2020 vintage : a promise kept

News | 18 June 2021

The 2020 vintage will long be remembered as one associated with a world-wide pandemic. Fortunately, its immense qualitative potential compensates for this unpleasant memory. For the Cuvelier Family, it is of special significance: not only does it possess all the characteristics of a superb vintage, but it also bookmarks the centennial of the Family’s ownership of the property.


The 2020 vintage was characterized by mild weather conditions in winter and a rainy spring.

Although temperatures rose slightly with the arrival of spring, ample water in the ground encouraged an early budbreak that began on March 18th, comparable to the 2019 vintage.

Wet conditions prevailed in April, requiring our teams, downsized due to the pandemic, to step up their efforts to diminish the threat of mildew.

A particularly dry hot spell edged its way into the damp weather, allowing for homogeneous flowering throughout the vineyard. In May and June, the rain returned with no end in sight.

Thankfully, beautiful sunny weather from June 19th heralded the beginning of summer and eased our fears.

The ripening period that ensued until harvest was hotter and drier than usual. Miraculous thunderstorms mid-August signaled a turnaround for this vintage, allowing the grapes to reach perfect ripeness. Bruno Clenet, Vineyard Manager, refers to the raindrops as “gold from the heavens”. The diurnal temperature range at the beginning of September ensured that precious grape aromatics were maintained.

During the first ripeness checks at the end of August, we observed, with great enthusiasm, the homogeneous quality of the grapes. The Merlots were generous, and the thick-skinned Cabernet Sauvignon berries were small and concentrated.

Temperatures were normal for the season as harvest kicked off on September 14th with the Merlots.

The thermometer easily reached 30°C during the first week of picking, resulting in a concentration of juice in the Merlot berries.

Harvest went off without a hitch, ending on a cooler note with the Petit Verdots and Cabernets finishing by the end of September, which, it must be said, is quite rare.

Reflecting back on the 2020 Harvest



As grapes made their way to the vat house, Isabelle Davin (Oenologist) and Didier Thomann (Cellar Master) were thrilled with the bright fruit aromas. Revealed by the first pre-fermentation cold macerations, these bright aromatics are just as vivid in the wine today. Gentle vinifications were carried out for individual plots to better manage this vintage and perfectly master the tannins.

Didier Thomann hailed the outstanding quality of the Merlots, especially that of Bolitorte, a plot located on the edge of Saint-Julien village, which he describes as “racy, generous and opulent”. He defies anyone to identify them in a blind tasting alongside the Cabernet Sauvignons. Paradoxically, the Cabernet Sauvignon from the Gaunettes plot (closer to the Gironde Estuary) offers this vintage exquisite finesse and elegance.

Invariably, due to the warm weather conditions, 2020 will be placed in the family of solar vintages. On the other hand, it has a very classic style on the palate.
The tannins are dense, and the alcohol is moderate. It is very smooth thanks to a high pH, and fresh owing to its high acidity.This vintage will long be appreciated for its power and delectable character.Isabelle Davin.

The 2020 vintage perfectly reflects the timelessness of the terroirs of Léoville Poyferré,blended with passion and precision by the Cuvelier Family and their technical team, with the guidance of Michel Rolland and Julien Viaud.