2020 is a year that will conjure a lot of strong memories and emotions.
At one point, I recall chatter on social media about whether producers should nix the vintage from their label because of the visceral reaction it could evoke. Fortunately, that idea didn’t take hold.
There’s good reason for BC wineries to want 2020 to be front and centre: it’s shaping up to be an outstanding vintage. Here at Gismondi on Wine, we’ve already posted 94 reviews of 2020 BC whites, and the wines have grabbed our attention.
By the numbers, 2020 is a rather ordinary vintage. The accumulated heat in Osoyoos was just two percent greater than the past 20 year average. But sometimes ordinary can, well, be extraordinary. Our favourite vintages aren’t the excessively hot ones. So from that perspective, 2020 falls nicely in line with 2016 and 2013.
There’s a sleeper quality to the vintage. 2015 was the so-called ‘vintage of the century’ before vineyards were even finished being picked. Things were far less certain in 2020. The spring was cool and wet, with temperatures in May below what we had seen in the previous seven years, and moderate conditions continued into June and July.
Things finally began to turn around in August, and then September and October were among the hottest in the last 20 years. Unfortunately, the vintage came to a sudden halt with a record-breaking snowstorm on October 23, but most fruit had already been picked in anticipation of the cold snap by then.
There was a quiet optimism about the vintage as wine was slowly put to tank and barrel. The first wines to be released suggest much more enthusiasm is deserved. What stands out is the character of the fruit: precise and fresh, with exceptional depth and intensity. We imagine the best is still yet to come.