April 2021 - In the wake of an extraordinary 2018 and a 2019 of profound elegance, the 2020 vintage of Château Palmer, with its class and sensuality, rounds off a truly exceptional trilogy.
Sun-kissed and harmonious wines
At the end of February, the onset of the vines’ budburst almost two weeks ahead of schedule signalled the launch of what would be a very early vintage. March brought heavy rainfall, which made working the soil considerably more difficult, only to be followed by a damp spring with mild temperatures, conditions all too conducive to the spread of mildew. Throughout April and May, the vineyard would require superlative care to keep us on course for a healthy harvest. In mid-May, a return to warm, dry weather would set the stage for an ideal flowering period, raising hopes of a lovely vintage indeed.
In June, the summer weather arrived and settled in to stay. By the end of July, the berries had begun their colour change under a bright and constant sun, allowing for an early synthesis of polyphenols. Although the heat waves of August subjected the vines to a good deal of hydric stress, intense thunderstorms brought a welcome breath of fresh air: the Merlot grapes gorged themselves while the Cabernet, which weren’t as far along in their cycle, retained their small size. The return to dry weather at the end of August fostered the concentration of the tannins and marked a promising conclusion to the ripening process.
The harvest began on the 15th of September, with the Merlot picked in the cool of dawn and the Cabernet gathered between the drops of thundershowers. The harvest ended two weeks later on the 29th of September. In the vat room, the fermentations proceeded smoothly and the blending was carried out over two sessions in mid-November, for the most part during the run-off. Marked by the year’s eminently favourable climate, the 2020 vintage of Château Palmer is on par with 2018 in terms of structure, boasting sunny Merlot, fine and powerful Cabernet, and a terroir of brilliant clarity.