THE GROWING SEASON
- A similar pattern to 2016, 2018 and 2019. Challenges of lockdown and managing people not inconsiderable.
- Mild winter with temperatures around 2’c above the 30-year average – vine cycle begins early.
- Wet spring raises the threat of mildew.
- Second half of May was warm and dry which led to early flowering.
- This was followed by a dry hot summer – from 18 June to 11 August there were 54 days of drought.
- Lots of rainfall, but mainly through thunderstorms in May, June and August. This meant rain hit different appellations at different times. Rainfall in 2020 is 15% above the 30-year average.
- The best wines seem to have come from terroir capable of excellent drainage and the capacity to handle hydric stress – particularly Pomerol, St. Emilion and parts of Pauillac and St. Julien.
- Warm and dry harvest. Merlot picked from mid-September and Cabernets a week later, during a late heat-wave.
- Average volumes are down 10% against 2019, although some communes lost up to 25%, through a combination of frost, mildew, drought and small berries.
- Full-bodied and balanced wines with a wonderful crunchy freshness.
- Similar in style to the 2019s, perhaps a little more generous fruit and slightly less consistent.
- Julien the most consistent and elegant of the left bank communes, some very impressive and typical Pauillacs.
- Estephe good all round while Margaux appears quite inconsistent (not unsurprising for one of the largest appellations on the left bank).
- Pessac & Graves is consistently very good to excellent – easiest wines to taste and generally the most harmonious left bank samples, along with St Julien.
- Pomerol & St. Emilion show the warmth and charm of the vintage, with ripe open and hedonistic wines – the grapes here tend to ripen earlier and may have avoided the September heat wave which had the potential to over-concentrate, through evaporation, later ripening grapes.
Excellent wines have been made in all appellations, however, we found in our tastings that the Merlot based wines on the right bank were showing a much more consistently with generous fruit from the heat of the vintage – more careful selection is needed on the left bank, but choose well and 2020 will reward you.
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