2023 Bordeaux En Primeur

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2023 Bordeaux En Primeur

We have returned from Bordeaux in buoyant mood; excited and delighted by the 2023 vintage. Here are our first impressions.

The 2023 Growing Season

After a fairly wet winter, replenishing the water table, the first leaves appeared on the vines in early March. Bud break started at the end of that month, being homogenous and promising a good crop. April and May brought challenges, as alternating warm and cooler weather, with high levels of humidity, were the perfect conditions for mildew. Strict vigilance was essential during these months, with the Entre-Deux-Mers, Margaux and Pessac-Léognan being most impacted by disease pressure.

Fortunately, a period of fine weather arrived in late May, which favoured flowering. What followed was a summer that was warm and cloudy, with occasional, light rainfall. “Contrasting with 2022, where the heat sometimes blocked maturation, we had very a linear summer in 2023,” said Frédéric Castéjà of Château Batailley. “It was not particularly hot, allowing for very steady maturation and no stress. This allowed the grapes to slowly build their sugars whilst retaining a good level of natural acidity.” By this stage there was vigorous vineyard growth and potential production. Many properties chose to green harvest and meticulously groom their vines, in order to reduce yields, and foster grape ripening.

Two, beneficial, late-summer heat waves, in the third week of August and early September, curbed vegetative growth, forcing the vines to focus on building grape ripeness. “The question then was: when to harvest,” Thomas Duroux of Château Palmer told us. “Each parcel of vines had to be observed very carefully, with the berries being tasted every day. Rain was forecast for 21st September. Should we harvest everything before the rain, or wait longer?” Each property had its own choice to make, based on their terroir and when optimal maturity was achieved. Thomas continued: “At Palmer, after a quick harvest of the Merlots, which would rapidly lose aromatic freshness and build too much sugar if left even for one day too long, we picked some of the Cabernets. The rain then came, and we stopped picking for a week, before restarting to bring in the last Cabernets. These had really benefited from the extra time of the vines to bring them to full maturity.”

Our Impression of the 2023 Wines, and the En Primeur Campaign

2023 is not a homogenous vintage, so tasting these wines to assess quality was vitally important this year when putting together our selections. There are properties that were impacted by mildew, and others where choice of picking date, or yields that were too high, have resulted in wines that lack flesh and concentration, having unripe tannins. However, the best wines show excellent quality and will give huge pleasure. They are strikingly pure and finely aromatic, with beautiful balance of density and freshness. Across the region, there are lower alcohols and higher acidities than many vintages we have seen in the last decade.

We are optimistic that we will see significant price-drops compared with 2022. With this in mind, there will certainly be wines that we will recommend wholeheartedly as excellent, En Primeur purchases. We envisage a fairly quick campaign, with first releases before the beginning of May. We will update our selections on our website as they are made. A weekly email of new purchases will be circulated at the end of each week. If you do not already receive our email updates, or have any specific requests, please contact us.

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bottle
£96.00
Per case of 6 bottles In Bond
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£129.00
Per case of 12 bottles In Bond
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bottle
£144.00
Per case of 12 bottles In Bond
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magnum
£144.00
Per case of 6 magnums In Bond
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bottle
£144.00
Per case of 6 bottles In Bond
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bottle
£144.00
Per case of 12 bottles In Bond
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bottle
£144.00
Per case of 12 bottles In Bond
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bottle
£145.00
Per case of 12 bottles In Bond
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magnum
£159.00
Per case of 6 magnums In Bond
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magnum
£159.00
Per case of 3 magnums In Bond
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magnum
£159.00
Per case of 6 magnums In Bond
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magnum
£159.00
Per case of 6 magnums In Bond
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magnum
£160.00
Per case of 6 magnums In Bond
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bottle
£160.00
Per case of 12 bottles In Bond
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bottle
£160.00
Per case of 12 bottles In Bond
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