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April 26, 2021

“Bordeaux 2020 Vintage Tasting”, Commanderie de Bordeaux in San Francisco, Monday 26th April 2021

Chuck Horn, Maître - Commanderie de Bordeaux in San Francisco

Our "Bordeaux 2020 Vintage Tasting" was a great success! There were 10 of us, and we arranged the tasting as a UGC-style event, where the wines would be grouped on separate tables and the tasters would go from wine to wine to taste them (2 were remote).

We started with the Clairet and the Rosé, then the Left Bank reds, the Right Bank reds, the dry whites, and finally the sweet white wines.

We started with an introduction to the vintage and to En Primeur tasting by Jesse Becker from Chicago (he was great! very helpful!). We thoroughly and carefully tasted the wines.

Then, to be really thorough, we sat down to a five-course dinner (this was all at The French Club in San Francisco) and continued to taste the wines with the various courses of food. One of our participants was the chief wine buyer for The French Club, and a long-time authority on wine. We found that, typical of great Bordeaux wines, they continued to improve as we kept drinking them throughout our meal.

Overall: we were unanimous in concluding that 2020 was a highly successful year in Bordeaux. The wines had character, freshness, and typicity for their areas. We had no negative comments or observations about any of the wines, we were looking but found no flaws in any of them.

One comment, with which all agreed, was: "All very fresh, and nothing wrong with any of them. It's amazing that we're drinking these 2020 wines with dinner, and enjoying them tremendously." They were a lot more approachable than the 2016 en primeur wines we tasted when we visited Bordeaux in June of 2017.

Whites: Sauvignon blanc did well, but the two wines with Sauvignon gris (7% in Couhins, 20% in Motte Maucourt) were particularly interesting. The sauvignon blancs that were 100% were clean, crisp, and fresh, wonderful wines.

Reds: Wines generally showed good typicity for their communes, with abundant (but disciplined, i.e. reined-in) fruit, freshness, purity, length and balance in the best examples. Merlot grown on limestone is said to be especially successful in 2020, and we confirmed this among the four Right Bank wines. We found the Left Bank reds to be very much in balance and lovely, and with a lot of charm, "gorgeous wines."

The Doisy-Daëne showed effects of botrytis and was very appealing for a young Barsac, "so drinkable now!"

Thank you so much to the Grand Conseil du Vin de Bordeaux for making this happen, it made us all enthusiastic supporters of the 2020 Bordeaux vintage.

Bordeaux, toujours Bordeaux !

(Photos of just a small number of the 24 wines tasted)

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