Thumbs up for the Bordeaux 2023.

Thumbs up for the Bordeaux 2023.
© Shutterstock

Bordeaux En Primeur vintage 2023: The problem child as a stroke of luck?

If the prices for 2023 are set appropriately, Bordeaux could become interesting for wine lovers who have perhaps not yet considered the subject. This vintage offers all the prerequisites for an introduction, as there are very interesting wines at all price levels and across the appellations.

The official start for the tasting of young Bordeaux wines for the specialist trade took place on Monday, 22 April, and the trade press already had the opportunity to get an overview beforehand. The Falstaff tasting team was already on site a week beforehand, and over 500 wines were assessed at the wineries, at the merchants and at collective tastings of various appellations. The ratings of all the wines tasted have been available to our readers free of charge on the Falstaff website since Friday, April 26. From Monday 29 April, the first prizes were announced by the wine estates: two Premier Grands Crus Classés, Lafite-Rothschild and Mouton-Rothschild, lead the way, along with crowd favorites such as Valandraud and Ponet-Canet.

A significant cut is expected, especially amongst the high-priced labels, which will probably be around 20 to 25 per cent down, and this is not due to the quality of the wines but to the current situation on the market. This leads us to point 1: yes, from a pricing perspective, 2023 will be a vintage that could be worth subscribing to.

Point 2 is the question of quality. To put it simply: it is a good to very good vintage, with a few outliers in the direction of superlatives. But the situation is complex, because the wines are heterogeneous. There is no right or left bank when it comes to where you are better off buying. There are great wines to be found everywhere. The challenging weather conditions throughout the year demanded everything from the winegrowers, and it was important to always take the right steps. If you harvested too much, your wines would lack a bit of center, if you were too late, your wines would show nuances of cooked berries and figs. Those who had the right timing and sufficient staff to work in the vineyards were able to overcome the mildew; once again, the optimal terroir and the expertise of the winegrowers were decisive.

The best red wines have an average alcohol content – Château Margaux is at 12.9% – even the Merlot-dominated wines of the Right Bank barely exceed 14%. The wines show a very deep, dark color, have a pleasant fruity aroma, they have a stately but fully mature tannin dress that provides length and they have an unusually good freshness that gives them liveliness.

Many wines are already very harmonious and approachable. One of the advantages of climate change is that wines can be drunk much younger today than in previous decades due to their greater maturity. Today, there is no question of having to wait ten years for Bordeaux. Most wines can already be enjoyed on delivery, and further aging in the bottle will only increase the pleasure over time.

Despite the warm summer, the white wines have turned out surprisingly elegant and have not lost their vibrancy and freshness, especially when they were harvested before the second heatwave at the beginning of September. Thanks to some rainfall in autumn, the sweet wines were able to develop a very even noble rot. The vintage promises great things in this segment, which we will look at in detail as soon as the wines are in the bottle.

Now it's time to wait for the prices to be calculated and then things will certainly move quickly – by the first week of May at the latest, retailers will have all the prices and subscriptions for end consumers can start. Those which compare well will finally be rewarded for buying subscriptions again, and there could even be a few bargains for a change.

The problem child 2023 could turn out to be a stroke of luck for true Bordeaux lovers.



Sign up now for our newsletter.

Peter Moser
Peter Moser
Chefredakteur Wein
Find out more