- Five Second Growths are yet to release their 2020 wines.
- All have received strong scores, although Montrose and Ducru-Beaucaillou did not send samples abroad and so are missing reviews from some key critics.
- Opportunities for the 2020s to offer Fair Value will be more limited if prices rise 10% above the 2019 releases.
We recently examined the subject of where the value might be in the release prices of the 2020 First Growths.
What this showed was that critical appraisal of the 2020 First Growths was equal if not identical to the 2019s.
Furthermore, given the rise in prices enjoyed by the 2019 First Growths and other back vintages over the past year, there was scope for significant price increases while remaining ‘Fair Value’.
Following on from this, therefore, what of the remaining Second Growths?
Cos d’Estournel, Ducru-Beaucaillou, Léoville Las Cases, Léoville Poyferré and Montrose are the five remaining Deuxième Cru Classé to be released.
At what level would they represent Fair Value according to the Liv-ex Methodology?
“This is a finely crafted, very succinct Cos d’Estournel that may well be hiding something up its sleeve for after bottling, and I suspect it will gain more spine during its barrel aging,” noted Neal Martin who scored it 95-97.
His fellow taster at Vinous, Antonio Galloni (94-96), added: “The 2020 is a gorgeous wine from a very unusual year in which the Merlot is a bit more prominent in the blend than usual because of dehydration in the Cabernet.”
As can be seen from the chart, with a Benchmark Critic score of 96-points, even a small increase in price will make the 2020 look fully priced; sandwiching it between the 2018 and 2005 vintages which have the same score.
This may of course work in the context of this vintage and campaign. It would be hard to ignore the higher-rated 2019, however. The 2014, which also has a score of 96, is currently under £1,000 a case and looks very compelling.
Ducru-Beaucaillou did not send samples this year so there are no scores from Vinous or the Wine Advocate.
The chart above shows the current ‘Fair Value’ position of the Saint Julien estate’s back vintages. The 2014, 2018, 2019 and 2016 scored between 95 and 97-points by Neal Martin all represent ‘good value’ at present.
Jane Anson, who lives in Bordeaux, awarded a score of 98-points. “An amazing Ducru, one of the wines of the vintage,” she wrote.
“Dense, muscular. Wait,” advised Julia Harding MW, writing for JancisRobinson.com. She awarded it a score of 17++.
Fans of the estate may be persuaded by these early scores and reviews, while followers of Neal Martin may wish to see where his score places the 2020.
Léoville Las Cases
“Readers with classically leaning palates will flip out over the 2020,” declared Antonio Galloni, who awarded the wine 96-98 points.
Neal Martin awarded the same score noting that the Saint-Julien estate had, “perhaps one of the most Pauillac-like bouquets that I have noticed on this wine out of barrel”.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW of the Wine Advocate also had the same score and said, “the finish has jaw-dropping fragrance and depth”.
There is room for the estate to increase prices by up to 10% this year and remain ‘Fair Value’. Nonetheless, even an increase of 5% would put the 2020 well above the 2019 and 2015, which also have scores of 97 from Martin.
Many critics have had positive things to say about the 2020 Léoville Poyferré. Both Neal Martin and Antonio Galloni scored it 95-97. “In a word: magnificent,” said Galloni.
“A very suave and sophisticated wine that will give 30–40 years of drinking pleasure. Easily one of the classiest offerings from this Saint-Julien in recent years,” said Martin.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW scored it 95-97 and James Suckling 96-97.
Considering the chart above, a price rise of up to 20% would still be Fair Value for Léoville Poyferré. It should be born in mind, however, that the 2019 carries a higher score from Martin and at £660 a case continues to look compelling.
Montrose was another estate that did not send samples this year (nor did it last year), so scores are limited. As with Ducru, Jane Anson was impressed with what she tasted.
Scoring the wine 98-points she said: “One of the few where a 1986, 2016 and 2010 comparison makes sense.”
The 2019 has a current Market Price of £1,200; a 5% increase on the 2020 would result in a release price of around £1,260 – potentially compelling for followers of Anson – but, again, the lack of scores from Benchmark Critic Neal Martin may give others pause for thought.
The 2014 with a solid rating of 96-points and with a Market Price bang on £1,000 looks the best value among physical vintages.
The Second Growths present a solid array of fine wines this vintage judging by their critical appraisal. Nonetheless, unlike the Firsts, the scores from Neal Martin are either not as strong or they do not exist (yet).
There also appear fewer opportunities for Fair Value if prices follow the current trend and exceed 5-10% on the 2019 releases.
Our Bordeaux En Primeur 2020 page contains everything you need to know about this year’s campaign. You can also sign up for our daily En Primeur email alerts using the form below.