En Primeur Bordeaux 2020

St Julien - The wines with tasting notes


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[Add to shopping basket] Beychevelle St Julien £347 6x75cl - 94-95 94-96 94 94-96 95-97
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The 2020 Beychevelle opens with the most exotic bouquet imaginable. Wild flowers of all sorts, spice, lavender and inky dark fruit all saturate the palate. As always, Beychevelle is an overt, flamboyant wine, but all of the elements are so well out together. The 2020 is sexy, alluring and impossible to resist. Time in the glass brings out redder tonalities of fruit along with sweet floral notes that add striking inner perfume. Even as a barrel sample, I am so tempted to just drink it.

Score: 94 - 96 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2030-2055

Sweet-berry and tobacco character with blackberries and violets. It’s full-bodied with firm, polished tannins and a fresh finish. Very fine at the end.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

Deep purple-black colored, the 2020 Beychevelle offers up vibrant notes of black raspberries, fresh black cherries and cassis, plus hints of wild sage, chocolate mint, rose hip tea and fallen leaves, with an exotic hint of Indian spices. The medium to full-bodied palate offers layers of crunchy black fruits with a firm, grainy texture and just enough freshness, finishing long and perfumed.

Score: 94 - 96 Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com Maturity: 2026 - 2046

Smoke, grilled almond on the nose, even a touch of rubber from an edge of reduction. This has depth to black chocolate and bilberry fruit, it is well balanced and seductive. Enjoyable, it's pretty broad shouldered but it sits well within the successful run of vintages at Beychevelle. A yield of 47hl/ha. 18 months ageing. 55% first wine. Drinking Window 2029 - 2044

Score: 94 Jane Anson, Decanter.com

This Saint-Julien estate has produced wonderful wines from their new winery in recent years under head winemaker, the congenial Philippe Blanc. But my job is to tell it like it is and the truth is that all three bottles of the 2020 Beychevelle tasted from different sources, including one directly from the château and with different sample dates, left me scratching my head. It was picked from 14 September to 29 September and cropped at 47hl/ha. Initially, it has a backward and herbal nose, attractive black fruit with touches of tobacco and mulch, the latter turning slightly vegetal. The palate is medium-bodied with blackberries tinged with bay leaf and a touch of white pepper. However, the first bottle exhibited some unwanted green/stalky notes that poked out on the finish. It was less evident on the second bottle sent directly from the estate that was given 90 minutes' aeration. Unexpectedly a third bottle arrived, this taken from barrel later on 17 May. I was hoping it would disprove my findings, so I had it served blind. I picked it up again - just like the first. Now, maybe this will be assimilated during its élevage after all, I occasionally notice this trait on Brane-Cantenac and with time it becomes subsumed, even enhancing complexity. But because all three samples left me vexed, I will refrain from scoring this wine and revisit the bottle later on. The only thing I can promise is that I will tell you exactly what I find.

Score: - Neal Martin, Vinous.com

Based on 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, and 4% Petit Verdot, the Grand Vin 2020 Château Beychevelle is a stunner that does everything right, offering a monster bouquet of black and blue fruits as well as candied violets, incense, flowers, and toasty oak. A ripe, full-bodied, incredibly sexy wine in every sense, it has a great mid-palate, ripe, velvety tannins, no hard edges, and a great finish. It's one of the more up-front, exotic wines in the vintage and should be accessible with just short-term cellaring.

Score: 95 - 97 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

Full bottle 1,245 g. Cask sample taken 31 March. 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot. Concentrated purple. Headily aromatic with mulberry perfume and just a hint of oak. Silky tannins and marked freshness. Neat and the opposite of opulent. Classic wine for the table.

Score: 16 Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com

[Add to shopping basket] Branaire Ducru St Julien £186 6x75cl 92-94 93-94 91-93 - 94-96 92-94
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The 2020 Branaire-Ducru is utterly magnificent. A wine of extraordinary depth and dimension, the 2020 possesses tremendous intensity right out of the gate. Inky dark fruit, chocolate, new leather, licorice, cloves and lavender build as into the explosive, palate-staining finish. I don't think I have ever tasted a Branaire quite like this.

Score: 94 - 96 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2030 - 2050

A polished, creamy red with blue fruit, such as blackcurrants, and pretty, ripe and fine tannins that fill your mouth.

Score: 93 - 94 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

The 2020 Branaire-Ducru displays a deep garnet-purple color and pronounced blackcurrant cordial, plum preserves and boysenberries scents, plus hints of sautéed herbs, unsmoked cigars and graphite. The medium-bodied palate has a lot of verve, delivering appealing tension among the tightly wound black fruits and grainy tannins, finishing with an herbal lift.

Score: 91 - 93 Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com Maturity: 2024 - 2042

The 2020 Branaire Ducru has a tightly wound bouquet of blackberry, wild hedgerow, freshly tilled loam and distinct sea spray scents, all well defined, albeit 15­–20 minutes after opening my sample bottle. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins, and very cohesive, displaying a keen thread of acidity. Unlike previous vintages, there is impressive density on the midpalate where it once was a little lean, and plenty of energy and tension conveyed by the finish. Excellent.

Score: 92 - 94 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2028 - 2048

The 2020 Château Branaire-Ducru is vivid purple in color, with a classy, slightly exotic nose of blueberries, plums, violets, and orange blossom, and a kiss of marine-like iron emerging with time in the glass. Medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated, and focused on the palate, it’s not massive by any means yet shines for its balance, purity, and length.

Score: 92 - 94 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

Full bottle 1,350 g. 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc. 18 months' ageing. Deep crimson. Pale rim. Rather luscious fruit initially but a bit tart on the finish and just a little skinny on the mid palate. Relatively short.

Score: - Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com

[Add to shopping basket] Clos du Marquis St Julien £225 6x75cl 92-94 94-95 93-95 92 91-93 94-96
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The 2020 Clos du Marquis is plush, sensual and inviting, with soft contours that make it a real pleasure to taste today. Inky red/purplish fruit, lavender, spice, rose petal, mint and cedar all take shape as this sexy Saint-Julien shows off its allure. All the elements are so nicely balanced. In 2020, only 25 of the 46 hectares of the property were used for the Grand Vin.

Score: 91 - 93 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026 - 2040

A tighter, more linear red with blackcurrant, olive and floral character. It’s medium-to full-bodied with a firm, racy finish. Tight. Sweet tobacco. 61% cabernet sauvignon, 6% cabernet franc and 33% merlot.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

The 2020 Clos du Marquis is composed of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc, weighing in with an alcohol of 13.57%, a pH of 3.76 and an IPT (tannins index) of 84. The Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested from the 26th to 29th of September, the Merlot from the 11th to the 16th of September and the Cabernet Franc from the 18th to the 29th of September. Deep purple-black in color, it bursts from the glass with flamboyant notes of crushed blackberries, ripe, juicy plums and blackcurrant pastilles, with suggestions of licorice, red roses and espresso. The medium-bodied palate is completely coated with perfumed black fruits, framed by firm, grainy tannins and bold freshness, finishing long and fragrant. Simply gorgeous.

Score: 93 - 95 Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com Maturity: 2025 - 2045

This has the most gorgeous savoury fruit edge, a brilliant Marquis with a sappy chalky quality, concentrated and intense but still keeps the St-Julien balance. 40% new oak.

Score: 92 Jane Anson, Decanter.com Maturity: 2024 - 2036

The 2020 Clos du Marquis was picked September 11–29 and matured in 40% new oak with 13.57° alcohol. This Saint-Julien displays copious blackberry and raspberry scents on the nose, intermingling with freshly rolled tobacco and subtle estuarine aromas. There is something almost… gentle about the aromatics. The palate is medium-bodied with satisfying sappiness on the entry that gets the saliva flowing. Quite classic in style, in keeping with the leitmotif of the vintage, this fans out toward the finish while retaining ample structure and a sense of linearity. This excellent Clos du Marquis brims over with breeding and should drink well for 20–30 years.

Score: 92 - 94 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2027 - 2050

Pure crème de cassis, tobacco, black cherries, lead pencil, and a wonderful sense of minerality emerge from the 2020 Clos Du Marquis, and it's medium to full-bodied, with a pure, elegant texture, plenty of ripe tannins, and the vibrant, focused, lengthy style of the vintage front and center. It's going to need 4-6 years of bottle age, possibly more, but the balance, purity, and precision are all brilliant. The blend is 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, raised in 40% new French oak. The technical information checks in with the alcohol at 13.57%, pH of 3.76, and an IPT of 84. This will be a long-lived Saint-Julien!

Score: 94 - 96 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

[Add to shopping basket] Croix Ducru Beaucaillou (2nd label of Ducru) St Julien £180 6x75cl - - 89-91 95 - 92-95
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The 2020 La Croix de Beaucaillou is composed of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. It has 13.75% alcohol and a pH of 3.78 with an IPT of 91. It is set to age for 12 months in French oak barrels, 60% new. Deep garnet-purple in color, it leaps from the glass with vibrant scents of crushed redcurrants, black raspberries and fresh black berries, plus hints of bay leaves, lavender and damp soil. The medium-bodied palate is full of energetic red and black berry layers with a grainy texture and just enough freshness, finishing with an herbal lift.

Score: 89 - 91 Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com Maturity: 2024 - 2037

So much purity and definition, this is a beautiful wine with clarity of flavour. Touches of grilled almond and rosemary, mocha, smoke and coffee bean, there is so much freshness, with juice rushing in between the muscles and a mint leaf finish. 3.78pH, 60% new oak. Yields were 25-30hl/ha. In a year where second wines in the Médoc have sometimes suffered from over-concentration, La Croix de Beaucaillou is a standout success.

Score: 95 Jane Anson, Decanter.com Maturity: 2026 - 2042

The second wine of the estate is the 2020 La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou, composed of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot brought up in 60% new French oak. It's a much more concentrated, structured wine offering classic cassis and blackberry fruits intermixed with notes of scorched earth, tobacco, graphite, and chocolate. Playing in the medium to full-bodied end of the spectrum, it has a great mid-palate as well as the vintage's rich, deep, powerful style. It's going to have some up-front appeal given its balance as well as the quality of the tannins, but this is a serious wine for reserving 2-4 years in the cellar, and it should easily have 15-20 years of prime drinking.

Score: 92 - 95 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

[Add to shopping basket] Ducru Beaucaillou St Julien £960 6x75cl Low Stock - 98-99 95-97 98 - 97-99
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Really perfumed and complex with blackberries, blackcurrants and flowers. Gorgeous cabernet sauvignon character. Full-bodied with really fine, polished tannins. Superb length and intensity. Very compact and seamless. Ethereal. Just goes on and on.

Score: 98 - 99 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

The 2020 Ducru-Beaucaillou is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Merlot, aging for approximately 18 months in 100% new barriques. It has a pH of 3.83, 13.5% alcohol and an IPT (total polyphenol index) of 90. Opaque purple-black colored, the nose slowly unfurls to reveal tantalizing scents of crushed blackcurrants, wild blueberries and boysenberries, leading to suggestions of chocolate mint, star anise, red roses and unsmoked cigars with a waft of cedar chest. The medium-bodied palate delivers impactful, muscular black fruits with a firm frame of ripe, fine-grained tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and fragrant.

Score: 95 - 97 Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com Maturity: 2027 - 2052

An amazing Ducru, one of the wines of the vintage. Hugely persistent, chiselled and precise, yet succulent in its berry and cassis fruit character. The slate and pencil lead finish slows things down and grabs hold of you, I love the push-and-pull of the tannins. Always a confident and well-finessed wine, really flexing its muscles in 2020. 100% new oak barrels. 3.83pH.

Score: 98 Jane Anson, Decanter.com Maturity: 2029 - 2045

A blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Merlot, brought up in new oak, the 2020 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou offers a gorgeously pure nose of crème de cassis, graphite, crushed stone, toasty oak, and lead pencil shavings. Full-bodied, concentrated, and structured, it reminds me of a hypothetical mix of the 2010 and 2016, offering serious concentration paired with a gorgeous sense of precision and purity. It's going to take a decade of cellaring to hit the early stages of maturity (it will have some up-front appeal if you're interested) yet evolve for 50 years or more. Along with the Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, it might be the wine of the vintage from the Médoc.

Score: 97 - 99 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

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