Bordeaux Grands Crus Classés Tasting 2017-2020

by Juliette Martin


Wine Owners

On Wednesday Luke and I attended the Bordeaux Grands Crus Classés tasting, a group of Bordeaux Châteaux showing their 2017-2020 vintages in Dean’s Yard in sunny Westminster. Like most tastings there were more wines than I could do justice to, so I decided to taste the much hyped 2019 vintage from each Château rather than covering a range of vintages. Also I had tasted the 18s in situ and found them (massive generalisation coming...) too over blown and/or hot for my taste.

For those who need a quick reminder, 2019 was released in Lockdown 1 when fear was gripping the globe and the end of the world was nigh! It took a global pandemic for the Bordelais to offer us their wine en primeur at an attractive price and some discounts were in the region of 20-30% compared to the 2018 release prices. This brought about one of the busiest campaigns in a decade. The 2020 campaign was far less interesting as prices were largely back to normal and made it difficult to justify an en primeur purchase, especially when compared to 2019.

Samples were dispatched in little bottles to critics in all corners, some didn’t arrive and there were even reports of wines sitting on tarmac in the sunshine as delivery men kept their distance. Although there were issues that Covid had brought us, the resounding message was clear: it was a very good vintage.

And I am very pleased to report that it is indeed a very good vintage, in my opinion. Canon, Pontet Canet and Montrose all received ‘very well polished’ notes in my book. Mondotte was extremely good too, as was Branaire Ducru, Canon La Gaffeliere less so. Pavillon de Leoville Poyferre is a tidy second wine as is L’Hospitalet de Gazin.

Luke was more diligent than me, tasting across the vintages and he reported that 19s shone out in this peer group. More research is required but there must be some really good value 2019s out there and becoming physical in the next few months.

Side note: Montrose ‘05 disappointed, not for the first time. My views were supported by a prominent Bordelais character as we tasted side by side a couple of years ago.

Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc 2017 - very refreshing!

We are looking forward to tasting a wider range of 2019s at the larger Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux 2019 Vintage Tasting in a couple of weeks time, and shall report back with our findings.

Miles 07798 732 543

Full list of Châteaux

Château Branaire-Ducru

Château Canon

Château Canon La Gaffeliere

Château d’Aiguilhe

Château Gazin

Château Guiraud

Château Le Crock

Château Leoville Poyferre

Château Montrose

Château Moulin Riche

Château Pontet Canet

Château Rauzan Segla

Château Smith Haut Lafitte

Clos de L’Oratoire

La Mondotte

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Value, track and trade fine wine

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