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The barrel cellar at Château Montrose
The barrel cellar at Château Montrose

The Wine Advocate’s William Kelley, whose rise as a leading authority on Bordeaux has been a fast one, has published his long-awaited in-bottle scores on the 2020 vintage.  This is all the more pertinent given that, like 2019, 2020 is a vintage that was never properly evaluated from barrel on account of Covid restrictions.

His review opens “Bordeaux’s 2020 vintage has produced brilliant wines that exemplify the region’s rapid agronomic and technical evolution”, and seven wines get a 100 point score: Canon, Figeac, Conseillante, La Mission Haut Brion, Montrose, Mouton Rothschild and Pétrus.

His appraisal of the trio of 2018, 2019 & 2020 is as intelligent as his reviews of the wines themselves are both accurate and honest.

The 2018s are rich, muscular and often jammy; the 2019s are more vibrant, refined and differentiated by style and site while remaining fleshy and sensual; and the 2020s, at their best, are the most classic of the trio, with even purer terroir expression and lower alcohols, even if they are not as uniformly charming and accessible as the 2019s.”  

As a rule Kelley does not give out perfect scores as readily as his peers, but explains the brilliance of these wines in a recent essay in which he attests that “Bordeaux today is producing the best wines in its modern history.” This justifies 2020s great potential from the very best wines in a vintage he describes as “a high-wire act” where the best châteaux “produced great wines that exemplify the New Bordeaux.”

In short, 2020 is a vintage with some clear winners, and one to buy selectively (whereas you can buy 2019s with your eyes closed). William's full article on the 2020s can be seen HERE.  A subscription is required and highly recommended.  His free-to-read article on modern Bordeaux is HERE.