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Bordeaux 2020: A Saturnalia harvest report

We recently examined how technology is changing the world of fine wine trading. Critical assessment of vintage quality and variation is now also feeling the impact of technology – in particular, through artificial intelligence (AI).

This is the idea behind the Saturnalia project, which aims to provide “factual and independent information, which is not influenced by personal preference or opinions” on different wine regions. For this purpose, the team at Ticinum Aerospace collects, aggregates and processes satellite and weather data and combines it with geological and topographical information and wine prices. This dataset forms the basis for their algorithms which aim to predict vintage quality, wine scores and expected price trends.

Saturnalia have just released their Bordeaux 2020 harvest report and their top scoring wines.

Saturnalia have found that “2020 was a warm vintage, but without the excesses of 2018 and 2015”. According to them, “even though 2020 was in total a very wet season, the extended period of drought caused water stress”.

They further note that “the peculiar 2020 is a good vintage, but very different from 2019. Best performers in this vintage seem to be Pessac-Léognan (less affected by heavy rains in the second half of August) and Saint Julien”. They add that “late rains [in Saint Julien] prevented too severe water stress”, while “Pessac-Léognan was less affected by thunderstorms in late August so the grapes are expected to be even more balanced”.

Mission Haut Brion from Pessac-Léognan is Saturnalia’s Bordeaux 2020 highest scored wine (97.7). However, five out of the top ten spots are taken by wines from Pomerol.

The full Saturnalia harvest report contains detailed analysis on each appellation and is available to Liv-ex members who can obtain it via their Account Manager.