Beychevelle 2020

St Julien, Fourth Growth

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Tasting Notes

The Grand Vin 2020 Château Beychevelle is a tiny selection representing just 55% of the total production of the estate. The blend is 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, and 4% Petit Verdot which spent 18 months in 70% new French oak, hitting 13.5% natural alcohol. Surpassing both the 2016 and 2018, this inky-hued Saint-Julien offers a round, lush, full-bodied style as well as gorgeous aromatics of black cherries, blueberries, loamy earth, chocolate, and spring flowers. The vintage doesn't get any sexier, and this has sweet tannins, an opulent mouthfeel, and riveting purity and finesse. While it already offers pleasure, it's going to benefit from 4-6 years of bottle age and keep for 25+.

Score: 97

Jeb Dunnuck, Maturity: 2027-2052 29 March 2023

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, 25 May 2021

The 2020 Beychevelle is a wild, exotic beauty. Blackberry jam, gravel, crushed rocks menthol and espresso ristretto give Beychevelle its flamboyant personality. All the elements are so well balanced in this full-throttle, hugely enjoyable Saint-Julien. The 2020 is lights out.

Score: 96

Antonio Galloni, Maturity: 2030-2055 23 February 2023

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, Maturity: 2030-2055 01 June 2021

The 2020 Beychevelle was perplexing from barrel. Re-tasting it three or four times, I discerned a faint but nagging vegetal note on the finish, though it was not evident on a bottle subsequently tasted at the property, which governed my banded score. Returning to Bordeaux to taste the wines that had been bottled in June 2022, I certainly appreciate the bouquet that is clean and pure with blackberry, bilberry, cedar and background sous-bois aromas. The oak is beautifully integrated. The palate is medium-bodied with pliant tannins and well-judged acidity. Quite intense black fruit laced with graphite, perhaps a tad more peppery than usual. On the first bottle encountered at a merchant, I picked up on the green note that sent alarm bells ringing. A second bottle at the château unequivocally showed no signs at all, very sleek and poised with a residual tingle of black pepper. Based on this sample, I am cautiously optimistic about this Beychevelle, though I will always keep a lookout for that trait.

Score: 93

Neal Martin, Maturity: 2025-2050 08 February 2023

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, 27 May 2021

The 2020 Beychevelle is the one wine that I vowed to re-taste at the château since I found three samples tasting in the UK vexing because of a green taint on the finish. Here, the nose performs well: pure blackberry and crushed violet, none of those incongruous “mulch” or “vegetal” scents that I noticed before. That’s a good omen. The palate? This is far different to the samples tasted before. I think there is still a very nuanced green/bell pepper note towards the finish, but here it is subsumed into the layers of black fruit. Swallowing a sip just to be certain, I am more reassured that the samples in the UK were unrepresentative and glad that I did not attribute a score, which I am happy to do now.

Score: 94 - 96

Neal Martin, Maturity: 2028-2055 01 May 2021

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, Maturity: 2026 - 2046 20 May 2021

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, 16 May 2021

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, 08 May 2021

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, 16 April 2021