Bordeaux 2020 Primeurs: St Emilion Grand Cru
In this third and final report on the wines of St Emilion in the 2020 vintage we come to all those wines made from vineyards not classified, either as premier grand cru classé or grand cru classé. The vast majority of them have the St Emilion Grand Cru appellation (grand cru status is defined within the appellation rulebook, and has nothing to do with the classification) although a handful of wines discussed here have the slightly simpler St Emilion appellation. The only significant difference between the two is minimum potential alcohol, 11.5% vs. 11%, a rather quaint distinction in an era when the region’s Merlot regularly hits 14%, 15%, or higher. For this reason I have never distinguished between the two appellations in my reports, and I continue this here.
This is one of a number of my Bordeaux 2020 reports which deal with a large number of less familiar wines, which serves as a reminder that the famous châteaux which hog the Bordeaux limelight account for only a tiny percentage of the region’s vineyards. There are a lot of tasting notes here (84 on my last count), and while some are from familiar names there are many from estates I have tasted only rarely, and a handful hail from properties never encountered before. Some of these wines were exciting to taste; after all, there is little more rewarding than finding a wine of good quality from an unheard-of name.
Before I take a look at some of those discoveries, I have to first mention a few of the more familiar names, beginning with the many wines – or not so many wines in this vintage – of Jonathan Maltus. Among the 80 or so notes listed below we find one for 2020 Le Dôme, which in this vintage provides us with an elegantly restrained interpretation of the growing season. Jonathan was keen to make use of his new cellars, which make Le Dôme eligible for election to the St Emilion classification when it is renewed in 2022. Unfortunately, at the time it was still something of a building site, so the equipment was set up in the car park. Not so much vin de garage, more vin de parking, joked Jonathan (which I thought was quite good).