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Bordeaux looks back on its 2020 vintage

By Vitisphere April 28, 2021
Bordeaux looks back on its 2020 vintage
Although the Merlot grapes were quite large, they produced wines showing good tannic structure, no rustic characters or dilution. - crédit photo : DR

ldquo;As the harvest got nearer, the Covid-19 pandemic caused a lot of concern among wine growers. Various adjustments had to be made, but the harvest nevertheless went ahead in good conditions”, recall Laurence Gény and Axel Marchal from the Institute of Vine and Wine Science (ISVV) in their newsletter on the 2020 vintage.

The lecturers reviewed all the key weather facts and conditions in which the fruit developed over a vintage that was as early as 2011, before giving their tasting impressions.

Although the hot summer may have affected their aromatic potential, the white grapes retained a good level of acidity. They were sweet, flavourful and in perfect health”, they explain, with a particular soft spot for the Semillon. “Then, vineyards moved seamlessly from summer to autumn over the first ten days of September, resulting in ideal harvesting conditions for the Merlots and more variable conditions for the Cabernet-Sauvignons”. For the later-ripening Cabernets, the rate of picking had to be sped up in some cases due to deteriorating weather conditions after storm Alex.


Promising reds

Obviously, mildew pressure, conditions at fruit set and concentration in the grapes had an impact on volumes. Fortunately, “the reds currently in the maturation phase look promising”, say Gény and Marchal, adding that the Merlots show a lot of colour and are intensely fruity and full-flavoured. Petit Verdot produced good results in sites where water supply was not overly limited. The Cabernet grapes, that were generally very small in size, yielded deeply coloured, tannic wines, with no marked vegetal characters. Overall, the alcoholic strength of the wines was slightly lower than the previous year.





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