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2020 Bordeaux Futures
Variable but Limited Quantities of Some Very Fine Wines
June 7, 2021
Last year around this time, we began the 2019 en Primeur campaign. The Covid lockdowns were just starting in Europe and the United States. No one knew what was going to happen. 2019 first tranche pricing was 15-30% less in euros than 2018, yet the wine was more consistent than 2018 and was a tad higher in quality.
We begin offers of the 2020s. Although stylistically different from 2018 and 2019, many 2020s are at the same high-quality level. In 2020 Merlot was Bordeaux's shining star because some Cabernets showed excessive tannins due to drought and late harvest. Look for the wines of Pomerol, St. Emilion, and their satellites as the most consistent and of high quality.
Some Medoc wines are also outstanding. Winegrowers have better technology and capital than they did when I began in the primeurs trade 40+ years ago. Success in the Medoc depended on winegrower's options and skill at harvest, vinification, and lot selection in blending.
Pricing. Euro pricing for the smaller crus has maintained at or close to 2019 levels. Hopefully, the classified vineyards will follow suit. However, the euro has increased in value, leading to small dollar-price increases.
Some examples: 2019 Chateau Tour Saint Christophe was $30. The 2020 at $33 is well worth it, as quality is higher. 2019 La Fleur Bouard, the highly sought-after Lalande de Pomerol owned and vinified by Chateau Angelus, was $27 is still a great buy at $28 for 2020.
Availability will be an issue. Merlot's success favors St. Emilion, Pomerol, and their satellites. These Right Bank estates are generally smaller than those of the Left Bank Medoc, so there will be less of some highly sought-after wines at all price levels. We are getting limited allocations of many 2020s, e.g. Tour St. Christophe and Haut Brisson, that in previous vintages had unlimited availability. Limited supply of cases and strong demand means buy now if you want a particular chateau.
Supply will also be an issue in the Medoc due to the excess tannins to which Cabernet was prone. Many estates could only make balanced wine by excluding a portion of their Cabernet from the final blend, reducing their production. I hope they will follow the 2019 pricing but just not have as much to release. Therefore, I have concern that the amount of allocation we will get for the top wines of 2020 Left Bank will be down from 2019. I hope I am wrong.
To sum up, 2020 indeed produced some great wines at what appears to be reasonable pricing. The problem will be supply. I strongly recommend acting quickly when wines are released.
(Most of our 2018 futures will be arriving in the next few months. We will be notifying you as they come in)
We will be happy to get a quote on any chateau that might interest you, .
*** UPDATE JUNE 21, 2021 ***
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- Michael Hechler