There is something to know about the 2020 vintage, it was really early! Are we victims of the global warming? Certainly! Winter was particularly warm, inducing an early bud burst of the vine (15 days earlier than the average).
Because of this early start, unfortunately we had some frost impact. Many of our white grape varieties plots are more sensible because they are located in freezing soils. We also lost almost half of the harvest at Château des Demoiselles.
Spring was hot and rainy; it allows a good vine growth but a high pressure of diseases like Mildew (except on our disease resistant grape varieties off course!)
Summer was very dry. So dry, that the grapes’ maturity was blocked because of the drought stress. We may say the vine goes into “apnea”: it doesn’t breathe anymore through the stomata (leaf pore) to avoid releasing water in the atmosphere, and it also prevents photosynthesis which normally allows the production of sugar.
We were lucky to have chilly nights in August which released the blocked maturity.
Harvest started on 25th august with our Sauvignon Blanc from Château Larroque.
Good weather remained throughout the entire period of harvesting. The Climate was cooler especially at night. It enabled a good anthocyanins accumulation in the grapes skin, and a good synthesis of aromatic compounds.
On account of the weather conditions of the beginning of the year and the extreme heat, 2020 was a vintage with low yield and high alcohol level. Yields were 50 Hl/ha for white grape varieties on average and 41 hl/ha for the red ones. In the winery, our team has changed its winemaking practices, as reflected by Rémy Combret, our cellar master:
“We had to adapt to this high alcohol level. To do so, we have been looking to limit the extraction of the grapes to avoid too heavy wines. We have preferred series of pumping over less intense but more often (series of pumping).
On our Right bank estates, the observation is even better. Eric Fuzeau attests : “It was a very difficult and technical vintage, but it is worth the effort : 2020 is one of the most qualitative vintages that I made at Château Plaisance and Château Jacques Noir”.
In total, 12 grapes varieties were harvested in 6 weeks. Jérémy Ducourt is very satisfied about the quality:
“ We are particularly happy about our rosé this year. They are very aromatic and they have a nice balanced acidity. For the reds, were are not at the end of the winemaking and aging process, but we already know that we have wine with good level of concentration, which predicts a high aging potential. 2020 is a solid quality vintage.”