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2020 Bordeaux - En Primeur
After a flurry of new releases we look for our favourites from the Haut-Medoc, Margaux, Moulis and Saint-Emilion
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Bordeaux 2020 En Primeur .. The show must (still) go on !

As expected, we have seen a flurry of new releases over the last 48 hours and below a selection of our favourites that sparked our interest, from the Haut-MedocMargaux, Moulis and Saint-Emilion appellations

Château Fleur Cardinale is a stylish and under-rated Saint-Emilion estate that has been producing consistently good wine, at a great price, for more than a decade. With a high proportion of Merlot we see a standout wine in 2020.

Château Kirwan is a classic 3rd growth Margaux with a long history and unique position on the plateau overlooking the Gironde river. A good spread of reviews for 2020, including 94-95 pts from James Suckling, makes this wine a rewarding addition to the cellar.

Chateau Chasse-Spleen is from the smallest appellation in Bordeaux but not lacking in quality and has been long term favourite of ours. This unique terroir in Moulis combines many elements to create a special blend.

Chateau Cantemerle is 5th growth Haut-Medoc that is always on our list to buy in good vintages, representing remarkable value for money for the quality and 2020 is no exception. We recently had a bottle of 2000 vintage and it was truly outstanding!
As we eagerly await the critical analysis of Bordeaux 2020 from Neal Martin at Vinous.com, which is expected today, we now have Part I of the Wine Advocate review from Lisa Perrotti-Brown who has posted tasting notes for 500 wines containing 6 potential perfect scores.

Fans of 
Cos d'Estournel should look out for their special bottling this year!
Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate)
"2020 is an irregular vintage that is perhaps on a par with 2017 in terms of the variability of quality; however, the peaks of quality far exceed 2017 and are right up there with the best of 2018 and 2019. Therefore, for some areas and terroirs, this is absolutely the third outstanding vintage in this trio."
We have also seen the release of Château Leoville-Barton (£364/6 - IB) last week but sadly allocations have been reduced, so no formal offer this year (for now). We will continue to see a flurry of releases over the coming days and into early June, where we should start to see some major releases.
Our suggestion would be to carefully think about favourites and consider multi critical reviews when making selections.
As we still find ourselves in the grip of a global pandemic, once again the annual ritual of the Bordeaux En Primeur campaign slowly but reassuringly springs to life.
Only the privileged few have made it to Bordeaux this year but for the vast majority of us there has been no fanciful trips, with only the sound of the door bell ringing and samples left on the doorstep. Zoom is once again our friend and the tool of choice to supplement this annual pilgrimage.


We all remember vividly the long hot summer of 2020, not least because 2021 has been well below average temperatures (with the odd exception) so far. The end of summer rain in August brought some respite from the prolonged searing heat and September provided perfect ripening conditions, particularly for the Merlot grape.

Whilst the heat has affected the yields, which are down, the quality is certainly in abundance and comparisons are being made the triple vintage success of 1988-1990. Nature is truly an amazing beast. So it appears that despite the chaos that surrounds us, another 'great' vintage has been born during adversity.

However, this is not universally true in 2020 and care will be required to sift through the 700+ wines on offer during the campaign. The vast majority of opinion suggests that the Merlot is excellent and that Haut-Medoc is the most homogeneous in quality. It also appears to be a very good year for whites, particularly from the Right Bank.
Jane Anson (Decanter)
"I would say 2018 is the most exuberant, 2020 the most structured and concentrated, while 2019 combines both and for me is the strongest of the three – certainly the most consistent. Yields overall were around 25% lower than in 2019, particularly with Cabernet Sauvignon but also Cabernet Franc in many cases."
The next question on consumers lips will be .. What about the pricing?
Cynically I believed we would never see the pricing levels of the 2019 EP campaign repeated and whilst that appears to be somewhat true, thus far pricing does not appear to have shifted much at all.
Château Cheval Blanc was one the first major releases last week, with only a modest 3% increase on 2019 release price.

Those that follow social media closely will have seen snippets of enthusiastic commentary as each appellation is meticulously poured, tasted and written up. Most have yet to publish any meaningful reports and accompanying notes but the signs are more than positive, if not positively glowing.
James Suckling
"
After tasting more than 400-barrel samples from the 2020 vintage, I can 100% confirm that it is another great year for Bordeaux. The 2020 vintage marks a rare trilogy of excellent vintages that produced wines at the same or very close quality level across the board from great named chateaux to lesser-known estates. 90% of the wines I have reviewed show an outstanding quality level from first growths to Petit Chateaux, even from simple appellations such as Bordeaux or Bordeaux Superior."
The market was surprised early on with the release of Château Cheval Blanc (not rated yet) a legend of the Right Bank, that came out of the blocks with a price of £2,325/6 (IB)
Again, this is only marginally up from 2019 and sends a strong indication for the upcoming releases. With another high quality vintage on the cards and pricing 'reasonable' it is once again .. One for the consumers!
Château Fleur Cardinale (Saint-Emilion)

The idea suddenly came to them late one evening just as they were about to fall asleep. It suddenly caught their imaginations. They mulled it over for a few minutes, but then decided no…it wasn’t realistic. Days later that idea was still in their minds. It just wouldn’t go away. They hinted at it to others, who smiled in approval. It was a daring idea perhaps, but there are times when you want to believe, and nothing will stop you. They decided to pursue it.
It was Florence Decoster, the present owner, who first nurtured that idea and brought it to fruition in the year 2000. Her husband, Dominique, having just completed the sale of his Limoges porcelain business, Haviland, had his doubts. “And now buy a vineyard?” he wondered slightly perplexed. But slowly the idea grew on him, and finally Florence and Dominique, both of them lovers of nature and fine dining, became enamoured with their new plan. Arriving for the first time at the Château Fleur Cardinale estate, which is located on a limestone plateau just a few miles from the historic village of Saint-Emilion, Florence and Dominique were amazed by the beauty of the place and its surrounding countryside. They acquired the property in May 2001.




 

2020 Château Fleur Cardinale

77% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

Dominique and Florence Decoster also had a clear idea of the wine they wanted to make: one which mirrors their love of the Saint-Emilion region and above all one which expresses the terroir of the vineyard of Château Fleur Cardinale.
Château Fleur Cardinale has since thrilled wine lovers in every vintage, achieving that much sought-after quality of power combined with elegance.
The wines display a deep, dense-coloured hue, while on the nose there are powerful ripe fruit aromas mingling with floral notes. Feminine in style, the wines have a seductive, rich mouth-feel, underpinned by elegant, silky tannins. The finish is long and harmonious, promising very long ageing potential in bottle.
These specific tasting characteristics, immediately recognisable to its growing number of followers, are the hallmark of Château Fleur Cardinale.

 

£168.00 per 6 x 750ml (IB)
£173.00 per 3 x 1500l (IB)

 

"A ton of depth and body to this wine, you feel the cool blue fruit of a later-ripening terroir, plenty of tannic grip and bite, curls up with graphite, cigar box, liquorice root and a tiptoe balance of slate and baked earth. Plenty of juicy acidity on the finish, this is precise and elegant with a punch, and continues the run of successful vintages at Fleur Cardinale. A yield of 43hl/ha. 100% new oak. New cellar just finished up at the estate."
James Suckling (94-95 pts)

 "The medium to full-bodied palate is chock-full of softly textured, juicy black fruits, countered by fantastic tension, finishing with great length and loads of earthy layers."
Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate) 93-95 pts 








 

2020 Château Kirwan (3rd Growth)

51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot

Situated on the Cantenac Plateau, overlooking the Garonne River, the terroir of Kirwan displays its uniqueness as the pride of the Margaux appellation.
The richness and personality of a soil created over more than two million years by the accumulation of Pyrenean gravel, together with the climate and the flora, make up the precious DNA of the estate. Over time, mankind has learned to develop and communicate knowledge, discovering ways to innovate so as to better express the originality and authenticity of the Château Kirwan terroir. With approximately 100 acres (40 hectares) of vineyard composed of 46 distinct plots, Kirwan continuously enhances the rich potential of its terroir. We adapt our viticulture to our soil and climate. Located at the gravelly summit of Cantenac, along the river born of thousands of years of erosion, this terroir expresses and reveals its geological riches. A pedological study recently conducted to better understand the composition of the soil confirmed the central role of gravel. Facilitating drainage and warming the soil, it increases the penetration depth of the roots. Clay captures water and preserves its freshness, maintaining much-deeded moisture during heat waves and periods of drought.

£180.00 per 6 x 750ml (IB)
£185.00 per 3 x 1500l (IB)

 

"Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2020 Kirwan prances out of the glass with pretty scents of redcurrant jelly, black raspberries and Morello cherries, followed by hints of lavender, black tea and dried Provence herbs, with a touch of tree bark. The medium-bodied palate has fantastic tension and fine-grained tannins framing the tightly wound red fruit and savory layers, finishing long and refreshing."
Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate) 91-93+ pts 






 

2020 Château Chasse-Spleen (Moulis)

49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 6.5% Petit Verdot, 2.5% Cabernet Franc

The estate has been managed by women for the past thrity years: Jacques Merlaut's daughter, Bernadette Villars, starting in 1976, followed by her daughter Claire, beginning in 1992, and now her sister, Céline.
The vineyard is located in Moulis, the smallest appellation in the Médoc, just off the Route des Châteaux, halfway between Margaux and Saint-Julien. Its extraordinary varies terroir consists of complementary soil types going from pure Garonne and Pyrenean gravel to a mixture of clay and limestone.
Chasse-Spleen reflects this diversity and the best of its appellation thanks to the fresh, mineral qualities of Cabernet Sauvignon grown on a thick layer of gravel and the roundness and smoothness of Merlot planted on largely clay-limestone soil.

 

£121.50 per 6 x 750ml (IB)
£126.50 per 3 x 1500l (IB)

 

"A beautifully constructed young Bordeaux with blackberry, walnut, nutmeg, dried herb and bark. Full-bodied with round, creamy tannins and a flavorful finish."
James Suckling (94-95 pts) 




 

2020 Château Cantemerle (5th Growth)

58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot

Located in the southern part of the Bordeaux Medoc peninsula near the villages of Macau & Ludon, Château Cantemerle, designated a great growth in the famous 1855 classficiation, has deep gravel soil. Thanks to its unique terroir, Cantemerle produces complex, well-balanced, and refined wines.
In the Middle Ages, the château of Cantemerle, seat of the jurisdiction of the same name, bordered the Garonne River and made up part of the line of fortifications that defended the banks of the Médoc region, just over half a mile from the present château. The oldest known masnuscript known which mentions the name of the Lords of Cantemerle is the "Grand Cartulaire" of La Sauve Majeur Abbey, dating to the twelfth century. The monks recorded there all transactions executed within the monastic community. In 1147, the Abbey received vast territories as a gift from Arnaud, Lord of Blanquefort, before he set out on crusade.  A century later, with Aquitaine under English rule, a Lord of Cantemerle is warring against Saint Louis, King of France.

 

£109.50 per 6 x 750ml (IB)
£114.50 per 3 x 1500l (IB)

 

"This has the tight tannins of the vintage with damson and an edge of bitter dark chocolate, but it is a success all the same - confident, succulent, elegant and classic. Philippe Dambrine retires as director of the estate as of this vintage, replaced by Laure Canu from Château Angélus. A yield of 45hl/ha, 40% new oak, 6% Petit Verdot completes the blend"
Jane Anson (Decanter) 93 pts 





 
All prices are 'In Bond' and exclude, duty, VAT & delivery and subject to availabilty and confirmation
The wines above are subject to strict allocation on a first come first serve basis, confirmation and remaining unsold.
Different formats are available for most wines (375ml to 15L) at a small additional bottling cost.
Delivery is expected to commence in spring 2023.

 
+44 207 536 2359

 
wines@finewinesforall.com
BORDEAUX 2020 EP Offers
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