2023 Bordeaux En Primeur

“The best 2023s are just as exciting as the best 2022s.”
William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

The 2023 Bordeaux are vibrant, energetic and not afraid to follow the awesome 2022s. If 2022 was Goliath, 2023 is David. The best of these slick, svelte and impressive young wines have purity, concentration of juicy ripe fruit, while brilliantly fine-grained tannins belie a structure that will ensure these wines have longevity and should occupy a space in your cellar.

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Tickets are still available to our En Primeur tasting on 17th May – click here for more information and to book yours.

If you’re new to En Primeur you’ll find detailed information in our article ‘What is En Primeur?’

If your mailing list subscriptions are anything like ours, over the spring and summer of 2024 your inbox will be full of Bordeaux vintage reports, deep-diving into the growing season, terroir, and impeccable vigneron decision-making. Of course, these are all important factors to consider, but as a consumer as well as a commentator, I want the top line:

Should I buy 2023 Bordeaux?

In short, and provided the chateaux make the reductions in price that we hope for, the answer is a resounding YES, you should. It’s ironic that 2023 is one of very few vintages over the last two decades not to have been subject to the usual, and enormously loud hyperbole that is the Bordeaux marketing machine – because it’s one of the most joyful vintages I have tasted at this early stage, and is worth all of the praise it will probably receive over the next month. This could be an en primeur season to reignite interest in Bordeaux, which has been in decline for the last 18 months.

“The 2023s may be released at prices as interesting as any we have seen since 2019.”William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

“With 2023, we returned to Bordeaux. They have the signature of Bordeaux.”
Alexandre Thienpont, Owner and Winemaker, Vieux Chateau Certan

“2023 is an exciting vintage, with something for everyone. The wines display attractive ripe fruits and have a roundness to them, alongside balance and freshness. The best will have wide drinking windows, and many will be more approachable relatively young than the 2022s and 2020s, but with just as much potential to age. Tannins are ripe and well-integrated, and many vignerons told us that alcohol and acidity levels are exactly where they would have chosen them to be. Winemakers are often reluctant to compare a new vintage with its predecessors, preferring to focus on the unique merits of the year, but there were many who see parallels with the modern greats of 2019 and 2016, both renowned for having produced wines of great harmony. As we tasted the 2023s it became easy to see why there is so much excitement for the vintage at the chateaux – I was hugely impressed by the quality of many of them and our attempts to nail down our highlights became increasingly more challenging with each visit!”
John Cawood, Davy’s Wine Merchants
Is there a vintage 2023 can be compared to? Alexandre Thienpont has presided over one of the wines of the vintage at Vieux Chateaux Certan and claims the vintage is so unique that ‘2023 reminds me of 2023!’ While Ch. Leoville Las Cases joke ‘this 2023 vintage reminds us of the 1771.’ There really hasn’t been a vintage like it, and it’s likely we’ll see that more frequently with increasingly varying weather patterns. What is clear is that the vines are continuing to adapt to very different growing seasons. The Sichel family, owners of Margaux’s Chateau Angludet and Chateau Palmer, as well as trusted negociants, claim “the result convinces us of the great capacity of nature to adapt. This leaves us positive for the future.”
There are many world-class wines in 2023, but because of the inconsistency of the vintage, there are also disappointments. Over the next few weeks we’ll dissect each release and bring you our highlights from this fascinating vintage.
“The 2023 vintage has been very generous; definitely paying homage to the modern approach but without losing the Bordeaux DNA, it graciously captures both accessibility and structure to age. A brilliant vintage: fragrant, fruit forward, fresh!”
Kate Barclay, Davy’s Wine Merchants

 

THE GROWING SEASON

“Bordeaux’s 2023 vintage is a fascinating paradox. While the year was one of the warmest in recorded history, it wasn’t very sunny—in contrast with recent warm vintages such as 2022, 2020, 2019 and 2018.”
William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

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THE WINES

“The best reds show balance and freshness with deep center palates of ripe fruit and a complement of polished tannins. In many ways, I like them better than many of the highly touted 2022s because they are so Bordeaux in their nature with their tensioned mouthfeels and energetic finishes. 

Top terroirs and top winemakers delivered terrific-quality wines, but they are different than 2022. I would compare these 2023s to 2019 or 2001 – even 1990 – for their freshness and balance of ripe fruit.”
James Suckling

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