Another very successful vintage in the Rhône, 2020 has produced wines that Marc Perrin of Château de Beaucastel describes as having ‘intensity and balance’. The vintage overall he describes as ‘just a great vintage’ having the ‘same profile as 1990 and 2010’ and being able to drink young as well as to age well.
They are characterised by having good, ripe fruit, a bit more restrained than in 2019 with a firm tannic structure on the finish. Daniel Brunier of Vieux Télégraphe says that the ‘tannic structure outlines the wine without forcing itself upon you’. It’s this that gives the wines their elegance as well as balance and, as a result of the slightly cooler weather in 2020 compared with 2019, there is also a reasonable level of acidity which keeps the wine fresh and together. Alcohol levels are also generally slightly lower. Particular mention must be made of the whites which have been very successful with great intensity but still having wonderful balance. Quantities are fairly low, at the Brunier’s Domaine Les Pallières the fields were less than 15hl/ha.
The weather was generally good and was helped by a wet end to 2019 which replenished water levels and enabled the vines to survive the generally dry conditions in 2020. The rest of the winter and spring was mild although quite windy. The summer was hot and dry which restricted yields but the nights were cool and humid and this helped preserve the freshness in the wines as well as keeping everything healthy. Harvesting began at the end of August and ended for Vieux Télégraphe by the 19th September, the earliest on record for this property. Conditions were good throughout and the grapes were delivered to the wineries in excellent health.