The Latest En Primeur 2023 Releases

Bordeaux Index

15 May 2024

Read on for the latest Bordeaux En Primeur 2023 releases:


CHÂTEAU Suduiraut 2023

GBP 260 per 6 IB

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Today marks the release of the terrific wines of Chateau Suduiraut which receives a potential perfect 100pt score from Galloni.

Sauternes is often forgotten during en primeur but if there is one sweet wine you buy this year, it should be this total stunner from Suduiraut – it has power, intensity, and so much energy. It simply took our breath away after we tasted this out in Bordeaux, and we walked away from the tasting room with the aftertaste of this nectar lingering for a good many minutes afterwards!

This beautiful estate in Sauternes, lying at the foot of the Yquem hill is owned by Axa Millesimes (also owners of Chateau Pichon Baron), and run by the inimitable Christian Seely. Yields are very low for the Grand Vin Liquoreux this year at just 12hl/ha – the 2023 vintage is generous, with distinct acidity, a very classic botrytised character and similarities to the stunning 2021 vintage. It offers purity and intensity. As for the dry white wines, these are becoming increasingly important for the estate, with the long-term vision to specialise more and more in this category. The Vieillies Vignes Blanc Sec uses old vines from the estate (45-60 years old) and is a blend of 57% Semillon and 43% Sauvignon Blanc mostly aged in barrel of which 12% are new.

Tasting Notes

“The 2023 Suduiraut (100% Sémillon) is a real stunner. Light on its feet yet wonderfully deep, the 2023 offers up a heady mix of tangerine oil, mint, white flowers, apricot and passion fruit. Readers will find a Sauternes that is more finesse than power. The 2023 is essentially a blend of three picks. The first was done at the end of September and accounted for 20% of the crop. The core of the vineyard, about 75%, was picked in a day ten window in October, following the September rains. A smaller third pick rounded out the harvest.”

98-100pts Antonio Galloni, Vinous

“The purity of the botrytis grabs your attention, with density and intensity to the dried fruit, sweetness and length. Very spicy and long. Almost oily. Really rich. 150g/L residual sugar. 100% semillon.”

97-98pts James Suckling,

“Intensity is the keyword here. The wealth of ripe, and overripe white peaches, pineapples, pears, roasted cashews, apricots, spice, and vanilla is off the hook! The wine is rich, opulent, and seductive, but there is ample racy acidity giving this sweet treat the lift it needs. Long, and seamless, this is a true, decadent treat, that lovers of sweet wines should have in their cellars. It will age for decades. The wine was made from 100% Semillon. Drink from 2025-2060.”

97-99pts Jeff Leve, The Wine Cellar Insider


CHÂTEAU Pape Clement Rouge 2023

GBP 354 per 6 IB

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Tasting this wine at the property, this was a very polished and confident showing. The estate is now using native yeasts for their fermentations and have been ageing their wine in a variety of different vessels, from concrete vats to ceramic eggs leading to less new oak flavour and a great deal more subtlety. One thing that always speaks through the best Pape Clements is the terroir. A briny, soy finish to the wine keeps plenty of tension behind the layers of pure black fruits and seamless tannin.

Tasting Notes

“The 2023 Château Pape Clément is based on 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. Its deep purple hue is followed by a beautiful array of red and black fruits, smoked tobacco, subtle leather, and savory herbs. It's not massive, but it’s medium to full-bodied, with a supple, elegant mouthfeel, seamless tannins, and just about flawless balance. Pure class with its overall balance and finesse, it should shine right out of the gate yet still have 25+ years of overall longevity. Tasted three times.”

95-97pts Jeb Dunnuck

“This is really classy with length and polish that shine brightly. Also, you see blackberry, bark, currant and mushroom character. Full-bodied with wonderfully polished tannins and a seamless finish.”

97-98pts James Suckling

CHÂTEAU Pape Clement Blanc 2023

GBP 546 per 6 IB

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Tasting Notes

“Dense and tight with a solid core of sliced Meyer lemon, lime and green apple. It’s full and very compact with a phenolic texture that runs the length of the wine. Slightly chewy, yet, it’s long and persistent with a mineral and bitter citrus undertone at the end.”

96-97pts James Suckling

“Quite floral in nature, with lemon rind, tangerine, vanilla, honeysuckle, pineapple, and white peach with a dab of honey are a pleasure in your glass. Fresh, vibrant, racy, clean, and pure, with a salty-honeyed note accompanying all of the sweet, ripe, orange, and yellow tropical fruits really works here in the mid-palate, and in the finish. The wine blends 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Semillon, 4% Sauvignon Gris, and 1% Muscadelle. Picking took place August 23 - September 7. Drink from 2025-2035.”

95pts Jeff Leve, The Wine Cellar Insider

“Pale gold colour, good grip, plenty of rise through the palate, waves of nectarine, peach pit, kiwi, saffron, mint leaf. Has structure and depth through the mid palate, coupled with fresh acidity, and can age. 48hl/ha yield.”

94pts Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux

Bordeaux Index En Primeur 2023


CHÂTEAU Ducru Beaucaillou 2023

GBP 744 per 6 IB

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The 2023 vintage is the 21st vintage of the charismatic Bruno-Eugène Borie, running the property. His goal – to make “the best possible nectars from these blessed terroirs” – has been achieved, and some; he has transformed the château into one of the most well-known and well-loved of the Grand Crus Classés.

While Ducru has gained a reputation for being one of the most hedonistic and sensuous wines of St Julien, recent vintages have focused more on precision and, if not quite restraint, then harmony. The 2023 vintage is one where the Cabernet Sauvignon reached an exceptionnaly high level, and thus represents 83% of the blend this year. Tasting the wine, it is the Cabernet character which really makes itself known on the palate with thrilling focus and energy, with saline and mineral accents.

Ducru Beaucaillou is an estate we love and follow ever year. It’s true that since Bruno Borie took the helm in 2003, he has transformed the estate into one of the consistent overperformers of the appellation. Under the modern Borie era, production has been slashed to nearly half of what it was in 1982, a deliberate move to enhance concentration and quality. Even more stringent is the selection of plots for the Grand Vin, further reducing the available volume. Today, Ducru's Grand Vin represents only around a third of their production in St Julien at just 7000-9000 cases a year.

Tasting Notes

“Lovely vibrant purple colour in the glass. Smells fragrant and lifted, a combination of sweet and ripe and fresh blackcurrant and black cherries on the nose with a touch of dark chocolate. Smooth and so silky, but rich too, there’s depth and weight but not too much. I love the texture - grippy and filling no doubt, it coats the mouth with a crushed velvet texture, you feel the ripeness but there’s such lift and effortless purity of fruit that it feels fresh too. No extra fat, but equally it’s not too lean, not strict at all, where many are. Not hollow, not light, there’s no let up. Juicy cherry, blackcurrant and blueberry with lots of liquorice on the finish. Feels well crafted. Maybe not as immediately moreish as some, but this is really well made. Feels elegant and stylish.7pH. 89 IPT. Ageing 18 months, 100% new oak. 12% press.”

97pts Georgina Hindle, Decanter

“Glass-staining violet. A serious Ducru, delivered with precision and balance, with plenty of concentration and a slow, long build, layered, fine and sappy tannins. Proof again that this is a great Cabernet year in this corner of Bordeaux, less velvet concentration than the 2022 Ducru perhaps, but more finesse and packed full of nuance, and a saline mouthwatering finish. 41hl/h yield, 100% new oak, with long seasoning of up to five years, nine different coopers.”

96pts Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux

“This is a very enticing Ducru this year opening with aromas of black tea, sandalwood, cocoa nibs, violets and iris lifting from the glass. Super energy here, with drive and poise coming from the fine-grained powdery tannin. Overall, an athletic wine while also showing a sense of transparency, with a fine graphite core. Merlot helps to add a little flesh to the palate. There is a lovely hint of black olive, liquorice root, and soy giving a subtle bitter tinge. Lovely texture through the tannins which feel so finely layered. Long and sinewy - real focus to the wine on the finish.

96-98pts Robert Mathias MW, Bordeaux Index

Bordeaux Index En Primeur 2023 Ausone

CHÂTEAU Ausone 2023

GBP 2640 per case 6 IB

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Ausone is the King of St Emilion, looking down from its lofty perch high above the town and boasting some of the greatest Cabernet Franc grown anywhere on the planet. In a year where Cabernet Franc did so well in the late September sun, this year it comprises a full 60% of the blend. While this year’s Ausone has real aromatic intensity, there is density at its core that will repay careful cellaring. This small family estate, at just 7ha in size, allows almost fanatic attention to be paid to the vines which cling to the hillside surrounding the property. Even with the 100% new oak used this year, the vibrant energy from the limestone soils shines through imbuing the wine with thrilling animation.

Pauline Vauthier has been in charge of the winemaking since 2005, having worked in vineyards across France and South Africa. The vineyards have been organically farmed (but not certified) since her arrival, and given the steepness of the slopes, everything is done by hand. Ausone is a truly remarkable wine that displays the true majesty of their old vine Cabernet Franc.

Tasting Notes

“A blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot, the 2023 Ausone has a pH of 3.63 and a deep garnet-purple color. It is very mute and reticent to show its personality to start, needing a lot of shaking and pleading to coax out a series of intense scents: fresh blackberries, violets, licorice, pencil shavings, and tar, leading to an undercurrent of Sichuan pepper and fertile loam. The medium-bodied palate has wonderful tension and is incredibly taut and tight-knit, offering glimpses at layers of mineral and floral accented fresh blackberry flavors. It is textured by incredibly ripe, fine-grained tannins, delivering a very long finish, laced with mineral sparkles.”

98-100pts Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Independent

“The 2023 Ausone was picked September 14 to 30 and matured for a planned 20 months. It has a wonderful bouquet that is very floral in style and perfectly controlled, perhaps more refined than the 2022 (which incidentally had a degree more in alcohol). The palate is medium-bodied with a silky smooth entry, finely tuned with impressive mineralité. It just gently "rolls out" on the languorous finish. This is a more understated Ausone compared to recent vintages, but it exudes sophistication and could easily surpass the Vauthiers' 2022.”

96-98pts Neal Martin, Vinous

“A tightly wound Ausone that slowly unfurls from the glass giving cocoa nibs, embers, oyster shell, and soy. Ripeness and silkiness here: sweetness and charm to the fruit, but a grandeur and poise to the tannins which are seamless and so fine grained. Crushed rocks and iris at the core of the wine this really builds in tension such a drive with real salinity on the finish.”

96-98pts Robert Mathias MW, Bordeaux Index

Chapelle d'Ausone 2023

GBP 726 per case 6 IB

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Tasting Notes

“A blend of 60% Cabernet Franc, 35% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2023 Chapelle d’Ausone is a combination of two plots, plus some press wine. It has a deep garnet-purple color and after a little shaking the nose erupts with notes of wild strawberries, black raspberries, and wood smoke, followed by nuances of garrigue and fallen leaves, with a hint of iron ore. Medium-bodied, the palate vibrates with electric black and red berry layers, framed by fine-grained tannins and great tension, finishing long and shimmery. Impressive!”

93-95pts Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Independent

“Opens with iodine, iris, violets and black hedgerow fruit - really caressing and precise on the palate. Very detailed, flowing across the palate like a fine web but bright acidity and salinity running through the core here. Lovely tension - poised, fine, and charming”

92-94pts Robert Mathias MW, Bordeaux Index

CHÂTEAU de Fonbel 2023

GBP 158 per 12 IB

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For us, this property represents such brilliant value for money. With all the winemaking know-how of the Vauthier family (also owners of Ausone, La Clotte, Moulin St Georges, Haut-Simard & Simard), Château de Fonbel can be your everyday Ausone. This year the wine is a blend of 64% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Carménère. Tasting this at the estate, this is a more supple and athletic style of Fonbel which really shows the elegance and classicism of the vintage. Give it a few years in bottle and open your first in the next 5 years.

Owned by the Vauthier family, since 1971, Fonbel is a 16ha vineyard which lays claim to the largest amount of Carménère planted on the right bank. The terroir is a mix of clay, sand and gravel soils at the bottom of the slope not far from Ausone, and Moulin St-Georges, the family’s other properties. Ausone expertise without the price tag, this is a wine to enjoy any night of the week.

“Intense redcurrant, blueberry and blackberry fruit, good vivacity and crunch, with tannins that have austerity but enough juice running through them to ensure balance. This is higher Merlot in the blend than Château Simard from the same range, but the character of the fruit is darker and more textured. Enjoyable.”

92pts Jane Anson

“Cherries, licorice, flowers, and a hint of spice fill the perfume. Medium-bodied, silky, elegant, and fresh, with soft, creamy tannins, and sweetness to the red berries on the mid-palate, and in the finish, with a refreshing edge of tobacco leaf on the backend of the finish. The wine blends 64% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 8% Carmenere. Drink from 2027-2038.”

91-93pts Jeff Leve


CHÂTEAU Haut-Brion, Premier Cru Classe, Pessac-Leognan 2023

GBP 1890 per case 6 IB

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The 2023 vintage at Haut Brion is a true success and numbers among one of the wines of the vintage – receiving a potential 100pts from Jane Anson. Like so many wines this vintage, it is the Cabernet that really sings in the blend, profiting from the late September sun. While the 2023 Haut Brion shows thrilling power and intensity, it also shows a brooding classicism and suppleness which suggests this will be a very long lived Haut Brion. This year the blend comprises 52.3% Merlot, 38.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 9.1% Cabernet Franc.

Managed under the auspices of Domaines Clarence Dillon, owned and run by Prince Robert of Luxembourg, Haut Brion has continually delivered excellence for many decades. Arguably it is the sheer consistency of Haut Brion that sets it apart from its peers. It can be relied upon to deliver a distinctive personality; it is naturally a restrained, cerebral wine which delivers layer upon layer of complexity as it ages. However in strong vintages it transports the drinker to new heights with its textural magic and freshness – and in the very best years, it creates a wine that can do all the above, and live for an unimaginably long time.

Tasting Notes

“This is an exceptional Haut-Brion, offering juice and elegant balance alongside classically structured layers, generous but restrained, sense of architecture and building blocks of a truly great Left Bank wine. Rippling with sinewy muscles, juicy and controlled, packed with cocoa bean, espresso, liouqorice root, but none of these flavours dominate, knitted together, with a vertical lift. 100% new oak, Jean-Philippe Delmas director, Jean-Philippe Masclef technical director, no outside consultant.”

98-100pts Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux

“A stand out wine from Haut-Brion this year and one of the most charming Primeur samples from the estate. A little sombre on the nose, quiet with dark fruit, blackcurrant and brambles. Not so open on the nose, but this wows on the palate - rich, dense for the vintage, weighty in the mouth, clearly ripe and so filling. Chewy and alive, this is brilliant with a buzz of acidity, a sharp, sour, tartness but all so excellently delivered. So charming and so cuddly, this wine wants you to adore it. Bright and voluptuous, and not many can say that in this vintage. Really so great and still with chocolate, mint, pepper, raspberries, and floral notes all the way through. A complete knock out because it has flesh, juice, brightness and style. 3.7ph 4.3 acidity 80 IPT - second highest year after 2010 for the concentration. 42% grand vin production. A potential 100-point wine.”

98-100pts Georgina Hindle, Decanter

“A serious and supple Haut Brion, this opens with a hum of gravel and graphite. A little coaxing brings crushed violets and liquorice root too. The texture on the palate is extraordinary - chewy, firm, sinewy, and real saline grip to the tannin here. Brooding and intense there is a vertical structure to the wine, all the while clothed in cassis and black cherry fruit. This edges on the side of mineral for the moment with subtle ember notes on the end. Athletic and sinewy this really builds on the palate - it will be an extraordinary Haut Brion in the decades to come.”

97-99pts Robert Mathias MW, Bordeaux Index

CHÂTEAU La Mission Haut-Brion, Premier Cru Classe, Pessac-Leognan 2023

GBP 1110 per case 6 IB

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The 2023 La Mission Haut Brion has been released at GBP 2220/12. As is ever the case, while some opt for Haut Brion in any given vintage, others will opt for La Mission. In this vintage La Mission shows the characteristic perfume of this estate, with creamy and caressing tannins. This wine shows the highest IPT level (density of tannin) at the estate since 2010 – a strong comparison! – and without doubt this is a vintage of La Mission that will require time in bottle to show its full potential.

This year La Mission represents just 47% of the production of the estate. Tasting at the estate a few weeks ago, what was most striking about the wine was the juxtaposition between the density at the core of the wine and the seamless, caressing feel to the tannins. This year a blend of 52.7% Merlot, 29.6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17.7% Cabernet Franc, this is a La Mission Haut Brion that shows its pedigree with effortless finesse.

It’s been said a million times but it bears repeating: if ever there was a revision of the 1855 Bordeaux Classification, then La Mission Haut Brion would surely be on the roll call for First Growth status. Boasting more 100 (RP) pointers than either Lafite or Margaux, the Dillon family can feel extremely proud that their work on La Mission has put it on a par with the very best wines of the region, and the world. Indeed, in the panoply of great vintages, especially during the last 30 years, La Mission exceeds almost all other Chateaux! A feat that is nothing short of extraordinary.

Tasting Notes

“One of the finest wines in the vintage, the 2023 Château La Mission Haut-Brion is based on 52.7% Merlot, 29.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Cabernet Franc. It's one hell of a gorgeous wine offering a massive nose of black raspberries, graphite, liquid flowers, scorched earth, and chocolate-like aromas and flavors. It delivers remarkable purity, full-bodied richness, no hard edges, and fine-grained, sweet tannins. The overall balance paired with opulence here is something to behold, and it’s incredible to find this level of quality in the vintage.”

96-100pts Jeb Dunnuck

“Perfumed and expressive this has intoxicating intensity. Very silky and flows over the palate with a wonderful soy and liquorice core, there is an iodine and inky vein running through the wine. Crushed rocks too with liquorice, violets and a hint of exoticism too. Ends with a sense of finesse and transparency but will need time to settle into itself.”

95-97pts Robert Mathias MW, Bordeaux Index

CHÂTEAU Lynch-Bages 2023

GBP 420 per 6 IB

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What can we tell you that you don’t already know about Lynch Bages? A humble Fifth Growth which, along with Pontet Canet, triggered the expression Flying Fifth, Lynch has risen well above its 1855 classification and stood shoulder to shoulder with the likes of the Pichons and, on occasion, the First Growths. Thanks to the tireless work of the Cazes family which, over the course of three generations, has transformed the estate through relentless modernisation, innovation, and international promotion into one of the most celebrated names in Bordeaux. Superbly sited on a plateau west of Pauillac town, the 100 hectares of scattered vineyards lie predominantly on deep gravel beds over limestone affording perfect conditions for Cabernet to thrive. Alongside their neighbours at Latour and Pichon-Baron, Lynch’s style of structure, finesse and power has come to represent the very character of modern Pauillac.

Tasting Notes

“Blackberry, black cherry, crushed stone and graphite. Lead pencil, too. It’s full-bodied with juicy, chewy tannins. Vertical and layered with lovely length. Quite plush. Chewy tannins at the end. Cabernet sauvignon driven. Showing excellent potential.”

97-98pts James Suckling,

“The 2023 Lynch-Bages is a dark, brooding wine. In so many vintages, Lynch-Bages is a wine of sensuality, but in 2023, it is quite the powerhouse. Formidable tannins wrap around a core of black fruit, spice, menthol, licorice and gravel. This is a somber, introspective Lynch-Bages with a ton of Cabernet Sauvignon character. I can't wait to taste this from bottle.”

94-97pts Antonio Galloni, Vinous


CHÂTEAU Cheval Blanc, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2023

GBP 2340 per 6 IB

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As usual, Cheval Blanc is one of the early releases in the campaign and the 2023 release is no exception. This year the wine is comprised of 46 of the 56 parcels of vines at the estate, and the Grand Vin represents 75% of the production of the estate. It is a year where the Cabernet Franc flourished, due to the warm weather in late September, and counts for 46% of the blend this year, with 52% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.

An estate committed to sustainable and regenerative viticulture, the vineyards themselves are a thing of beauty. There are three pillars of what the estate calls ‘anti-conventional’ viticulture: agroforestry, vegetation cover, and polyculture. Through these tools the estate is working to nurture a fully sustainable and accountable form of agriculture.

Tasting Notes

“One of the most profound wines of the vintage is the 2023 Cheval Blanc, a striking wine that stands out for its strong sense of identity and seamless integration at such an early stage in its life. Wafting from the glass with notes of mulberries, lilac, dark fruits, iris root and violets, it's medium to full-bodied, supple and seamless, with a gourmand core of cool, vibrant fruit that entirely conceals its sweet structuring tannins, concluding with a long, perfumed finish. It's a blend of 52% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, drawing on fully 46 of the blocks that make up Cheval Blanc, and it attained 13.8% alcohol.”

98-100pts William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

“Seamless and effortless, this year's Cheval Blanc is so harmonious at this early stage. It opens with aromas of black tea, earth, a hint of pepper, and sandalwood. Extremely poised the wine floats and envelops the palate with cassis fruit. There is extremely fine aromatic precision of violets and iris. Texturally the wine really caresses the palate and then builds and straightens. Mineral and floral in equal measure - it's precise, with a calm restraint but a quiet yet intense power too.”

97-99pts Robert Mathias MW

CHÂTEAU Leoville Barton 2eme Cru Classe, Saint-Julien, 2023

GBP 672 per 12 IB

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2023 marked the third vintage vinified in the new winery facility at the two estates. The cellar maintains the traditional character of the estate but has more than double the number of vats allowing for detailed plot by plot selection. William Kelley writes of the 2023 Leoville Barton, “Benefiting from the Barton family's new highly functional winery, as well as experimentation with more discreet cooperage choices, it's somewhat reminiscent of the estate's terrific 2016.” Tasting the wine at the estate, we strongly agree - this year’s Leoville Barton stands among the best of St Julien.

Tasting Notes

“Step into the heart of what St Julien does best here, firm and muscular but thoroughly juicy tannins, concentrated blackberry and cassis fruits that are mature but full of finesse, with just the right amount of precision and tension. This is a wine where a single glass will not be enough, and reminds you that in 2022 the wines were exceptional but atypical for many Bordeaux lovers. Here you get an understated gloriously drinkable St Julien from long-term owners the Barton family that will go the distance. 60% new oak for ageing.”

97pts Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux

“Wow, super drive from the Cabernet here, a sense of coolness and freshness running through the wine. It opens with well-defined aromas of crushed violets, cassis, and a little bitter cocoa too. Graphite, pencil shavings, wet rocks are humming beneath the surface - there is a mineral streak running next to the fruit and which triumphs at the moment. Firm, sinewy, and athletic, it is a benchmark St Julien.”

94-96pts Robert Mathias MW

CHÂTEAU Langoa Barton 2eme Cru Classe, Saint-Julien, 2023

GBP 177 per 6 IB

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The Langoa Barton this year is a total classic – not an ounce of excess this shows real purity of fruit matched with a sinewy, and athletic build. William Kelley calls out the Langoa Barton 2023 as “sure to number among the intelligent purchases of the en primeur campaign”. For the quality, you will be hard pushed to find another classed growth property that hits the mark so consistently for price and quality.

Quality is at an all-time high for this high-flying family estate with ever more precision and detail in the wines. These are intentionally never the most showy wines from St Julien, but instead speak of great terroir and great winemaking. These are must-haves from this vintage, and will give immense drinking pleasure in the years to come.

Tasting Notes

“The 2023 Langoa Barton is a very accomplished wine, the family's new winery having permitted more precise, parcel-by-parcel winemaking as well as gentler handling of the fruit to deliver a wine with all this estate's customary intensity of flavor but more polish and refinement. Unwinding in the glass with aromas of dark berries, cassis and plums mingled with hints of pencil shavings and dried rose petals, it's medium to full-bodied, with an inky core of fruit, vibrant acids and plenty of suave structuring tannin. This classic blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc is sure to number among the intelligent purchases of the en primeur campaign.”

93-95pts William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

“The 2023 Langoa Barton was picked from September 12 until October 2 at around 50hL/ha, with some "late" saignée for half the vat–when it has some “serious color,” according to Damien Barton. Two vats were chaptalized out of a total of 42, the highest at 15%, yielding an average alcohol of 13%. Matured in 60% new oak, it has a very perfumed bouquet with black plum, boysenberry and a touch of mint. This is notably forward and unabashed. The palate is medium-bodied with pliant tannins, a sorbet-fresh Langoa with a bright, almost pastille-like finish that lingers in the mouth. Very seductive and vivacious, I appreciate the nascent energy here

91-93pts Neal Martin, Vinous

CHÂTEAU Kirwan 3eme Cru Classe, Margaux 2023

GBP 174 per 6 IB

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Château Angelus during Bordeaux En Primeur 2023
Château Angelus during Bordeaux En Primeur 2023



GBP 1560 per case/6 IB

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Under the leadership of the de Bouard family, this great estate has been relentlessly pushing new heights. It is an estate that has invested heavily foremost in the vineyard under the leadership of Hubert de Bouard who directed the estate from 1985-2012. Under this time proper drainage was installed, rootstocks changes, plot by plot selection and more precise vineyard work helped carve out the reputation that the estate enjoys today. New cellars and a complete restoration of the chateau building was complete in 2014 and the estate started full conversion to organic in 2018.This is a year, as for so many on the Right Bank, where the Cabernet Franc flourished in the warm, late September weather. Continually refining their approach in the vineyard and the winery, this year the estate chose a two-week period of cool maceration between 0-3 degrees Celsius prior to fermentation. Following this, the wine was vinified at cool temperatures (between 20-22 degree Celsius). This helped to preserve and accentuate the aromatic profile of the wine while giving a very fine grained, lattice structure to the tannins. After tasting at the estate, we were all in agreement - this year we really feel the impact of the terroir on the wine.

Tasting Notes

“Gorgeous nose, floral and scented with roses and violets, expressive strawberries and raspberries and some herbal elements. Full and filling, but soft and smooth, almost crushed velvet in texture. It’s not so tense and straight but has a solid backbone of freshness and plush fruit but very cool. It’s more on the structured side than overt acidity, serious but still with crunchy blueberries, chalky blackcurrant, lots of graphite and minerality on the finish. Less fruit forward than some but layered with complexity - a subtle opulence. Fleshy ripe tannins with mouthwatering acidity adding a serious touch. It’s missing that Angelus hug on the mid palate, but I like it a lot and you can’t fault the refinement and precision on show. It’s got body, length, tannins, crunch, freshness, and a vein of minerality underpinning the expression. 3.65pH. Harvest September 14 to October 1."

97pts Georgina Hindle

“First year trying a two week cool maceration at 2C before a cooler fermentation temperature of 22C with the aim for a longer and graudual fermentation to accentuate aromatics. The 2023 Angelus is a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc. Keeping true to its promise, there is real aromatic intensity here. It leads with a little black coffee, charcoal, and cocoa nibs, with a spectrum of crunchy red and black fruits. There is a fine balance between the floral with notes of crushed violets and iris as well as a mineral tinge of graphite and iodine. There is a sense of cool restraint here - sinewy and athletic in style. Very fine grained with a compact texture, filled with violet density. This is a more poised almost ethereal effort from this estate, which finishes with a tinge of nori and oyster sauce.”

95-97pts Robert Mathias MW

Carillon d'Angelus, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2023

GBP 792 per case/6 IB

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Château Alcee, Castillon-Cotes de Bordeaux 2023

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GBP 155 per 12/IB

Château Les Charmes Godard, Francs-Cotes de Bordeaux 2023

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GBP 119 per 12/IB

Monday 6th May 2024

Château Mouton Rothschild Premier Cru Classe, Pauillac 2023

GBP 2034 per case/6 IB

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This vintage of Mouton has one of the highest proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend ever seen at the estate comprising a full 93% with the remainder of the blend made up of wonderfully intense Merlot. Tasting this last week, the purity and finesse of the Cabernet in this wine was quite simply breathtaking. We have little doubt that this will number in the very top iterations of Mouton and it is certainly one of the Left Bank wines of the vintage.

The strength of the Mouton brand has sky-rocketed in recent years; indeed, there have been few more consistent, high-ranking estates in Bordeaux over the past decade. After a somewhat lacklustre 1990s, and a couple of high points in the 2000s, it was the 2009 and 2010 that were the gamechangers and really kicked off their renaissance. And they have never looked back. Mouton have repeatedly reached excellence in ordinary vintages and have achieved beyond brilliance in outstanding vintages. The excitement around their recent releases has in turn generated more and more interest in their back vintages. This is a wine any and every Bordeaux lover will feel the compulsion to have in their cellar.

What is most exciting about the 2023 Mouton is the striking transparency of terroir. It is a wine that screams of Cabernet on gravel – Pauillac simply does not get much better than this.

Tasting Notes

“This is a masterclass in Cabernet - a head-spinning Mouton where the wine simply soars. Leading with cedar, graphite, pencil shavings, and gravel the Cabernet here is powerful but not opulent. It is super classical in feel, tannins are finely woven but dig into the palate with real tension leading all the way to finish. Really launches from the palate, sinewy tobacco, pepper, and inky cassis fruit building with intensity with every breath. Liquorice root gives a lovely, subtle bitterness - floral notes of crushed iris too. Real persistence here, so much energy that bounces all the way to the finish.”

97-99pts Robert Mathias MW, Bordeaux Index

“The 2023 Mouton Rothschild is shaping up to be one of the wines of the vintages on the Left Bank. Its balance of intense, super-concentrated fruit and equally imposing structure is spellbinding. Dark red-toned fruit, blood orange, spice, pencil shavings and dried herbs gain intensity in the glass. I especially admire its vertical build and overall energy. This is an exciting young Mouton endowed with palpable dynamic energy. It's a superb effort from the team led by Technical Director Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy.”

96-99pts Antonio Galloni, Vinous

“This is the most structured Mouton since the great 2016, with tannins that start slowly and then take off. It’s muscular and toned. It’s full-bodied but doesn’t come across too heavy. It builds up in intensity and goes on and on and on. It just keeps expanding. I took a double take here. 93% cabernet sauvignon and 7% merlot."

98-99pts James Suckling

Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac 2023

GBP £1,644 per case/6 IB

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Aile d'Argent, Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac 2023

GBP 1320 per case/6 IB

Château d'Armailhac 5eme Cru Classe, Pauillac 2023

GBP 408 per case/12 IB

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Château Talbot, tasting during Bordeaux En Primeur

Friday 3rd May 2024

Château Talbot 4eme Cru Classe, Saint-Julien 2023

GBP 462 per case/12 IB

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Tasting this at the estate alongside talented Director Jean-Michel Laporte, the 2023 Talbot is a clear success offering aromatic purity around a wonderfully transparent core of fruit. A little more Cabernet than normal in the blend (a full 77% this year), this shows quintessential St Julien character with accents of pencil shavings and gravel lifting off the core of dewy bramble fruit. Real attention has been paid to tannin management this year, with a finely chiselled and lattice like structure. While it charmed us immediately while tasting, this is a Talbot that will repay careful ageing.

Owned by the same family for over a century, Château Talbot has a privileged position on one of the highest gravel hills in St-Julien (23m above sea level is modest, yes, but not by the Médoc’s standards…), and is one of the largest estates in the appellation. Quality has been notably on the up since the 2010 vintage, with the 2016 the best for many years, but we feel the 2023 vintage will number among the best produced in recent years. Indeed, Neal Martin writes, “I may actually prefer it to the previous vintage”. Diverse innovations in both the vineyards and the cellars have led to this improvement, one of the more radical of which is their use of soundwaves in the vineyard to stimulate the vines to produce protein which in turn builds their resistance against disease.

As Jane Anson writes, in Inside Bordeaux, “As much as an 1855 estate can be ‘one to watch’, Talbot qualifies for the title.” And we firmly believe that the 2023 is one of the best value buys in St Julien today!

Tasting Notes

“The 2023 Talbot is another strong wine for this re-emerging estate. Powerful, deep and impressively resonant, the 2023 is striking. Dark-toned fruit, new leather, lavender and dried herbs build over time. There's terrific depth and intensity here, with fine balance to match. This is a superb showing from Talbot and the team led by Estate Director Jean-Michel Laporte.”

93-95pts Antonio Galloni, Vinous

“More proof that Talbot is on a roll, revved up and ready to take off. This is a brilliantly juicy but understated Talbot, lovely quality, classically-minded with cassis, blueberry, mint leaf, cocoa bean, espresso and powerful grilled fennel. Great stuff. 60% new oak for ageing, and a generous 54hl/ha yield.”

94pts Jane Anson

“The blend this year comprises 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. Enticing nose of clove, cocoa, and charcoal with a succulent fruit profile of ripe plum and cassis fruit. This is an athletic, sinewy Talbot with firm yet fine-textured tannin. At its core there is graphite and pencil shaving intensity. Bright acidity, real focus and transparency with a floral, crushed violet, lift. It ends sappy and energetic.”

92-94pts Robert Mathias MW

Caillou Blanc, Château Talbot 4eme Cru Classe, Saint-Julien 2023

GBP 359 per case/12 IB

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Thursday 2nd May 2024

Château Lafite Rothschild Premier Cru Classe, Pauillac 2023

GBP 4,920 per case/12 IB

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It goes without saying that Lafite-Rothschild is one of the world’s most celebrated wines. A Pauillac of unrivalled pedigree, combining perfume and power in equal measure, Lafite can match the elegance of Margaux, the structure of Latour, the spice of Mouton and the aromatics of Haut Brion.

2023 was a year where Cabernet truly excelled, profiting from the warm dry second half of September which allowed for perfectly ripe berries. This year Cabernet comprises a full 93% of the blend which explains the remarkable clarity and mineral focus to the wine this year. While the 2022 wine was impressive in the muscular concentration given by this solar vintage, the 2023 Lafite is somehow even more Lafite. More cerebral, more mineral, and with a shimmering tension.

We found it to be one of the most impressive wines of the vintage somehow translating the essence of both the vintage and the terroir into liquid form. It is a remarkable effort from this estate and like so many wines of this vintage shows aromatic immediacy but this is clearly a wine that will reward patience.

Tasting Notes

“This hits you right off the first nose, driven by slate and crushed rocks, setting the tone and the architecture, guiding the fruit through the palate. Cassis, bilberry, tobacco leaf, graphite, crushed mint, finessed and sculpted, this is a gorgeous Lafite, with fine tannins and the squid ink character that seems to be present in all of this stable of wines except Moulin de Duhart. Hidden power, where nothing is too much and yet everything is concentrated, once again proving that the terroir at this particular spot has its own personality that stands out every year. High Cabernet as ever, combined with around 15% press wine. Not the concentration of 2022, but in many ways showcasing the essence of Lafite more squarely, and this will delight anyone lucky enough to own it in future years. 45hl/h yield, highest since 2015, harvest September 7 to 29. 100% new oak. New cellar underway, due for completion in 2027. I am giving it 10 years to begin entering its opening window, a little less than usual but it will make no difference to how long you can cellar it."

98-100pts Jane Anson

“The 2023 Lafite Rothschild is deep garnet-purple in color. After a little swirling, wonderfully pure notes of boysenberries, wild blueberries, and blackcurrants emerge from the glass, followed by hints of violets, dark chocolate, licorice, and fertile loam with a hint of black truffle. The light to medium-bodied palate delivers electric sparks of vibrant black berry and mineral flavors framed by super-ripe, fine-grained tannins and great tension, finishing long and shimmery. A wine that is so, so cerebral, this is a vintage well played by Lafite. The blend is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot, with pH 3.76, and an alcohol of just 12.9%.”

97-99pts Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Independent

“The finest of the first growths this year appears to be the 2023 Lafite Rothschild, a terrific effort that unwinds in the glass with deep and incipiently complex aromas of cassis, pencil shavings, lilac and violets mingled with hints of cigar wrapper and mint. Medium to full-bodied, layered and concentrated, it's vibrant and refined, with a deep core of fruit, plenty of sweet structuring tannin and a compelling marriage between energy and plenitude. It's a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot that reminds me of 2019's tannins combined with 2016's unimpeachable classicism.”

97-99pts William Kelley

Château Duhart-Milon 4eme Cru Classe, Pauillac 2023

GBP 684 per case/12 IB

95pts Jane Anson

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Château L'Evangile, Bordeaux

Château L'Evangile, Pomerol 2023

GBP 1,896 per case/12 IB

94-96pts Robert Mathias MW, Bordeaux Index

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L’Evangile is one of the major focuses for the DBR (Lafite) Group and Saskia de Rothschild is already working to drive the quality ever upwards; it’s clear that they have huge ambitions for the estate – hardly surprising when you consider the incredible potential of their land which borders Cheval Blanc to the south and Petrus to the north! This year, it was the terroir of Evangile that made all the difference. The clay soils adding to the depth and complexity of the wine, while Cabernet Franc on gravel helped to bring structure and tension.

Tasting the wine at the estate last week confirmed our suspicions – Pomerol in the 2023 vintage is one of the most successful appellations. This year features a little more Cabernet Franc in the blend than last year, which were picked until the end of September. What struck us while tasting the wine was the aromatic precision on this year’s Evangile. If we had to sum up the wine in just three words, they would be: perfume, tension, finesse. This Pomerol comes highly recommended!

Tasting Notes

“A fascinating exercise in terroir, as this shows the same alcohol as the Blason, but the density, fruit character and even the IPT (tannin) count are very different. You see the impact of clay soils in the building of the powerful architecture and the plush damson and black cherry fruits. There is density but tenderness to the tannins, with grilled caramel that gives a beautiful Pomerol signature. Violet floral edging arrives towards the finish, as things open up, and this is an impressive L'Evangile that can age with ease. 42hl/h yield, a record in recent years here. Certified organic since 2021. Great stuff from technical director Juliette Couderc.”

96pts Jane Anson

“A very classy Evangile - it starts with a little soy, cocoa dust and roasted coffee beans. There is rich black cherry fruit, black plums, iodine, and some more crushed violets. Quite compact structure that fans out gracefully across the palate. Inky texture, with line of acidity and mineral driving through. Finishes with a fine sense of bitter tapenade tinge.”

94-96pts Robert Mathias MW, Bordeaux Index

Château Valandraud Premier Grand Cru Classe B, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2023

GBP 1,080 per case/12 IB

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Tuesday 30th April 2024

Château Leoville Las Cases 2023

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GBP 1,662 per case/12 IB

Tasting this wine last week, this is an ode to Cabernet Sauvignon which makes up 86% of the blend this year, with 10% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Merlot. Showing the distinctive gravel and graphite core that is famous from this estate, the 2023 Las Cases delivers classicism and modernity all at once. Like the best wines from this estate, it will require patience.

One of the most legendary wines of Bordeaux, Leoville Las Cases borders the northern end of St Julien and the southern tip of Pauillac and carries many of the characteristics of both. The heart of the Las Cases vineyard is the Grand Clos: 50ha of vines with two small hills with deep gravel soils on clay and sand. Sharing exact proximity to the river with Chateau Latour and separated from this First Growth only by a meagre dribble of water known as the Ruisseau de Juillac, Las Cases delivers a perfect combination of intensity and minerality much like its next-door neighbour.

Las Cases’ stoic proprietor Jean-Hubert Delon and his ultra-talented team made the very best of this complex, yin-yang vintage, sculpting a wine of incredible class, finesse, and precision.

Tasting Notes

“Structured and powerful, this is not as forbidding as En Primeur in many vintages of Las Cases, showing both flesh and florality, but the tannic walls of this great estate remain fully in place, coupled with layers of cassis and bilberry fruits, subtle hints of bitter aniseed, fennel, cola, espresso, squid ink, textured slate tannins. Expect inky depths and unashamed austerity, a wine that will take its time to open, making no excuses for demanding patience. So so good, with a balance and classicism that delivers on the best of the vintage. 80% new oak, 6.6% press wine, 3.79h, harvest September 9 to October 2, 43hl/h yield. First year in the new cellars, with 43.5ha going into the main wine from the historic walled vineyard site.”

98pts Jane Anson

“Bright, gorgeous, expressive aromatics of dark purple and black fruit. A sense of opulence and clear Cabernet effects on the nose. Supple and agile, juicy and succulent, a rich almost thick cherry juiciness, fleshy, ripe and cool. Lovely minty, liquorice and graphite undertone that keep the freshness going to a long finish. It’s a bit bolder than I expected for LLC and also a bit bigger for the vintage. A characterful style, certainly not missing any body but retains pure charm - this is out to please, certainly not tough or too serious, this is more easy to approach. Lots of herbal elements, pencil lead, graphite and wet stone with cloves and cinnamon. It’s still compact no doubt, but despite the power there’s finesse and it ends clean and lifted. Up there with the best of the vintage. With 4% Merlot, it’s the lowest percentage ever in the blend - 2022 was 5%. 43hl/ha yield. Harvest September 9 to October 2. 6.6% press. 3.79pH. Ageing 18 months, 50% new.”

98pts Georgina Hindle, Decanter

Château Doisy Daene 2eme Cru Classe, Barsac 2023

GBP 372 per case/12 IB

93/94pts James Suckling

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Château Guiraud Premier Cru Classe, Sauternes 2023

GBP 481 per case/12 IB

96/97pts James Suckling

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Château Lilian Ladouys, Saint-Estephe 2023

GBP 144 per case/12 IB

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Château Nenin, Pomerol 2023

GBP 576 per case/12 IB

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The Delon family bought the estate in 1997 and renovations began in 2004 – but in these early years, quality remained somewhat lacklustre. So what has changed at Nenin in recent years to pique our interest? Well, an awful lot. Despite being a large estate (some 30 hectares) only the grapes from the true Pomerol plateau, around 14 hectares bordering the remarkable Trotanoy, go into the Grand Vin; the remainder goes into the second wine, Fugue de Nenin. Since ’97 there has been a serious restructuring of the vineyard, new drainage installed, a new vat room fitted and ageing cellars renovated.

Furthermore an increase in the volume of Cabernet Franc in the blend – as much as 36% in 2022 – has helped bring not only definition and aromatics, but a real sense of uniqueness. Indeed only the great Lafleur can boast more in Pomerol. And it’s not just the volume of Cab Franc, it’s the quality: the majority is around 25 years of age but there are sections as old as 80 years. These older vines and clay sub-soils were so crucial in 2022 to cope with the well-reported dryness of the vintage.

Tasting Notes

“A blend of 64% Merlot and 36% Cabernet Franc, the 2022 Nenin delivers aromas of cherries, violets, sweet berries and rose petals, followed by a medium to full-bodied, deep and fleshy palate that's rich, succulent and seamless, its ample core of fruit largely concealing its sweet, powdery tannins.”

93-95pts WK, The Wine Advocate

“Ripe black cherries, red plums, spice, dried herbs, and chocolate all emerge from the 2022 Château Nenin, an incredibly ripe, sexy, full-bodied Pomerol revealing a broad, opulent mid-palate and velvety tannins. Based on 64% Merlot and 36% Cabernet Franc, this is another concentrated, inky-hued, powerful 2022 that's going to demand bottle age.”

92-94pts Jeb Dunnuck

Château Potensac, Medoc 2023

GBP 180 per case/12 IB

93/94pts James Suckling

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Clos du Marquis, Saint-Julien 2023

GBP 462 per case/12 IB

95/96pts James Suckling

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Le Petit Lion du Marquis de Las Cases, Saint-Julien 2023

GBP 432 per case/12 IB

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Château Pontet-Canet 5eme Cru Classe, Pauillac 2023

GBP 789 per case/12 IB

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Tasting this wine last week, the 2023 Pontet-Canet stood out for us as one of the best wines from this estate in recent memory. It all comes down to a gamble that paid off. By the 20th September with the Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot in the cellar the Tesseron family faced a choice. With the threat of between 60-100mm of rainfall predicted later that month, the choice was to harvest at lower ripeness or risk losing the crop. After detailed discussion the family chose to risk it. In the end, the gamble paid off and picking resumed on the 28th September and ran until 10th October in ideal conditions giving the most beautiful Cabernet fruit. The span of 34 days picking makes this the longest ever harvest at this estate.

Pontet-Canet stands alone not only in Pauillac, but in Bordeaux. They have long blazed their own trail, in both the vineyard and the cellar, and the results of their work are often extraordinary. As Jane Anson writes in Inside Bordeaux, “Everybody’s favourite Super-Second story, Pontet-Canet has been hugely influential over the past decade, cheerleading the idea of a classified estate embracing a more ecologically-sound approach through organics and biodynamics.” In 2023 the estate has utilised a newly-completed section of their cellars, in particular some distinctive egg-shaped wooden vats.

Combining the best of modern and traditional production techniques, Pontet-Canet work in a minimal intervention way in the winery, creating a wine which is always utterly and joyfully individual. We were impressed by the expressiveness of this new vintage, which showed freshness and focus, a floral and spicily seductive perfume, and a velvety, almost sumptuous texture. Only half of the blend was matured in new oak, with 35% in concrete amphorae, and the balance in one-year-old barrels; the relatively modest proportion of new oak, and the concrete and old oak components, in their view helps to transmit their unique terroir.

The estate sums up their 2023 wine with the following words: Radiant, Smooth, Tactile, Vibrant, Harmonious.

Tasting Notes

“A wine to convince you of the quality and ripeness of Cabernet Sauvignon in Pauillac in this 2023 vintage, showcasing superbly supple tannins, great balance, depth and savoury blue and black fruit character, bitter cocoa bean, freshly cut herbs, black tea, fennel, all vivid and with purity of character. There is density here but it is not overt, with heightened raspberry leaf, peony and violet aromatics. Vinified in the newly-completed section of the cellars, in egg-shaped wooden vats and sunken qveri-style clay vats. 50% new oak for ageing, with 35% amphora and 15% one year old barrels. One of the wines of the vintage. New lighter bottle as of the 2022 around 490g, down from 815g in the past, 30 tonnes of CO2 saved just in terms of production. Harvest September 7, one day earlier than 2022, then slow picking through to October 10, later than many in Pauillac - and normal yields of around 40hl/h.”

98-100pts Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux

“A truly impressive Pontet-Canet this year - and one of the longest harvests ever at this estate lasting over a month. This begins rather spicy on the nose, pepper, incense, embers. Incredible precision of aromatics here giving liquorice, fresh earth and violets. Vibrating acidity, with focus and drive to the Cabernet which leads the charge. Fine grained, supple tannins, tinged with a graphite and iodine edge, very mineral. It feels athletic and sinewy on the palate with cassis fruit driving all the way to the finish. Super energy here, very refined style."

96-98pts Robert Mathias MW, Bordeaux Index

Monday 29th April 2024

Château Batailley 2023

GBP 324 per case/12 IB

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The 2023 Bordeaux En Primeur campaign is out of the blocks bright an early, with the release of one of our favourite Pauillac estates, Château Batailley. An ever-popular Pauillac, which truly does justice to the term “classic” – where classic is defined as inherently elegant and appetisingly fresh (not thin and dry!) – Batailley is the only Pauillac estate to have been divided since the 1855 classification and to retain the classification for both sides (in 1942 it was divided into Batailley and Haut-Batailley).

While the château has a well-established reputation “for its steady performance and ability to deliver classified Pauillac typicity at a fair price” (JA), this 5th Growth, on its super gravelly plateau, has been on a roll in recent years and the run from 2015 has delivered fantastic, rather than merely steady, quality…

Tasting Notes

"You want to know what Pauillac tastes like, roll up and enjoy this vintage of Batailley. Squid ink, slate, cassis, bilberry, slate, crayon, black chocolate, plenty of tannic grip, a smudge of grilled cedar oak and a squeeze of mint, it's all here. 57% new oak for ageing. Harvest September 12 through to October 5, Axel Marchal consultant, Philippe and Frederic Castéja owners."

96pts Jane Anson

“Beautiful fruit with currants and blackberries, as well as notes of walnuts and chocolate. So much blackberry fruit here. Aromatic. Medium- to full-bodied with very fine tannins on the deep and structured palate. Racy and long finish. 79% cabernet sauvignon, 19% merlot and 2% petit verdot."

95-96pts James Suckling