2023 Bordeaux En Primeur – The Growing Season

Commentary on the latest vintage from Bordeaux isn’t complete without some mention of the growing season:

  • The growing season started well with good water reserves following a wet winter, and flowering, fruit set, and pollination all proceeding smoothly.
  • A hot and humid summer meant the considerable threat of mildew never really went away, affecting up to 90% of Bordeaux’s chateaux. However, following several years of mildew pressure, many properties are now better prepared to deal with the threat than ever before, and arguably, reduced yields and tighter selection has in some wines increased quality.
  • August’s heatwave conditions with temperatures above 40’c brought ideal conditions for ripening, especially in later ripening Cabernets. This late spell of heat is responsible for the brilliant precision and balanced structures and acidity we see in the wines.Despite being one of the hottest years on record, with June, August and September all exceeding 20-year temperature averages – because of cloud cover, ripening was slow.The vintage is marked by relatively low overall production, with 384 million litres produced, a 20% decrease from the previous decade’s average. However, the yields for prestigious appellations like St-Julien, St-Estèphe, Pauillac, and Margaux were generous, especially compared to 2022.As is always the case, Chateau Bauduc’s Gavin Quinney provides the most comprehensive insights on the year that was, and we are pleased to point you to his weather report here: https://gavinquinney.com/2024/04/11/bordeaux-2023-weather-and-crop-report/