Bordeaux 2020: Saturnalia November predictions compared with critics’ assessments

“The peculiar 2020 is a good vintage, but very different from 2019. [...] Best performers according to individual Châteaux are Pomerol, Saint-Ėmilion and Pessac-Léognan.”

Saturnalia

Sounds familiar?

It was November 2020 (yes, it seems like ages ago), unfortunately the pandemic was again hitting hard and vaccines were the only light at the end of the tunnel.

But November is also the usual time when here at Saturnalia we wrap everything up all available data on the recent season, “ignite” our machines and derive our insights. And 2020 was no exception.

At that time, we published a report on the Bordeaux 2020 vintage (also reported by Liv-ex), including quality insights based on weather and vegetation-response data. To summarize:

  • Saint-Ėmilion and Pomerol were the warmest appellations according to the temperature trends and number of Growing Degree Days we collected during the growing season;
  • Temperatures were not high enough to worsen the effect of water stress;
  • 2020 is a good vintage, but very different from 2019, as prolonged drought, heavy August storms (for some) and a wet September characterised the 2020 season;
  • According to our AI-driven algorithms from which we derive our early scores, best performers are Pomerol, Saint-Ėmilion and Pessac-Léognan.

Let’s jump in time: it’s now June 2021.

The En Primeur campaign is proceeding slowly and steadily and all the major critics have released their view on the vintage.

What is the consensus, then? As summarised by The Drinks Business, “it seems to be that this is a ‘Right bank/merlot vintage’ and also a ‘clay vintage’, with Pessac Leognan an appellation of interest.”

Therefore, it is fair to say that the critics are confirming our initial assessment made back in November.

But let’s dig a little deeper by looking at what the single critics said about the vintage in a set of interviews with Liv-ex.

Saturnalia predictions compared to Lisa Perrotti-Brown’s statements

Limestone just seems to be working magic for recent vintages, particularly these hot vintages, because it really, really is an advantage for the soil to be motoring through. But also clay this year worked really well. And it was just a weird vintage altogether for the Médoc, because there were some really, really great successes and there was some real disappointment. But, you know, the intensity, the power and the elegance of some of those Pomerol is just extraordinary.
Lisa Perrotti-brown

 Perrotti-Brown has said 2020 is a much more complex vintage than either 2018 or 2019 but with “far more potential”. Heavy rainstorms during the otherwise incredibly dry summer was a pivotal moment for many estates.

The chart shows the different impact brought by precipitations on the appellations of Pomerol, Saint-Ėmilion et Pessac-Léognan.
The chart shows the different impact brought by precipitations on the appellations of Pomerol, Saint-Ėmilion et Pessac-Léognan.

Overall, you can see a general confirmation on what we wrote back in November 2020.

We remind you that for our predictions we rely on data collected from several types of satellites and derive trends based on previous performances with our AI-driven algorithms that learn year by year how to treat the collected information.

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Bordeaux 2020: Saturnalia November predictions compared with critics’ assessments