Bordeaux 2020 Cru Bourgeois at Two Years

In this, the last of three tasting reports featuring the Cru Bourgeois wines of Bordeaux, I turn to 2020, which at the time of writing is the most recently bottled vintage. Indeed, only a few weeks have passed since I published my extensive report on the 2020 Bordeaux vintage retasted at two years of age, after bottling. The notes presented here complement those earlier notes.

Reflecting on the rebirth of the Cru Bourgeois classification, so far it seems to be a success. Starting with an amorphous group of châteaux, many small and family-owned (as many of the cru classé châteaux once were), the process has given the category form and order. This is informative for consumers; the classification of some châteaux as Cru Bourgeois Supérieur and Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel provides a clear pointer to the most highly regarded properties and, in all likelihood, the best wines. It is also useful for proprietors, who now have a published framework within which they can achieve reward for efforts made.

Bordeaux 2020 Cru Bourgeois at Two Years

The evidence is clear to see. It has thrust properties which were already working well but struggling to achieve any acknowledgement of this into the limelight. Five years ago I suspect many consumers would not have given the wines of Château Lestage, Château de Malleret or Château du Taillan a second glance. But with all three now ranked as Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel, I for one am eager to become better acquainted with their wines.

Credit must go to the many hundreds of proprietors who engaged with the process, which rolled out much more smoothly than the recent reiteration of the St Emilion classification (which saw two big-name châteaux refuse to participate, another follow them out the door, and a fourth withdraw after learning the property was to be demoted). I hope the review process, which will generate the publication of a new classification in 2025 (not far off now), repeats this success.

Credit should also go to the six-person jury who drew up the classification, led by president Gilles de Revel, Professor of Oenology at the University of Bordeaux and Deputy Director of the Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin, and vice-president Bill Blatch, renowned (and otherwise retired) Bordeaux négociant and Sauternes guru.

With these acknowledgements done, let’s take a look at the 2020 vintage, with a (very brief) summary of the weather that shaped the wines, before we get to the tasting notes.

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