2020 Elégance du Clos Cantenac, Bordeaux Rosé, France

2020 Elégance du Clos Cantenac, Bordeaux Rosé, France (approx. £42.00 per bottle and £84.00 per magnum, www.privatecellar.co.uk, www.hedonism.co.uk).


Just a few notes before we kick off this incredible wine’s commentary.  It is due to launch in the 2nd or 3rd week of July depending on shipping from Bordeaux to the UK.  The stock leaves Bordeaux at the end of next week, but landing wine in the UK is particularly painful right now, so do please leave another fortnight before physical stocks are likely to be able to be delivered.

I wrote the following, last year, on 12th August 2020 in Wednesday Wines (link here to the full article – https://www.matthewjukes.com/2020/08/wednesday-wines-episode-20/).

‘The pressure will be on the Krajewskis to follow the successes of their 2019 L’exuberance and Elégance Rosés in the 2020 vintage.  I wouldn’t bet against them finessing these two wines, as well as the rest of their portfolio, even further and that is incredibly exciting indeed.’  My reference to ‘the rest of the portfolio’ means 2020s Clos Cantenac, Petit Cantenac and Séraphine, which are all sublime and they all appear in my recently published 2020 Bordeaux En Primeur Report.

Twelve months have passed and 2020 L’exuberance Rosé is indeed a delicious wine (a magnum is a keenly priced £39.80 here https://hedonism.co.uk/product/lexuberance-rose-du-clos-cantenac-magnum-2020 or £42.00 here https://www.privatecellar.co.uk/product-info.asp?id=1304).  This is a stunning wine for lazy summer lunches when you are grazing a wide range of delicious dishes because it has the knack of tasting light and refreshing with seafood and fish and more deeply flavoured with meatier recipes!

2020 Elégance Rosé, however, is a different wine altogether and how could it possibly ratchet up the drama to a higher plane than the sublime 2019?  Well, it has done, and this is how.  Winemaker Lolly Krajewski explained that she found an epic parcel of close-planted, old Merlot vines on a south-facing, chalky plot in Targon, in the Entre Deux Mers.  This unique combination of traits, along with an early pick at the beginning of September, gave Lolly raw materials imbued with the kind of potential flavour and extreme minerality that she was looking for.  The winemaking ‘recipe’ that followed was also augmented a notch by the purchase of a brand new, inert press (which prevents oxygen ingress) and this allowed her precision control over the pressing and therefore the ‘juice’ itself.  Fermentation and maturation was exactly the same as the 2019 – one 7hl (700 litre) concrete egg and extended lees contact.

The bottom line is that this is an extraordinary creation with a flavour profile that exceeds the brittle framework found in the 2019 with additions of more luxurious tones which balance the crystalline minerality.  Lolly mentioned white peach, which is hilarious because I made precisely the same observation in my notes, and alongside a more sensual fruit panoply, there is grandeur and increased persistence.  While this might make this wine sound larger-framed and more mouth-filling on the palate, and therefore perhaps less refreshing, it isn’t.  It is simply longer, finer and more layered and this makes 2020 Elégance a resounding success.  One thing is certain, this is the finest Merlot-based rosé on the planet.  18.5/20 (Drink now – 2023)