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Bordeaux 2020 at Two Years: St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Bordeaux 2020 at Two Years: St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Of all my Bordeaux reports, there are few – if indeed any – that I enjoy writing as much as this one, in which I focus purely on the premier grand cru classé estates of St Emilion.

The reasons are perhaps obvious. It is in part the grandeur of the names, this 2020 in-bottle tasting report including my notes on the latest vintages from the likes of Château Cheval Blanc and Château Ausone. Although, surely more importantly, it is also the quality of the wines, which as a group is very high. Naturally there are (as always) some châteaux that have done better than others, nevertheless on the whole these are frequently an exciting bunch of wines to taste.

Sadly, making use of the St Emilion classification to carve up my reports in this manner has left me exposed to the vagaries and vacillations of the classification itself. This is surely one of the last times this report will include the aforementioned Château Cheval Blanc and Château Ausone; both opted out of the latest episode of this long-running classification saga, meaning that from the 2022 vintage onwards they will be able to claim no higher status than mere grand cru. Correspondingly in future years they will be demoted to a later St Emilion report. They are in good company though; other wines in that report include Le Dôme and Château Tertre-Roteboeuf.

St Emilion 2020

Following them down that road is Château Angélus, proprietor Hubert de Boüard de Laforest having also thrown in the towel on the classification. As well as Château La Gaffelière, although here it was more a case of jump before you are pushed, as Alexandre de Malet Roquefort decided to depart the classification rather than appeal his pending demotion. To be honest, having read some of his comments on the results of the tastings which formed the basis for the classification, I don’t blame him for quitting.

So, here goes with some thoughts on these exalted premier grand cru classé wines, in one of their final showings as a group before they go their separate ways.

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