, 2020

Deep and dark; legs; ripe; black fruits; plums and undergrowth; little pain grille note; attractive; rich; sweet entry; nice texture to the fruit; opened up in the glass; lacks a little concentration on the finish but works well. Quite satisfying St Estèphe. Tasted May, 2021. 87-89

Château Tour des Termes, St Estèphe, 2020

Deep and dark; ripe layered aromatics; ripe plums; cream; some tar; lots of layers; nice entry with plenty of fruit, extract and spicy oak; meaty; tails off a fraction and oak needs to integrate; but plenty to like in this strong St Estèphe. Tasted May, 2021. 88-90

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