2020 St. Emilion can be seen like its neighboring appellation, Pomerol, as a more current, updated version of what took place in 1998. Of course, that is not to imply the wines are stylistically the same, though in some cases they are, it is to say you find can find a parallel between the vintages.
If you think about 1998, the vintage was more successful in the Right Bank. Yes, there are very good Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines in 2020. But it is not a stretch to say that the stars of the vintage come from 2020 Pomerol and 2020 Saint Emilion. While the Merlot performed perfectly, that had a lot to do with the terroir and the water retentive soils.
With 2020 St. Emilion, the vineyards lucky enough to be planted in deep clay and limestone were able to retain ample moisture to nourish the vines when they needed it the most. This provided the environment and climatic conditions allowing vignerons the ability to produce some incredible wine.
Chateau Belair-Monange – Edouard Moueix “2020 Saint Emilion is a wonderful vintage that manages to combine perfect ripeness along with freshness and even more importantly, the vintage is able to balance tradition and modernity.”
Of course, all of this took place due to the weather, which did not start off well. The spring brought an arduous time for growers due to its warmth and humidity, which for some vignerons developed conditions that brought about attacks of mildew. Depending on the appellation and terroir, at the end of March, growers were forced to brace for two nights of brutal, cold, frost conditions. Things changed from there with a drought-stricken summer that experienced absolutely no rain from June 20 to August 17.
Jean-Christophe Meyrou Chateau Tour Saint Christophe recalls how the drought affected their vineyards. “2020 showed us that the typicity of terroir does impact a lot the character and quality of our wine. It is important that we continue taking climate change into consideration. It looks like hot and very dry summers seem to become our new normality. Fortunately, a large part of our terroir is composed of limestone and blue clay. That kind of terroir suffers less than very drained areas.”
Along with the complete lack of water, the summer was also hot, sunny, and very dry. July was marked by a continuing drought that lasted all the way through to August. Here is where the differences in terroir came into place. The water retentive clay soils and gravel terroirs were able to nourish the vines, allowing the grapes to reach a beautiful state of maturity.
Stephan Von Neipperg of Canon La Gaffeliere remembers the 2020 Saint Emilion growing season, “At the beginning of the year the weather conditions were difficult with a lot of rain! The middle of June brought conditions corresponding to a good, dry, quite hot summer. Some terroirs suffered from the drought. But the good farming people with the better terroirs were able to make outstanding concerted wines with great freshness and harmony!
It is important to keep in mind that the success of the vintage might not have happened without the rain that fell from August 9 to August 14, coming just after veraison, which unblocked the vines.
Jean-Luc Thunevin of Valandraud agreed that those late summer rains really made the vintage. “The much needed August rains and drought conditions helped produce small Merlot berries with thick skins, and good sugar levels along with seeds and skins that were ripe allowing producers to make exceptional wine.”
With 2020, it was not just the weather that shaped the vintage. 2020 Saint Emilion will also be remembered as a vintage shaped by dealing with Covid 19.
Helene Garcin Leveque Chateau Barde Haut recalls those extraordinary circumstances. “The covid crisis made me realize how lucky I am to leave in such an extraordinary environment. I believe I am blessed to own fantastic terroirs such as Poesia, Barde-Haut, and Clos LEglise. The 2020 vintage allowed us to produce wines with incredible concentration, and velvety textures that I love.2020 St. Emilion is a vintage I will not forget, along with its difficulties due to the covid situation.
The 2020 Saint Emilion harvest began with the young Merlot vines in the first half of September in some vineyards, which is quite precocious for the appellation. In fact, helping create ideal conditions for a great Right Bank vintage was that harvesting Merlot was taking place at a rapid pace under picture-perfect conditions with warm, dry, sunny, days and cool nights. The freshness that comes with the cool night allowed for what will eventually be seen as a modern version of classic wine. The Cabernet Franc was also harvested in sublime conditions by the end of September.
These conditions allowed some chateaux to produce the best wines in the history of their estate!
Julien Barthe Chateau Beau-Sejour Becot “What is unique this year in 2020 for us is the quality of our tannins. I can safely say that since we took over the vineyard in the ’60s, this is the first time that we have had such a high level of quality of tannins that allowed us to create distinguished, velvet-textured, silky wines with purity and finesse.”
2020 Saint Emilion wines vary in style quite a bit. But at their best, the top wines display a depth of color. The wines are intensely aromatic with strong floral characteristics. The wines are rich, full-bodied, deep, concentrated, and opulent. They are silky, flamboyant, and attention-seeking. All of that is not due solely to what happened in the vineyards. Some of that was made possible by the harvest date and of course, choices made in the cellars.
As you know, most of Saint Emilion is planted to Merlot and Cabernet Franc. While Merlot is the dominant variety in the appellation, for the vineyard with Cabernet Franc, especially old vine Cabernet Franc, 2020 St. Emilion proved to be a stunning vintage.
Stephanie de Bouard Chateau Angelus discussed the quality of both grape varieties. “While the finest Merlot was first judged to have a slight advantage over the rest; as always, after a few weeks of barrel aging, we were amazed by the Cabernet Franc, which displayed a density and flesh on a par with any of the greatest vintages we have had at the estate.”
As you can imagine, it was not only when to pick that mattered, with 2020 Bordeaux, it was of equal importance as to how the wines were handled in the cellars during the alcoholic and malolactic fermentations that mattered.
Frederic Faye Chateau Figeac says a light touch was needed during the vinification process. “In the winery, we had to be gentle during the extractions. The ripeness was so good with such concentrated bunches that we did more of an infusion than extraction. We didn’t do any delestage or pigeages. We preferred slow pumping overs along with cooler temperatures for the fermentation.”
The following 2020 Saint Emilion wines were all tasted in my home office in non-blind conditions.
2020 Adaugusta – Flowers, licorice, herbs and red berries create the core of this wine. Forward, soft and already approachable, this easy-to-drink, medium-bodied charmer should be fun to taste on release and over its first decade of life. 87-89 Pts
2020 Angelus – Dark in color, the wine explodes with blackberry liqueur, plums, smoke, licorice, Asian spice, cherry blossoms, violets and truffles. The wine is full-bodied, rich, dense and intense, with layers of opulent, cashmere textured fruits. As good as that is, it’s the mid-palate and finish, with its non-stop waves of silky, sensuous fruits that build, expand and intensifies, leaving you with a beautiful purity of fruit-infused spicy chocolate. The endnotes linger for close to 60 seconds. Give this a decade or so of age and it should be a mind-blowing tasting experience. The wine blends 60% Merlot with 40% Cabernet Franc,14.5% ABV, 3.65 pH. The wine is aging in 100% new, French oak, however, 40% of the Cabernet Franc is aged in foudres, allowing the oak to almost finish integrating into the wine on release. Harvesting took place during September 12 – 30. 98-100 Pts
2020 Angelus Carillon d’ Angélus – The nose, with its smoke, savory herbs, flowers, black plums, licorice and espresso gets you into the mood. But it is the palate, with its rich, pure, ripe fruits, espresso, spice-box and silky, sweet, fresh plums that steal the show. Long, plush and polished, with layers of chocolate-covered cherries that go on and on, clearly, this is a new level of quality for Carillon d’ Angélus. Enjoy this while waiting for Chateau Angelus to mature. The wine blends 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. 94-96 Pts
2020 Angelus No 3 – Earthy, licorice, forest floor, cherries and leafy nuances work together on the nose and on the medium-bodied, soft, elegant palate. With its polished, savory, olive, cherry and plum-filled finish, this is already perfect to drink today. This is great to order in a bistro or café as it needs no decanting. 90-92 Pts
2020 Badette – Dark in color, the wine shows off its espresso, licorice, chocolate-covered black cherry and smoky perfume without hesitation. On the palate the wine is lush, rich, deep and polished, finishing with layers of velvety plums. The juicy, sweet, cherry liqueur finish really sticks with you. 92-94 Pts
2020 Balestard La Tonnelle – With a strong touch of oak right out of the gate, the deeply colored wine also brings you incense, spice box, licorice and black with blue fruit. Forward, lush and round, the finish is all luscious red berries and espresso notes. 90-92 Pts
2020 Barde Haut – With a striking combination of black, red and blue fruit, there is a sense of ripeness and purity here, along with a sensuous, velvety texture that feels just great. There is length, complexity, richness, balance and opulence with the ability to age for 20-25 years. The wine was made from 80% Merlot with 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% ABV. This is a serious contender for the best vintage of Barde Haut ever produced. 94-96 Pts
2020 Barrail Saint Andre – Medium-bodied, soft and savory, the fruit is round, with nice sweetness, and it should be at its best for drinking over the next 3-5 years. 85-87 Pts
2020 Beau Sejour Becot – With striking floral notes on the nose, you also find licorice, Asian spice, spearmint, cigar wrapper and an array of red and black plums. The wine is lifted, elegant, refined and focused on its purity and silky tannins. The energetic palate leaves you with layers of velvet-textured, sensuous, spicy fruits that linger and expands for over 50 seconds in the finish. This is a new level of quality at Beau-Sejour Becot and a change in style with less volume, but more intensity, purity and precision. The wine blends 85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.3% ABV. 96-98 Pts
2020 Beausejour Duffau Lagarrosse – Inky in color with purple accents, the wine pops from the glass with notes of crushed rocks, flowers, licorice, espresso, plums, cherries, black raspberries and oceanic nuances. Fresh, full-bodied, concentrated and intense, the layers of plush, pure fruits are made even better by its salty tannins and seamless finish that doesn’t know when to quit. There is an incredible sense of purity in the fruits that comes through loud and clear in the more than 50-second finish. The wine is a blend of 81% Merlot with 19% Cabernet Franc. 97-99 Pts
2020 Belair Monange – Full-bodied, concentrated, rich and velvety, the wine promptly provides layer after layer of flawlessly ripe, black and dark red pit fruits, crushed rocks, licorice, espresso, smoke and flowers. Long, deep, rich, concentrated and focused, the wine finishes with a majestic combination of minerals, black plums, black cherries, dark cocoa, velvet-laced tannins and spice. The stony finish sticks with you for close to 60 seconds. Give this at least a decade before pulling a cork and enjoy it over the next 3 decades with little effort. 98-100 Pts
2020 Bellefont-Belcier – With a strong touch of minerality, the wine is elegant, fresh and refined with good intensity. The fruit is vibrant, lifted and precise. There is a refinement and purity in the sweet, red fruits. The finish is loaded with flowers, crushed rocks and stones providing you with length, complexity and freshness, coupled with the ability to age and evolve. The wine was made from blending 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and is aged in a combination of 30% foudres and 30% new, French oak. 94-96 Pts
2020 Bellevue St. Émilion Grand Cru – Flowers, black plums, cherries, licorice, wet earth and cigar box aromas create the beautiful nose. On the palate, the wine is medium/full-bodied, soft, silky, fresh, sweet and polished. There is a gorgeous sense of purity to the fruit, opulence on the palate and in the finish that really works here. The wine is produced from 100% old vine Merlot. 94-96 Pts
2020 Bellevue-Mondotte – Almost opaque in color, the wine is equally dark on the palate with its blackberry, black plum and chocolate profile. Full-bodied, rich, opulent and dense, the wine coats your palate, stains your teeth and doesn’t relinquish its hold on you for at least 60 seconds, leaving you with waves of velvet-drenched plums and black cherries. Hedonistic and intense, with a salty, mineral, chocolate-tinged, plummy finish, this is a unique style of wine that needs to be tasted. And it needs to be aged for at least 12-15 years due to its intensity. However, it is not easy to find, as only 350 cases, give or take, were produced. This is the first vintage made from 100% old vine Merlot. 14.81% ABV. 97-99 Pts
2020 Berliquet – Quite floral in nature, with tinges of orange rind, cherry blossoms, licorice, red plum liqueur and minerality on the nose. The wine is elegant, fresh, polished, sweet and long. Silky and precise, with no hard edges, there is length and salty tannins with energetic, pure red fruits squeezed over crushed rocks and stones. This is the best vintage of Berliquet I have ever tasted. The wine blends 69 % Merlot with 31 % Cabernet Franc 14.5% ABV. 94-96 Pts
2020 Bernateau – Medium-bodied, soft, fresh, bright, crisp and fruity, with a focus on its lift and vibrancy in all the ripe, cherries and savory, red plum fruits. 87-89 Pts
2020 Bernateau La Belle Cote – Produced from 100% Merlot, the wine is soft, round, forward, sweet and fruity, with an easy-going personality. You can drink this on release. 86-88 Pts
2020 Bernateau Terrasses du Paradis – Medium-bodied, bright, earthy and fresh, with a strong floral and savory lean to the strawberries and cherries in its core. This is one of the few Bordeaux wines produced from 100% Cabernet Franc. 84-86 Pts
2020 Boutisse – Licorice, black plums, oak, roasted cherries and bitter chocolate stand out on the nose. Forward, lush, round and polished, the sweetness, freshness, soft texture and ripe fruits on the palate and finish are all working together perfectly this year. 91-93 Pts
2020 Cadet Bon – Smoky, with licorice, herbs, cocoa and chocolate-covered cherries, the wine is ripe, sweet, lush, fresh and richly textured on the palate. The opulent, medium-bodied, fruit-packed finish delivers ripe berries, licorice, spice and polished fruits that linger. 90-92 Pts
2020 Calicem – Produced from 100% old vine Merlot planted in 1961, the wine is opaque in color. The nose, with its showy bouquet of black plums, figs, Morello cherries, flowers and licorice gets you going. On the palate, the wine has density, richness and intense concentration. The fruit is ripe, sensuous, full and deep. The long finish expands on your palate with all its dark roasted espresso, bitter cocoa, blackberries, plums, blueberry, spice and cherry notes. Even with all this density, there is lift and freshness. There is a lot going on here. Give it at 5 years or maybe a few more before pulling a cork. 96-94 Pts
2020 Candale – Mineral-driven, dark red fruits, savory herbs and a touch of oak are the first things you notice. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied, with silky tannins, freshness and salinity in the endnote. This should be delicious to drink shortly after release. 90-92 Pts
2020 Canon – Aromatically, this is off the hook with flowers, black, red and blue fruits, licorice, black raspberry, forest leaf, wild cherries and crushed rocks. With polished silk and velvet texture, the wine balances weight, depth, energy and concentration. The layers of perfectly ripe, sweet, fresh, red and black fruits keep on coming. On the palate the wine is both concentrated and weightless, making this is far too easy to drink. The seamless finish delivers length and purity that goes on for more than 60 seconds. This is as good as the famous 2015, and by the time it is in bottle, it could be even better. The wine blends 68% Merlot with 32% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% ABV pH 3.53 98-100 Pts
2020 Canon la Gaffeliere – The strong floral character is what you initially notice. From there you find mint, herbs, spice, smoke, tobacco and red berries on the nose. The wine shows a beautiful vibrancy with silky, elegant, flamboyant texture on the palate with a touch of chalk in the endnote. The wine lingers on the palate with all its ripe, sweet, plums and cherries in the finish. Blending 55% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, if you can wait at least 5-7 years before pulling a cork, this is going to offer superb drinking for 20-25 years after that. 95-97 Pts
2020 Cantin – Medium-bodied, soft, forward, fresh and polished, with a core of espresso tinged, red fruits, spice, flowers and cherries, you can enjoy this on release. 88-90 Pts
2020 Cap de Mourlin – Dark cocoa, espresso, tobacco leaf, coconut, sandalwood and plums are found at the core of the wine on the nose and palate. Medium-bodied, fresh, silky, refined and energetic, the finish sings with its sweet, deep red fruit character from start to finish. 92-94 Pts
2020 Capet-Guillier – Licorice, flowers, herbs and sweet cherries fill the perfume. The wine is soft, medium-bodied, fresh, forward, round and ready to deliver all of its juicy, sweet, red fruits in the finish. Drink this over the next decade. 90-92 Pts
2020 Cardinal-Villemaurine – Medium-bodied, forward, fresh, early-drinking, soft-textured, charmer focused on its straightforward core of red fruits. You can enjoy this on release. 86-88 Pts
2020 Carteau – Medium-bodied, plummy, earthy, round and fresh, with a savory leaning, the savory finish delivers plums, herbs, olive and crushed rocks. 88-90 Pts
2020 Carteau CotesDaugay – Dark in color, the wine shows its black and blue fruit, flowers, licorice, smoke and jammy character easily. The wine is round, supple and loaded with ripe fruits accompanied by spice, savory herbs and a strong hit of espresso in the endnote. 89-91 Pts
2020 Chante Alouette – Medium-bodied, chocolate-tinged, oaky, lush, round, plummy, smoky wine that needs time for the oak to integrate. 90-91 Pts
2020 Chauvin – Earthy, smoky and loaded with ripe red berries, the wine is soft, elegant, fresh and vibrant. The refined finish delivers sweetness, lift and gracefully-textured red fruits on the backend. 90-92 Pts
2020 Chauvin Folie de Chauvin – Medium-bodied, fresh, light, red berry dominated wine with a touch of herbs and green olives on the nose and finish that is perfect for early drinking pleasure. 85-87 Pts
2020 Cheval Noir Le Fer – In a slightly oversized bottle, the wine shows a nice dark color. On the nose, you find licorice, cherry liqueur and plums. Medium-bodied, with silky tannins, luscious textures and an opulent, fruity finish, the endnote adds touches of cocoa, spice and herbs. 89-91 Pts
2020 Clavis Orea – Chocolate-coated blackberries, licorice, smoke, plums, blue fruit and espresso bean create the perfume. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, lush, round, concentrated and polished, finishing with silky-textured, fleshy, black cherries, cocoa, coffee bean and sweet, juicy plums. The wine is produced from 100% Merlot. 91-93 Pts
2020 Clos Badon Thunevin – A nice shot of licorice-laced espresso and ripe, deep plums is the first thing you notice before enjoying all the ripe, mineral-driven, sweet, supple-textured, polished dark red fruits on the palate and in the vibrant finish. 91-93 Pts
2020 Clos Des Menuts L’Excellence – Medium-bodied, round and soft, this easy-to-drink charmer offers ample red pit fruits, licorice and cocoa on the palate and in the juicy finish. The wine is produced from a parcel selection from the estate’s old vine Merlot. Give this just a year or two of age and enjoy it over the next 12 years or so. 89-91 Pts
2020 Clos Dubreuil – Opaque in color, the wine showcases its inky black fruits, licorice, espresso, flowers and smoke with ease. Full-bodied, opulent, velvety and fresh, there is a depth of flavor and concentration that leaves you a silky, supple, richly textured finish. Give it 3-5 years in the cellar and enjoy it with ease for up to 2 decades after that. 94-96 Pts
2020 Clos Fourtet – Dark garnet in color, the wine gets your attention quickly with its licorice, smoke, dark cocoa, chalk and plummy aromas. Pure silk and velvet on the palate, with a fabulous sense of purity in the fruits, lift, length, richness, concentration and minerality. This is clearly a top vintage for Clos Fourtet that will age for decades. The wine was made from blending 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% ABV. 96-98 Pts
2020 Clos Junet – Violets, toasty oak, spice and ripe dark plums come to the surface in the nose. Medium-bodied, supple and juicy with a tinge of salty tannins and soft fruits in the fresh, red berry finish. This is quite nice. You can enjoy this on release, or age it for more complexity. 91-93 Pts
2020 Clos Ladiere – Medium-bodied, with ripe, spicy, fresh, soft and sweet, dark fruits. This early drinking charmer is loaded with licorice, sweet berries, earth and espresso. Give it just a year or two and it will really start to sing. 88-90 Pts
2020 Clos Les Grandes Versannes – Medium-bodied, bright and juicy, with a savory, chewy mid-palate and fresh, sweet and tart red berry finish. 88-90 Pts
2020 Clos Romanile – Deeply colored, the wine is spicy, earthy, fresh and with a touch of oak to surrounding all of its ripe, plush plums and cherries. Vibrant, silky, medium-bodied and fresh, this is already showing well. 90-92 Pts
2020 Clos Saint Julien – Dark in color, this mineral-driven, ripe, richly-textured wine is loaded with spicy, fresh, red pit fruits, silky tannins, savory herbs, and oceanic influences. Medium/full-bodied, long, intense and salty, the finish continues building and expanding with a leafy, peppery, black currant note. The wine needs at least 7 years in the cellar before it starts showing its true potential. 93-95 Pts
2020 Clos Saint Vincent – Ripe plums, cherries, wet earth and floral aromatics play well with the fresh, soft, round textured fruits on the palate. 90-92 Pts
2020 Clos St. Martin – Opulent, silky and rich, this is pure bottled hedonism. Flamboyant, showy plums, cherries, smoke, licorice, spice, oak and earthy nuances seek your attention. Rich and lush on the palate, the wine finishes with layers of perfectly ripe, sensuous fruits. Give it 7 years or so for the oak to fully integrate and enjoy it over the following 2 decades. 96-98 Pts
2020 Clos de La Molenie – Soft, forward, fruity and fresh, the wine is medium-bodied, easy to like and even easier to drink due to its open, charming, sweet ripe berries. 89-91 Pts
2020 Clos de Sarpe – With a strong mineral essence, flowers, licorice, crushed rocks, red fruits and cocoa, the wine is concentrated, fresh, bright, focused, stony, polished and long. The salty energy in the finish from all its stony minerality really stands out here. 92-94 Pts
2020 Clos de la Cure – Medium-bodied, fresh, fruity, floral, soft and sweet, the wine is all about its ripe, juicy, polished fruits, freshness and hints of spice, espresso and plums in the finish. 89-91 Pts
2020 Clos des Jacobins – Showing a good depth of color, the fruit is ripe, dark, sweet and polished. Medium-bodied, with soft textures and a cool touch of minerality in the licorice, spice and espresso-toned finish, this is good now, and it is going to be even better with 3-5 years of bottle age. 90-92 Pts
2020 Clos des Prince – Flowers, licorice, spice and crushed stone create the perfect backdrop for all the layers of sweet, ripe, fresh, earthy fruits. The finish, with its elegant texture is already really great to taste. 90-92 Pts
2020 Clos-de-lOratoire – Medium-bodied, floral, soft, elegant, silky and almost ready to go, here you find polished, plums and cherries with a gentle touch of chocolate on the palate and in the fruit-filled finish. The wine was made from blending 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. 91-93 Pts
2020 Corbin – Elegant, fresh and refined, the wine is medium-bodied and focuses on the purity in all of its sweet, ripe red fruits. On the nose, you find a strong, attention-seeking floral note, finishing with silky red fruits, earth, spice, herbs and crushed rocks. The wine blends 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Chateau Corbin continues its run of superb vintages. 92-94 Pts
2020 Corbin-Michotte – Dark in color, the wine is medium-bodied, earthy, fruity, round and showing a bit too much oak at the moment. The finish is juicy, savory and a bit strict in the endnote. 86-88 Pts
2020 Cote de Baleau – Black cherries, earth, thyme, spice and stone notes open the nose. The wine is medium-bodied, elegant, forward and fresh, with a nice fruity, soft-textured palate and finish. This has a little more volume than usual, so I am sure fans of Cote de Baleau are going to love it. One of the best values from Saint-Emilion, give this just a few years in the cellar and it should offer delicious drinking for at least 10 year after that. 92-90 Pts
2020 Coudert – Rich, lush, concentrated and full-bodied, the wine is packed and stacked with layers of ripe, dark, sweet, concentrated, black and red fruits, licorice, chocolate, hot spice and savory herbs. Intense and fleshy on the palate, the fruit really sticks with you in the long, powerful finish. 91-93 Pts
2020 Couspaude – Deep and dark in color, the wine exudes licorice, espresso, smoke, tobacco wrapper, chocolate and very ripe black cherries. Round, lush, sweet, and forward, with layers of Morello cherries, plum liqueur and chocolate, this is going to offer pleasure almost on release. 90-92 Pts
2020 Couvent des Jacobins – Deep garnet in hue, the wine is spicy, floral and on the ripe, dark red fruit side. You also find additional notes of licorice, wet earth and espresso in the perfume. Rich, supple, sweet and fresh with soft, ripe tannins and a luscious, black cherry and spice-filled mid-palate and finish, this is a nice step-up in quality, character and freshness here. This is easily the finest vintage of Couvent des Jacobins produced yet. 93-95 Pts
2020 Couvent le Menut des Jacobins – Forward, light expression of fresh, spicy red fruits with a touch of dark cocoa in the finish for early drinking consumption. You can enjoy this on release and over the near term. 86-88 Pts
2020 Croix Cardinale – 5 spice, cocoa-infused red berries, smoke and herbs open the wine. On the palate, you find soft layers of sweet plums and cherries. Medium-bodied, fresh and with an intriguing touch of spice, the wine ends with notes of bitter chocolate, espresso beans and red plums. 90-92 Pts
2020 Croix de Labrie – Inky dark purple, almost opaque in color, the wine explodes with a boatload of cassis, black plum liqueur, chocolate, smoke, licorice and espresso. Thick, dense and powerful, the wine paints your palate with chocolate-covered black and blue fruit, licorice and black forest cake. With its velvet texture and endless layers of sweet, ripe, supple-textured fruits, this is clearly another step-up in quality for Croix de Labrie. 95-97 Pts
2020 Dassault – Dark garnet in color, the wine pops with scents of smoke, espresso, licorice, cherry liqueur and flowers. Rich, full-bodied, deep and long, there is intensity, ripe, silky tannins and loads of energy giving you a long, generous, supple-textured, fruit, spice and chocolate-filled finish. This will be even better if you give it a few years to come together before pulling a cork. 92-94 Pts
2020 Daugay – Medium-bodied, fresh and fruity, with a floral, licorice and deep, red fruit core. On the palate the wine is ripe, flamboyant and silky, with a sweet, red berry, licorice and spicy finish. The endnote carries a lot of oak at the moment, so give it a few years to better integrate. 90-92 Pts
2020 Destieux – Wet earth, licorice, smoke, espresso and dark red berries create the core of the character here. On the palate, the wine is lush, rich, fleshy, sweet, round and opulent. Full-bodied, forward, hedonistic and packed with fruit and toasty oak, this will need some time to come together and integrate before it’s at its best. 91-93 Pts
2020 Edmus – Medium-bodied, soft, elegant, lighter-styled, fresh, refined wine with a core of dusty red fruits, toasted oak and licorice. You can drink this on the young side and over its first decade of life with pleasure. 88-90 Pts
2020 Edmus Phi – Made from 100% old vine Cabernet Franc from vines that are more than 40 years of age and vinified with no sulfites, this is going to be hard to find as only 25 cases were produced. All that being said, the medium-bodied, elegant, fresh wine kicks off with a strong bouquet of herbs, flowers, and ripe, red fruits. Elegant, energetic, and with a good sense of purity to the fruit, the wine leaves you with sweet, ripe, red cherries, raspberries, and a touch of licorice. This should drink well on release and have the ability to age and evolve into a more complex wine. 90-92 Pts
2020 Faugeres – Dark in color, the black cherry, flower, licorice, plum liqueur and espresso nose jumps out in front. On the palate, the wine is opulent, rich, full-bodied, deep and concentrated. The perfectly ripe fruit is dark, opulent and polished with velvety textures, length and volume on the mid-palate and finish. 93-95 Pts
2020 Faurie de Souchard – Spicy red berries with savory accents on the nose move you to a medium-bodied, bright, crisp, firm, sweet and tart wine. 89-91 Pts
2020 de Ferrand – The wine opens with licorice, flowers, espresso, wet earth, smoke and spicy plum aromas. Supple-textured, elegant, fresh, refined and lifted on the palate and in the mineral-driven, spicy finish, this is a big step up here in richness, depth and complexity. In fact, this is the finest vintage I have ever tasted from de Ferrand. 91-93 Pts
2020 Figeac – Roses, tobacco leaf, oak, black raspberries, spice, black currants and plum aromas are all over the place. Incredibly silky on the palate, the wine is fresh and focused on its purity and precision. Elegant, gentle and refined, the sweet, ripe cherries come in waves, building in length and intensity from the mid-palate through the finish, which lasts almost 50 seconds. The wine is effortless to drink. This should age and evolve for decades. The wine blends 37% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc and 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.9% ABV, 3.7 pH. Picking took place September 4 – October 1, making it one of the longest harvests in the history of the estate. 97-99 Pts
2020 Fleur Cardinale – Dark in color, the wine is all about its dark red fruits, licorice, smoke, wet earth and tobacco leaf characteristics. On the palate, the wine is rich, lush, ripe and voluptuous, with a finish that packs in layers of espresso, black fruits, licorice and dark chocolate. Full-bodied, concentrated and long, this is the best Fleur Cardinale I have tasted in a few years. 93-95 Pts
2020 Fonplegade – Crushed rocks, currants, cherries, flowers, licorice, smoke, cocoa and espresso cover all the bases in the perfume. Elegant and edgy, silky, soft and mineral-driven, the fruits show a beautiful purity, freshness and refinement on the palate, leaving you with salty tannins and sweet plums that continue to linger and expand in the finish. The wine is made from a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. 94-96 Pts
2020 Fonroque – Dark in color, with a fruit-packed nose, the wine is round, lush, supple, silky and fresh, finishing with ripe, sweet, plums, cocoa and a nice touch of minerality that lingers. 91-93 Pts
2020 Franc Bigaroux – Sweet, plummy, herbal, medium-bodied, soft and forward, this was vinified for early drinking, uncomplicated pleasure. Enjoy it over the next 4-5 years of life. 85-87 Pts
2020 Franc La Rose – Light/Medium-bodied, soft, fruity and forward for early drinking consumption. Drink this on release and over its few years of life. 84-86 Pts
2020 Franc Le Maine – Sweet, fruity, fresh, forward, medium-bodied and focused on its core of plums, licorice and dark cocoa. The wine is soft, ready to drink and should offer early drinking pleasure for at least a decade or longer. 89-91 Pts
2020 Franc-Lartigue – Medium-bodied, round, forward, fruity, oaky and savory, the wine finishes with chewy red and black plums with herbs in the endnote. 87-89 Pts
2020 Franc-Mayne – Flowers, spice, wet earth, cigar box, dark red fruits and spice come through on the nose with ease. On the medium-bodied palate, the wine is fresh, sweet, juicy, refined and elegant, finishing with soft, polished, silky red fruits. 91-93 Pts
2020 Franc-Pipeau – Medium-bodied, elegant, fresh and vibrant, the wine is soft, polished, long and juicy. There is a hint of cocoa and spice on the palate that adds just the right touch to all the sweet, lusciously textured plums and cherries. This is so delicious to taste now, you can enjoy this on release. 90-92 Pts
2020 Godeau – Deeply colored, the wine shows its dark cocoa, licorice, black plum and espresso core with little effort. Soft, round, elegant, silky, medium-bodied and fresh, this is going to be quite nice to enjoy over the next 12-15 years. 90-92 Pts
2020 Gourdins – Soft, fresh, medium-bodied and fresh, with red plums and a savory herb character, this crowd-pleasing styled wine will offer pleasure on release and over the next 5-7 years or so. 86-88 Pts
2020 Gracia – Dark in color, the wine is rich, lush, opulent and polished. The layers of flowers, silky-textured plums, cherries, licorice and blackberry provide length, purity, complexity and character. The finish is fresh, long and rich. I am really liking the style of this wine. 94-96 Pts
2020 Les Angelots de Gracia – Flowers, black and blue fruits, licorice, spice box, espresso and wild cherries are found in the nose. Medium-bodied, elegant, fresh, vibrant and silky, the wine finishes with a dose of espresso, infused red fruits and spice. 91-93 Pts
2020 Grand Destieu – Deep in color, with layers of ripe, round, chocolate-infused plums, cherries and licorice, the finish is ripe, sweet and polished. 89-91 Pts
2020 Grand Mayne – Holding a bit in reserve, with coaxing, you find flowers, licorice, menthol, tobacco, herbs and a myriad of plums on the nose and palate. Refined, classic, energetic, silky and fresh, the elegant finish blends salty, slightly dusty tannins, sweet, red fruits, spice and zip. 92-94 Pts
2020 Grand Pontet – Medium-bodied, with notes of wet earth, espresso, licorice, dark red berries and cocoa on the nose. Soft, round, lush and polished, the wine is forward, fruity and a bit oaky at the moment. Give it a few years to come together and it will be an even better wine. 89-91 Pts
2020 Grand-Barrail-Lamarzelle – With a roasted, dark, red plum character, the wine is medium-bodied, forward, accessible, soft and silky. The finish, with its hints of cocoa, licorice and dusty tannins is a perfect backdrop for all the ripe, sweet fruit. This is the best vintage of Grand-Barrail-Lamarzelle I have ever tasted. Things are on the upswing here. 90-92 Pts
2020 Grand-Corbin – Floral and fresh, the wine is medium-bodied and focused on its sweet cherries, plums and raspberry charms. Refined and silky, this is the best vintage of Grand-Corbin I have ever tasted. 91-93 Pts
2020 Grand-Corbin-Despagne – Very deep in color, the wine pops with its aromatic profile of flowers, wild cherries, blue fruit, licorice, smoke and cocoa. Lush, silky and polished, with velvety tannins and a finish that keeps ongoing due to all its layers of sweet, vibrant, red pit fruits and seductive texture. This is a nice step up in quality and concentration here. 92-94 Pts
2020 Grandes Murailles – Deep in color, the wine hits you up with its bouquet of flowers, licorice, crushed rocks, red and black plums, smoke, and blackberries. On the palate, the wine is silky, refined, supple and fresh. The finish leaves you with dark cocoa-dusted plums, thyme and creme de cassis. The wine is produced from 100% Merlot and is aged in 50% new French oak barrels. 92-94 Pts
2020 Grangey – Licorice, herbs, smoke, crushed rocks and dark red fruits take no effort to discover. Lush, polished, fresh and juicy with a core of sweet, plush plums on the palate and a touch of salt in the savory finish. 90-92 Pts
2020 Grangey Les 5 Parcelles – Dark in color, the wine shows red plums, currants, spice and licorice on the palate. Medium-bodied, soft, silky, fresh and lively, with hints of peppery red berries, herbs and cocoa in the endnote, the wine is sweet, refined, medium-bodied, energetic and polished. Give it a few years to fill out and it could score even higher. 91-93 Pts
2020 Guadet – Ripe black plums and licorice define the nose. On the palate. you find a soft, ripe, silky, fresh, sweet layer of ripe cherries, coffee and kirsch with dusty tannins. 88-90 Pts
Next up, look for 2020 Saint Emilion Part 2, H-M and 2020 St. Emilion Part 3, N-Z.