Bordeaux 2020 Primeurs: St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
If you take a look at the ‘official’ list of châteaux in St Emilion classified at the grand cru classé level, you will find 63 names. In truth the number is much smaller, with both Château Tertre-Daugay and Château L’Arrosée having disappeared, today amalgamated under the name of Château Quintus. No doubt this anomaly will be ‘tidied up’ with the renewal of the classification, which is of course due in 2022. This means in reality 61 châteaux are operating at the grand cru classé level, the majority of which are represented in this tasting report on 60 wines.
It perhaps goes without saying that style and quality varies somewhat here. This would perhaps be true in any gathering of sixty wines, although especially so in St Emilion, an appellation which has given us some of the most prominent examples of the excesses of modern winemaking in recent years. Happily these days this is a less frequently encountered problem than it once was. Excess is being reined in, as new hands replace old, and more technical directors seek to express their terroir through wines of purity and precision, rather than power and brute force. This is a shift in style seen at the premier grand cru classé level as well, but the new trend has filtered down to this level, and beyond. As a consequence there are plenty of potentially exciting choices among this group of wines.