2020 Bordeaux

I read two reports that 2020 vintage will be high quality and prices might be similar to 2019 or fall further. This is what I thought might happen and didnt go overboard with my 2019 purchases. Let’s discuss!

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I’m expecting prices to come in line somewhere between 18/19. Wines that discounted heavily sold out on the morning, and moved quickly on the secondary market. I think some prices will be lower than 19 but that’ll be mostly the wines that didnt discount heavily.

Remember, Latour 2013 had a chance to set a precedent by lowering their price against 2012 Latour and they chose not to - instead choosing to release in line.

I think O(15%) off 2018 pricing is probably about where most wines will come out, so 5-15% above 2019.


Bear in mind the way the system is architected, most of the chateau wont really feel the impact themselves anyway. Furthermore, Rhone 2019 releases were in line with historic pricing. Champagne mostly was as well? I’m no Burgundy or Italian expert but I didnt get any impression of decreased pricing there either, so why would Bordeaux single handedly buck the trend?


I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve learned to be cynical over the last few years :slight_smile:



The problem with 2020 prices coming out lower than 19 is that you undermine the historic market, and suddenly all back wine looks ‘expensive’. Decades of gains for the chateau will be eroded, and bear in mind many chateau are now ‘professionally’ owned, investors need to get their returns.


vested interest: I went pretty much as big as I could on 19, but had a sizeable 18 position as well.

Heard from people on the ground that 2020 is yet another very good vintage - probably not on the level of 2019 but still very good. Pricing for sure will not be on par with 2019 but higher. Yes, the hospitality industry is still in dire straits but the fine wine buying private customers are better of than a year and two years ago. I hear record demand here in central Europe from private clients for the most recent releases over the past few months.

Personally I’m hopeful quality will be high in 2020 and prices affordable, just so I can have something positive come out of that horrific year. If so, I intend to be a buyer … then open these over the decades and reflect upon a lost year.

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It’s my sons birth year, so I’m certainly a buyer and will buy at least 1-2 first growths and a number of other classified growths / high end Pomerols. That said, I’ll still be pretty price sensitive, if numbers look like 2019 I’ll probably go hog wild on the Palmer, LMHB and VCC, otherwise will be more conservative. I though Palmer at $210 and $250 LMHB were screaming deals (and made my credit cards scream for mercy).

First off, nobody knows what will happen. But if you want a guess, 2020 will be more expensive than 2019.

Yields are lower in 2020, so less wine. Plus, the devastating frosts this week will reduce quantity for 2021. And the markets are up from last year, so buyers have more disposable income. Most importantly, the quality is said to be good all over the region. Starting Wednesday, I will have some idea of that as I begin tasting about 800 wines, assuming everything starts arriving on-time.

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If indeed 2020 is an excellent to great vintage, then there will be buyers. But I expect they’re be some resistance, as even with a small vintage, there is plenty of great wines from other vintages still waiting to get out of the negotiants’ cellars. Bordeaux has shown it can digest two to three excellent vintages, and apart from 2017, a vintage that I like and am backfilling, there are some really great years from 2014, and not a clunker in sight. Can they absorb six vintages? Not sure.

Thanks Jeff, that’s really insightful. I wasnt aware of the frost, and yes, that would definitely be an argument in terms of driving prices up. Is my lay understanding right that the negociant system partially insulates the chateau from end consumer pricing, as well? As they effectively can ‘mandate’ allocations to the negociants?

@Mark - agreed. There are a lot of back vintages still to be cleared out, but that’s never stopped them before really. Perosnally I’ve been picking up some very good QPR 2019s which werent bought out on primary release. 18 bottles of Brainaire-Ducru my most recent.

@Aleks - I personally (only amateur view, no itb expertise) wouldnt expect LMHB and Palmer to come out comparable to last year’s price. They sold out QUICKLY. Those are wines, imho, prime for pricing up. Palmer I only got 6 bottles from pre-purchasing, and I got 3 LMHB through BBR because someone turned down an allocation and BBR could give me 3 HB 3 LMHB.

With the lower quantities of 2020s coming through, and the potential for basic supply and demand economics to raise prices, I have actually revisited 2019 Bordeaux and backfilled a little in recent weeks.

HenryB- I think that’s likely accurate. I suppose when they are older I will have to explain to my children why daddy bought 1 first growth, 1 Palmer, 1LMHB, and 1 VCC for their birth years and multiple bottles of each in 2019. Hopefully they will have a good grasp of wine economics, if not guess I will tell them I decided to split the difference.


champagne.gif

as someone with a truly terrible birthyear of wine, I’d rather be given good wine than wine coincidentally the same age. If both are possible, great, but good wine trumps same age wine every time

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I expect prices to pop upwards fairly solidly.

2019 was released in the teeth of the COVID related severe global recession and US tariffs. 2020 is being released with an (uneven) global economic recovery and US tariffs off the table for now. Given a substantially better economy, less uncertainty, and poor yields across most of Bordeaux, it would be surprising if 2020 was released at 2019 or better prices.

Could always buy the less expensive stuff just for vintage/celebrations and have a complimentary better vintage accompany it to ensure some better wine?

Agreed - my kids are 2018 and 2020 birth years, so they will have good wine vintages, just more expensive vs 2019. Sorry, I should have explained that better…

average em both out to a large stash of 19

While frost last week really harmed the Libournais (right bank) and the Sauternais, I doubt it can significantly harm left bank as it is so close to the sea. But Bordeaux never decreases price without a reason…
I had not bought any Bordeaux regularly since 2008 (although a few 2015 and a 6 pack of 2016) until the 2019 vintage where I bought half bottles given my age… this being the last year I purchase (the 2005s will take me until he Lord calls me since my almost everyday consumptions are Burgundy and to a lesser extend Riesling…).

For your reading pleasure
https://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2021/03/bordeaux-2020-vintage-ripe-for-investors

The first scores for the first growths are in - from JM Quarin, the french Bdx wine critic:

Lafite 98
Mouton 97
HB, Latour, Margaux 96

Quite good scores but not quite on the level of 16, 18 or 19.

Has Rudy K weighed in on this vintage yet?