2020 Pessac Leognan began the growing season with on again-off again weather pattern. Guillaume Pouthier of Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion recalls some of the challenges he faced in the vineyards.
“2020 Pessac Leognan was a kind of two-in-one vintage in terms of climatic conditions. It started out very humid before becoming extremely dry. This made us become more focused on water management as we needed to remove the excess water from the soils to optimize the hydric restriction in the first part of the vintage. Later, the vines needed water in the second half of the growing season to allow the grapes to reach the perfect tannic maturity.”
The product of a summer drought, wet spring and early growing season could have ended up similar to 2003. But, after tasting every major red and white 2020 Pessac Leognan wine, clearly, that is not the case. The red wines are supple, generous, deeply colored and aromatic. The white wines managed to retain freshness, strong aromas, concentration and creamy textures, which is not something you normally see in hot, dry vintages.
2020 Pessac Leognan endured a rainy winter before warming up in the spring when the rains started falling all over again. In fact, the amount of rain drenching Pessac Leognan from March to June was of historic proportions. If the excessive amount of water in the vineyards at that time was not enough to deal with, March 25 and March 26 was icy cold, and frost hit some vineyards.
By the end of April, the weather started heating up again, warming and drying out the soils. The first part of May once again soaked the soils with a massive amount of rain. However, once temperatures began warming up, flowering started early, promising that 2020 Pessac Leognan would result in an early harvest.
Conditions turned around in a hurry. By the middle of June, just in time for the summer, the weather became hot, sunny and dry. In fact, almost no rain fell from July to August. Temperatures shot up to 40 Celsius, (104 Fahrenheit), bringing drought conditions.
Olivier Bernard of Domaine-deChevalier was initially worried that 2020 Pessac Leognan was going to turn out like 2003.
“With 2020, the hot, very dry summer with its drought shaped much of the vintage’s character. However, clearly August saved the vintage due to the desperately needed rain. Without that rain, the vintage could have developed like 2003. But as you have tasted the wines, you know that is not the case!”
2020 Pessac Leognan was indeed saved by the rains that fell August 11, August 12 and August 13. Here, the rains were almost half of what vignerons experienced in the northern part of the Medoc at an average of 60 mm, (2.36″).
With the soils becoming very dry, the desperately needed rain that fell in August was perfect. The 2020 Pessac Leognan harvest came early. Starting with the white Bordeaux wine grapes, growers started picking Sauvignon Blanc just after the August rains, around August 20 and finished with the Semillon by early September. For a detailed report on the 2020 Bordeaux growing season and harvest
By the start of September, the weather heated up, drying the soils and propelling the grapes to reach maturity. Veronique Sanders of Chateau Haut-Bailly found the 2020 Pessac Leognan difficult.
“The challenges 2020 gave us allowed our team to exert focus in the vineyard and in the cellars. The 2020 vintage is a Phoenix in many ways. We were able to create an incredible wine from unprecedented challenges.”
The red wine grape harvest started early with young vine Merlot being picked in early September. Most of the Cabernet Sauvignon was brought in by the end of September. Depending on the terroir and desires of the grower, when to pick was paramount, as Fabien Teitgen of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte recalls.
“The date of the harvest was important. We needed to pick at the right time which meant not too late to preserve the balance in the grapes. With the hot, dry temperatures, picking one or two days later could have changed things quite a bit!”
During the vinifications, it was necessary for winemakers to exercise a light touch with 2020 Pessac Leognan red and white wines. Too much would have been too much, especially this year. Jean-Jacques Bonnie of Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere explains what they needed to do during the vinification process.
“With 2020 Pessac Leognan, in the chai, with such grapes, there was clearly no need to push! Short vatting times along with a very precise selection of the press wine helped us maintain the density, finesse and freshness that was in the fruit.”
The following 2020 Pessac Leognan wines were all tasted in my home office in non-blind conditions.
2020 d’Alix – Medium-bodied, soft, fruity, early-drinking charmer without distinction or fault that will be best in its youth. 85-87 Pts
2020 d’Alix Blanc – Creamy, rich and spicy, with green and yellow apples, lemons and grapefruit in the nose and on the crisp, juicy, sweet, fresh, fruity palate. 88 Pts
2020 Bouscaut – Tobacco leaf, plums, currants and cherries with a touch of licorice and smoke on the nose work well together in this medium-bodied, soft, silky charmer. Fresh, forward, fun and fruity, this elegant beauty will be easy to like on release and will improve from there for at least 15 years. 90-92 Pts
2020 Bouscaut Blanc – Sweet, yellow citrus, flowers, green apples, a touch of honeysuckle with spice is found on the nose and in the creamy, sweet, citrus-filled palate. You can enjoy this on release. 90 Pts
2020 Cantelys – Medium-bodied, forward, soft, round, refined and polished, with a nice dose of fresh, blackberry, spice and savory, tobacco-tinged fruits on the nose and palate. This is going to offer fabulous, early-drinking pleasure. Plus, it should age and evolve for at least 12 or more years after that. The wine blends 70% Cabernet Sauvignon with 30% Merlot. 90-92 Pts
2020 Cantelys Blanc – Grapefruit and flower aromas are front and center of this lush creamy, ripe, fresh charmer. There is a sweet touch of white peach along with juicy yellow citrus in the finish. The wine blends 50% Sauvignon Blanc with 50% Semillon. 91 Pts
2020 Carbonnieux – Deeply colored, this is already showing off its vanilla bean, flowers, tobacco, cherry and currant character on the nose. Supple, soft and silky, with refined fruits that feel stellar on your palate, give these 4 – 5 years in the cellar and it is going to be even better. This should age for at least 2 decades. 91-93 Pts
2020 Carbonnieux Blanc – Bright, fresh lemon, orange peel, flowers and honeysuckle come through on the nose. Creamy, sweet and fresh, with a tinge of honey along with crisp lemons on the back end, this will be easy to like on release. 91 Pts
2020 Carmes Haut Brion – Garnet in color, the wine opens with tobacco leaf, cigar box, thyme, herbs, flowers and red berries. Medium/full-bodied, vibrant, fresh and focused on its purity of fruit and elegance, this sublime wine is silky, sweet and sensuous. This finish is long and refined, with sweet, ripe cherries, dark cocoa, spice, herbs and cigar wrapper with a cool touch of salt and crushed rock in the endnotes. The wine was made using 55% whole bunch clusters during fermentation. From a blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 26% Merlot, 13.7% ABV. The wine is aging in 80% new French oak, which is already close to fully integrated. 96-98 Pts
2020 Le C des Carmes Haut Brion – Ruby in color, the wine is floral in nature with notes of smoke, cherries, tobacco, herbs, earth and red pit fruits. Soft, elegant, forward and approachable, the wine is medium-bodied, soft and refined, ending with sweet and spicy kirsch and thyme. Using 20% whole bunches in the vinification, the wine blends 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. 91-92 Pts
2020 Clos Marsalette – Soft, silky, fresh and lively, the wine is also on the savory side on the nose and palate. Lushly textured, medium-bodied, round, elegant and smoky, the wine finishes with tobacco leaf, and spicy red berries. The wine blends 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. If you can wait 3 years or so, this will really start showing well. Enjoy it for the next 12 years after that. 91-93 Pts
2020 Clos Marsalette Blanc – White peach, orange rind, pineapple, green apple and herbs open the aromatic profile. Creamy, fresh, sweet and fruity, with green apples, yellow citrus and mango in the finish to rounds things off. The wine blends 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon. 92 Pts
2020 Couhins Lurton – Cigar box, smoky red fruits and forest leaf create the perfume. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied, soft, refined and fresh with lift and silky tannins in the finish. 91-93 Pts
2020 Couhins-Lurton Blanc – Zesty yellow citrus, pink grapefruit, flowers and green apple notes crowd your nose as soon as it finds the glass. Crisp, sweet, fresh and vibrant, creamy, yellow citrus with hints of tangelo and a drop of honey on the back end. This should age and evolve well. 92 Pts
2020 Cruzeau – Medium-bodied, soft and easy to drink, with a core of ripe, dark red berries, polished tannins and a fruity, savory, herb and olive-tinged finish. Enjoy this on the young side. 86-88 Pts
2020 Cruzeau Blanc – Lemons, orange rind, honeysuckle and pears on the nose sets you up for the bright, sweet, creamy, yellow citrus-filled palate. Drink this over the next 3-5 years. 88 Pts
2020 Domaine de Chevalier – Dark in color, the wine pops with notes of Cuban cigars, smoke, black currants, flowers, blackberries, forest leaf and an intriguing hint of orange rind at the end of the nose. Full-bodied, plush, polished and well-defined, every layer offers nuance with silk and velvet texture. There is lift, energy, volume and depth on the palate, finishing with waves of dark red currants, creme de cassis, tobacco leaf, blackberry, savory herbs and a gentle wisp of spearmint on the back end. It is going to be quite a treat comparing 2018, 2019 and 2020 over the years. I am certain this will age and evolve for at least 3 decades or more from here. The wine blends 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 3 % Cabernet Franc 13.7% ABV. 96-98 Pts
2020 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc – Straw yellow in color, the wine shows off its Meyer lemons, spice, mango, pink grapefruit, lemon oil and flowers on the nose. On the palate the wine is silky, lush, creamy, juicy and fresh, finishing with sweet lemons and green apple nuances that easily display their purity, silky textures and racy acidity. The wine blends 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Semillon 13.7% ABV. 96 Pts
2020 Domaine de Chevalier L’Esprit de Chevalier Blanc – Green apples, honeysuckle, pomelo, lemon and flowers come through easily on the nose. The fruits are crisp and juicy. The finish is long, fresh and refreshing with its core of sweet, yellow citrus fruits and crushed stone in the endnote. 93 Pts
2020 Domaine de Chevalier L’Esprit de Chevalier Rouge – Smoke, tobacco leaf, herbs, spice and red currants are instantly recognizable on the nose. Medium-bodied, fresh and vibrant, with juicy, bright, red fruits, lift and elegance on the palate and in the finish. This is a nice baby Domaine de Chevalier. This is perfect for near-term drinking while waiting for the Grand Vin to develop. 91-93 Pts
2020 Domaine de la Solitude – Flowers, red fruits and a little bit of tobacco smoke provide the perfume. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, fresh, silky, soft, elegant and polished, with sweet red berries, spice and tobacco leaf in the smooth finish. You can enjoy this early or age it for a few years. 90-92 Pts
2020 Domaine de la Solitude Blanc – Green apples, honeysuckle, mango and Meyer lemons on the nose come through easily. Fresh, crisp and juicy on the palate, with a creamy, lush, bright, yellow citrus finish. 92 Pts
2020 de Fieuzal – Showing more body and intensity than found in previous vintages, the wine opens with smoked wood embers, black, red and blue fruit, coffee bean, wet earth, thyme and spice box aromas. On the palate, the wine is plush, soft and polished, with loads of smoky dark red fruits and a tint of espresso on the mid-palate and in the opulent finish. Give it 5 years in the cellar and it will be even better. 92-94 Pts
2020 Fieuzal Blanc – Green apple, waxy lemon, grapefruit, flowers, orange rind and spice create a fabulous perfume. Lifted, bright and fruity, with loads of sweet yellow citrus in the creamy textured, finish, with a gentle hint of honeyed lemon in the endnote. 92 Pts
2020 de-France – It has been on quite a roll lately and 2020 is no exception. The wine is dark in color and in its fruit. There are additional nuances of smoke, tobacco leaf, savory herbs and currants. Lush, round, silky and sweet, there is energy, length and complexity here. Plus, the wine sells for a song. 91-93 Pts
2020 de France Blanc – Pessac-Léognan Honeysuckle, lemon chiffon, orange rind, spice and green apple come through on the nose and on the sweet, juicy, fresh, creamy, zesty palate. 90 Pts
2020 Guiteronde – Dark in color, round, lush and polished in character, the wine is medium-bodied, fruity and early drinking, finishing with sweet cherries and currants in the juicy finish. This is a super Bordeaux value wine that sells for about $10. It is a steal at that price. 87-89 Pts
2020 Haut Bailly – Deeply colored, the wine explodes with fresh flowers, tobacco leaf, cigar box, currants, blackberry, Allspice, licorice, savory herbs and smoke aromas. On the palate, the wine is intense, balanced, silky and refined. The fruits express purity, harmony, length and complexity, finishing with layers of currants, blackberry, herbs, pepper and plums that hold your focus for at least 50 seconds. Give this at least 10-12 years of age. It will evolve and provide sensuous tasting for at least 25 or more years after that. The wine blends 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc, 14.3% ABV, pH 3.9. The harvest took place from September 9 to September 25. The Grand Vin was produced from 60% of the harvest. 2020 was the first vintage produced in their new cellars. 97-99 Pts
2020 Haut Bailly II – The wine opens with sweet plums, smoked spices, currants, tobacco leaf and cherries on the nose. Medium-bodied, finesse in style, with an elegant soft, fresh mid-palate and refined finish, the wine ends with energetic red plums and savory currants. The wine blends 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Sauvignon. 91-93 Pts
2020 Haut Bergey – Strong notes of espresso bean, spice, mint, herbs and dark red fruits come to the surface with little effort. On the palate, you find lush, round, sweet, glossy, polished ripe red fruits, soft texture and silky tannins in the round finish. 90-92 Pts
2020 Haut Bergey Blanc – A touch of almond, crisp lemon and waxy grapefruit scents create the perfume. On the palate, the wine is sweet, juicy, lush and fresh with a honeyed lemon and grassy character in the finish. 91 Pts
2020 Haut-Brion – Dark, ruby, garnet in color, the wine exudes cedar, cigar box, tobacco leaf, smoke, roasted cherries, herbs, spice box and forest floor scents. What is amazing here is the incredible level of density, because it is also light on its feet, perfectly balanced, poised and energetic. Texturally, this is surreal. Picture velvet and polished silk on your palate-coating each berry. The fruit offers intensity, purity and length, with a finish that exceeds 60 seconds. The seamless finish could put a smile on the most jaded taster. Do not be concerned with the alcohol levels as there is no heat. All of that is buried in the wealth of fruit. If you have the money, this is one of the great vintages of Haut Brion that promises to evolve for at least 4-5 decades with ease. The wine blends 42.8% Merlot, 39.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17.5% Cabernet Franc, 15% ABV. Harvesting took place September 7 – September 29. 98-100 Pts
2020 Haut Brion Blanc – Lush, creamy, floral, fresh and packed with flowers, spice, mango, rocks, stone, green apple, lemon peel and waxy aromas. On the palate, the wine is bright, crisp, creamy, concentrated, long and intense. The sweet, ripe, fruity, oily, fresh finish with its spiced yellow citrus, touches of mango and mineral essences carry through to the endnote. The wine blends 71% Sauvignon Blanc with 29% Semillon. Picking took place August 20 – August 27. 98 Pts
2020 Haut Brion Le Clarence de Haut-Brion – Forest leaf, cigar box, herbs, flowers, cherry pipe tobacco, forest scents and spice nuances start off the perfume. On the palate the wine is juicy, silky, fresh and vibrant with layers of fresh, sweet, polished red fruits that linger. Elegance is the keyword here. This is probably the finest vintage of Le Clarence de Haut Brion ever produced. It is a great example of a baby Haut Brion. Enjoy this for the next 10-15 years while waiting for the Grand Vin to develop. 94-96 Pts
2020 Haut Brion Le Clarte de Haut Brion Blanc – Long, fresh, juicy and intense, the wine shows off its flowers, crushed rock, greenery, lemon peel, mango and green apple with ease. Creamy, oily and fresh, the finish keeps on going. 94 Pts
2020 Haut Nouchet – Red fruits, spice and thyme create the core here. Medium-bodied, sweet, fresh and earthy, there is a nice smoky touch to the soft, ripe, red fruits and tobacco in the finish. This little-known estate is situated close to Smith Haut Lafitte. 89-91 Pts
2020 Haut Nouchet Blanc – Lighter styled, fresh, zesty, yellow citrus fruits and white peach are found on the nose and in the sweet and creamy-textured, vibrant finish. 90 Pts
2020 Haut-Bacalan – Cocoa dusted cherries and currants on the nose and on the soft, medium-bodied, elegant, palate create the wine. Fresh, supple and easy to drink, this will be just great to enjoy as soon as it hits the stores. 88-90 Pts
2020 Haut-Lagrange – Savory herbs, red fruits and tobacco come to the surface easily. Medium-bodied, soft and fresh, with silky tannins and a polished, fruit-filled, tobacco-tinged finish. This is a very solid effort from this little-known vineyard. 89-91 Pts
2020 Haut-Lagrange Blanc – Flowers, green apples, grapefruit and orange rind come together on the nose. The wine is fresh, bright, crisp and juicy with a racy, yellow citrus character in the finish. This should be delicious on release. 91 Pts
2020 La Garde – The nose, with its combination of smoke, tobacco and red fruits leads you to a medium-bodied, fresh, fruity, forward, soft wine with a tobacco-laden, core of chewy, red fruits and espresso from start to finish. Give this a few years in the cellar to develop more nuance and soften, and it should be an even better wine. 89-91 Pts
2020 La Garde Blanc – Lemon peel, grapefruit, green apples and tangy yellow citrus combine to create a bright, energetic blast of citrus and spice that is fresh and refreshing. 91 Pts
2020 La Louviere – Flowers, blackberry, currants and blueberry aromatics blend together perfectly in the perfume. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, elegant, soft and lively, with a polished touch to the tannins in the finish. This should age for at least 2 decades with little trouble. 91-93 Pts
2020 La Louviere Blanc – Barely ripe pears, green apples, grapefruit, waxy lemon and lime with ginger and honeysuckle create an intense perfume. On the palate the wine is fresh, juicy, energetic and sweet, with a crispness and purity to the array of citrus that stands out in the crowd, carrying through to the finish. 92 Pts
2020 La Mission Haut Brion Blanc – Green apples, pears, lemon, grapefruit peel, spice, flowers, crushed rocks and stone create the nose. The palate is full, rich, deep and creamy, with endless layers of fresh, ripe, yellow citrus, honeysuckle and minerality tinted fruits that are made even better by its slap of crisp, biting acidity. Made from a blend of 55% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Semillon, picking took place August 20 – August 27. 99 Pts
2020 La Mission La Chapelle de La Mission Haut Brion – Tobacco leaf and currants, savory herbs, cedar, and red plums open the perfume. On the palate, the wine is loaded with sweet, red fruits, soft, polished tannins, freshness and a tobacco-infused, refined, spicy currant character. Give this at least 5 years before popping a cork. Enjoy it while waiting for the Grand Vin to develop. 92-94 Pts
2020 La-Mission-Haut-Brion – Dark in color, the wine pops with its profile of Cuban cigars, black currants, camphor, spice, tar and smoke. Full-bodied, powerful, long and rich, the wine builds as it intensifies on your palate. There is length, intensity and layers of mineral-driven, dark red pit fruits with lift and persistency in the extended finish. The wine demands 12-15 years of aging and will evolve for at least 3-4 decades after that. The wine blends 48.6% Merlot, 43.2% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8.2% Cabernet Franc, 14.7% ABV. Harvesting took place September 7 – September 29. 97-99 Pts
2020 La-Tour-Martillac – Smoky black cherries, dark chocolate, espresso, flowers and wet earth easily capture your focus. The wine is all about its refined elegance. Medium-bodied with beautiful symmetry, this is pure silk in texture and sweet, vibrant fruits and freshness in the finish. This is clearly a top vintage for Latour Martillac. 92-94 Pts
2020 La-Tour-Martillac Blanc – Flowers, waxy lemon, honeysuckle, grapefruit and tangerine peel scents take no effort to find. The palate is fresh, sweet, juicy and vibrant, with creamy textures, minerality, purity and freshness in the citrus-dominated finish. 92 Pts
2020 Larrivet Haut Brion – The nose hits you with its dark red fruits, spice, smoke, tobacco, espresso and fireplace aromatics. Refined, elegant and fresh, you enjoy a fabulous sweetness and purity to the fruits on the palate and in the elegant finish. Give these 5 – 7 years in the bottle, and this will really start to show its stuff. This should age quite nicely. 92-94 Pts
2020 Larrivet Haut Brion Blanc – Honeysuckle, white peach, yellow tropical fruit, waxy lemon and lawn grass aromas make for a catchy perfume. Sweet, creamy, juicy and fresh with loads of sweetness and lift in the finish, this will be beautiful to enjoy on release. 92 Pts
2020 Le Thil Comte Clary – Deep in color, the wine is lush, round, forward and fruity, with a dark plum, cigar wrapper and cocoa profile. The medium-bodied wine ends with a polished fruit-filled, chocolate-covered cherry finish. This is already deceptively easy to taste and should be quite nice to drink on release. 89-91 Pts
2020 Le-Pape – Fresh red berries and savory herbs create the aromatic profile. Elegant, medium-bodied, fresh, pure, clean, soft and unadorned, the wine leaves you with the essence of ripe cherries and refined texture on the palate and in the finish. The wine was produced from a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. 90-92 Pts
2020 Lespault-Martillac – Tobacco leaf, smoke, black currants and plums open the nose. On the palate, the wine is polished, round and soft, with round tannins and layers of sweet, juicy, savory, dark red fruits in the medium-bodied, fresh finish. 91-93 Pts
2020 Lespault-Martillac Blanc – Rich, creamy, fresh and juicy, with layers of ripe pears, green apples, yellow citrus, and a touch of honey in the green apple and lemon oil finish. 92 Pts
2020 Malartic Lagraviere – Dark garnet in color, the wine grabs your attention with its display of flowers, currants, espresso, smoke, licorice and incense. Full-bodied, rich and concentrated, the wine is lush and polished, with waves of opulent dark fruits that keep on coming. Fresh and expansive, creamy and deep, this is going to rival many of the best vintages produced here. Give this at least 5-7 years in the cellar and enjoy it for the following 2 decades after that. 96-94 Pts
2020 Le Comte de Malartic – Medium-bodied, forward, smoky and already delivering ripe blackberry, cherry and tobacco nuances, the wine is round, forward, soft and easy to like, with its earthy, sweet plum, cigar wrapper and dark espresso bean filled mid-palate and finish. This will be just great to enjoy on release. Le Comte de Malartic is the new name for the second wine of Malartic Lagraviere. 90-92 Pts
2020 Malartic Lagraviere Blanc – Mango, white peach, lemon, flowers, an array of spices and a gentle touch of almond make a beautiful perfume. Lush, creamy and loaded with sweet, fresh, bright, yellow citrus, green apples, grapefruit and a drizzle of pineapple are found on the palate. This is so good now, it is going to be hard not to open it on release. But patience is a virtue. So, give it at least 5 years in the cellar, and it will be a much more complete, complex wine. 94 Pts
2020 Le Comte de Malartic Blanc – Green apples, flowers, melon, lemon and lime create the perfume. Fresh, juicy and with a green apple, pear, citrus and herbal finish, this will be ready to go on release. Le Comte de Malartic Blanc is the new name for the second wine of Malartic Lagraviere. 90 Pts
2020 ChateauOlivier – With a deep color that is impossible to miss, the wine offers its sweet vanilla, tobacco leaf, savory herbs, cigar box and red fruit aromas with ease. Elegant and refined, medium-bodied, silky and fresh, this is going to be one of the top vintages Chateau Olivier has ever produced. There is good purity to the fruits, length and lift in the finish, making this a pleasure to taste. 91-92 Pts
2020 ChateauOlivier Blanc – Crushed rock, waxy lemon, grapefruit, flowers, green apple and lemon oil shoot from the glass. Bright, fresh, creamy and juicy with Meyer lemon, tangerine and a drop of honey on the palate, this is already showing just great. 93 Pts
2020 Pape Clement – Close to opaque in color, the wine explodes from the glass with smoke, cigar box, espresso bean, black cherry liqueur, chocolate ganache, bay leaf and black currants. Rich, lush, concentrated and deep, the wine is fleshy, powerful, intense and polished. Incredibly long, balanced and complex, the finish keeps on going long after the wine has left the glass. The range of dark red berries sits with you growing in intensity on your palate. This is the finest vintage of Pape Clement in years. 95-97 Pts
2020 Pape Clement Blanc – Honeysuckle, orange rind, spice, pomelo, green apple and a shot of mango create the nose. On the palate the wine is full, rich, creamy, oily and fresh, with layers of ripe, sweet, spicy, yellow citrus and tart green apples in the finish. 96 Pts
2020 Pape Clement Clementin Pape Clement Blanc – Fresh, bracing, bright and juicy, with a crispness and racy character to all the yellow citrus and spice. Sweet, fresh, energetic and lifted, the zesty, tart green apple and lemon hit the spot in the endnotes. It is hard to believe this is only a second wine. 91 Pts
2020 Pape Clement Clementin de Pape Clément – Tobacco, smoke, wet earth, coffee bean and red fruits show on the nose and palate. The wine is medium-bodied, polished, fresh and forward. You can drink this on release while waiting for the Grand Vin to develop. 90-92 Pts
2020 Picque Caillou – With a nice depth of color, the wine pops with tobacco leaf, smoke, black raspberry, currants and espresso on the nose. From there, the wine is silky, lifted, refined and fresh. The fruit offers sweetness with touches of bitter chocolate and savory herbs in the chewy finish. 90-92 Pts
2020 Picque Caillou Blanc – Honeysuckle, lemon curd and crunchy green apples come through easily on the nose, while sweet, lemon rind with hints of orange shows nicely on the juicy, creamy, fresh palate. Drink this on the young side. 88 Pts
2020 Rochemorin – Allspice, tobacco, flowers and red berry nuances are on the nose and palate. The wine is medium-bodied, soft and fresh, finishing with refined, elegant, red fruits. You can enjoy this on release. 89-91 Pts
2020 Rochemorin Blanc – White peach, lemon rind, green apple and floral notes come through easily in the nose and on the palate. The finish is fresh, creamy and fruity, with a lemon chiffon finish that carries through to the endnote. 90 Pts
2020 Seguin – Smoke, cocoa, currants and a touch of chocolate mint on the nose opens this soft, easy-drinking, fresh, earthy wine. The palate is quite savory with a touch of herbs in the finish. Give this a few years of bottle age before pulling a cork. 89-91 Pts
2020 Smith-Haut-Lafitte – Incredibly dark in color, the aromatics spring from the glass with smoke, tobacco leaf, blackberry, cassis, licorice, flowers, cocoa and cigar box notes. The wine is full-bodied, rich, lush, opulent and intense. All that power is harnessed by freshness, intensity and lift. There is a beautiful sense of purity and vibrancy not found in previous vintages. With the texture of silk and cashmere, with layers of perfectly ripe, seductive, black and dark red fruits accompanied by Valrhona chocolate, the seamless finish stays with you, expanding for close to 60 seconds! This is clearly the best wine Smith Haut Lafitte ever produced! The reason is simple. Previous vintages at times felt like they were made in the cellar. Here you taste a wine that was produced in the vineyard. Blending 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, 14.5% ABV, pH of 3.65. The harvest took place September 12 through September 30, yields were only 32 hectoliters per hectare. 97-99 Pts
2020 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc – With the pop of grapefruit, white peach, lemon peel, flowers, orange rind and honeysuckle in the nose, and a creamy, sweet, fresh, juicy, slightly honeyed, lush, white peach and citrus finish, you have all the ingredients needed for a luscious, white Bordeaux wine. The wine was produced from a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Semillon. 97 Pts
2020 Smith Haut Lafitte Le Petit Haut Lafitte – Deep in color, the complex nose shows off its floral, spice, smoke, tobacco, olive, herb and currant profile with ease. On the palate, the wine is fresh, sweet, lifted and juicy, with a beautiful sweetness to the fruits, silky tannins and a soft, round, polished endnote. The wine is made from a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. 91-93 Pts
2020 Smith Haut Lafitte Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc – Honeysuckle, spring flowers, waxy lemons and tangerine rind on the nose hit it just right. Creamy, sweet, and fresh, with a core of bright juicy, yellow citrus in the endnote finishes everything off nicely. The wine blends 80% Sauvignon Blanc with 20% Semillon. 92 Pts
2020 Smith Haut Lafitte Les Hauts de Smith – Blending 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon produced a round, soft, forward, supple-textured, medium-bodied, accessible wine with loads of chocolate-tinged fruit on the mouth and in the mildly-spicy, sweet, fresh finish. 90-92 Pts
2020 Smith Haut Lafitte Les Hauts de Smith Blanc – Crisp pomelo, Meyer lemons, flowers, beeswax, white peach and almonds create the bouquet. Bright, juicy, fresh and creamy, the wine is vibrant, long and complete, with an array of yellow citrus and pineapple in the finish. The wine is produced with 100% Sauvignon Blanc. 93 Pts
Tomorrow we will publish our notes and scores for the best 2020 Graves red and white wines before moving on to 2020 Haut Medoc, 2020 Listrac and 2020 Moulis.