The Latest En Primeur 2023 Releases: from 7th June 2024

Bordeaux Index

13 June 2024

Read on for the latest Bordeaux En Primeur 2023 releases:

Bordeaux Index En Primeur 2023 La Conseillante


La Conseillante 2023

GBP 894 per 6 IB

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One of the most beguiling wines of 2023 is released today, the magical La Conseillante is offered at GBP 1788 per 12 IB. The charming and brilliant Marielle Cazaux has woven her magic threads again to produce the most ethereal wine of 2023. Hand-sorting, pre-fermentation cold maceration, parcel by parcel vinification, manual pump-overs are all the tricks to create a perfumed masterpiece of classical proportions.

Tasting Notes

98-100 WK The Wine Advocate “One of the great wines of the vintage, and one that can rival its 2022 counterpart, the 2023 La Conseillante wafts from the glass with a strikingly floral bouquet of violets, lilac, raspberries, exotic spices, candied orange, pipe tobacco and rose petals. Medium to full-bodied, supple and fleshy, its textural attack segues into a layered and enveloping core of pure, vibrant fruit framed by sweet tannins and concluding with a long, precise finish. It's a blend of 88% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc, some 30% of which is maturing in amphorae. Harvest began on September 7, lasting until October 2, block by block.”

97-99 JL The Wine Cellar Insider
“Violets, black raspberries, spice, chocolate, truffle, and black cherries begin the perfume. The palate is where the wine shines, with its vibrant display of black with red fruits. The striking purity, elegance, and textures, silky tannins, and length leave quite an impression. The adage, "Patience is a virtue" is the key the success this year, as they needed to wait for the desired level of phenolic maturity. The wine blends 88% Merlot with 12% Cabernet Franc. 7.5% press wine. 14% ABV, 3.68 pH. The harvest took place September 7 - October 2. Drink from 2029-2060.”

Bordeaux Index En Primeur 2023 Chateau Figeac

Château Figeac 2023.

GBP 894 per 6 IB

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2023 is another magnificent Chateau Figeac – so what’s new?! Orchestrator-in-chief, Frederic Faye, has conducted a multi-voice symphony of athletic finesse and seductive harmonies from the estate’s myriad terroirs. The traditional Figeac triumvirate of equal parts Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc and Merlot has been tweaked slightly this vintage to include more of the last variety to balance the sheer power of the accompanying Cabs. But it remains very much the impeccably balanced thoroughbred 1st Growth St-Emilion that more than deserves its recent classification upgrade.

Tasting Notes

97-99pts JL The Wine Cellar Insider “Just a single swirl brings out the flowers, leaves, tobacco, truffle, black cherry, plums, and black raspberries. From there you discover the medium-bodied, silky, energetic backdrop for all of the black cherries exuding their gorgeous sense of purity. There are no hard edges. This is the quintessential definition of elegance. For history buffs, this is the 130th vintage under the ownership of the Manoncourt family. The wine blends 41% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, and 37% [sic] Cabernet Sauvignon. 5% Press wine. 13.5% ABV, 3.68 pH, 5% press wine. The key to the vintage was two green harvests and finding the best picking dates, which encompass a long wait for the Cabernets to mature. Picking took place September 6 - October 5. The length of the harvest is due to the 12 day break between the Merlot and the Cabernets. Drink from 2029-2065.”

98pts JA Inside Bordeaux
“Fragrant floral aromatics straight off the bat, peony and violet, and a vibrant juiciness that travels through the palate. Savoury dark fruit character, with flint and textural interest, full of Figeac finesse. 130th vintage of the Manoncourt family at Figeac, and the first vintage where they knew they were Premier Grand Cru Classé A from the start of the season, as it was announced in September 2022. 130mm of rain lower than average over the growing season here, allowing a long slow harvest from September 6 to October 5, 45hl/h yield.”


Beausejour (Duffau-Lagarrosse) 2023

GBP 321 per 3 IB

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The generational shift in Bordeaux has seen much bouleversement over the past few years but perhaps the most talked about has been the transition and transformation at the enigmatic St-Emilion property, Beausejour (Duffau-Lagarrosse). As with many estates in France, over the course of several generations, the ownership has subdivided into the hands of multiple cousins and their multifarious descendants.

Indeed after being in the Duffau-Lagarrosse family for almost two centuries, it involved Josephine, today the ninth generation to steward the property, having to manage the buy-out of over 30 family shareholders. Neither was it that simple, for at least two other families, the de Bouards (Angelus) and Cuveliers (Clos Fourtet) were also in close contention to seizing the prize. The late intervention of Prisca Courtin-Clarins of the eponymous Clarins beauty product empire, however, blended with some quirks in the French legal system, finally sealed the deal for Josephine to buy out her relatives and become sole custodian of the chateau. This was back in 2021.

Tasting Notes

97-99pts JL The Wine Cellar Insider “Quite floral in nature, the perfume adds nuances of cherries, licorice, red fruits, cocoa, and spice. The medium-bodied palate balances its freshness, elegance, silky tannins, and most importantly, purity in its layers of sweet, ripe, red fruits. Complex, and refined, everything is in balance here with no hard edges. The lingering finish delivers layers of vibrant red berries. This is effortless to drink. But, do not let that fool you, as this is also a candidate for decades of aging. The wine blends 70% Merlot with 30% Cabernet Franc. 14% ABV, 3.41 pH. The harvest took place September 13 - September 29 for the Merlot, and October 2-3 for Cabernet Franc. This is the longest harvest in the history of the estate. Drink from 2028- 2055.”

96-98pts WK The Wine Advocate
“Joséphine Duffau Lagarrosse's third vintage at this terrific hillside terroir is her most impressive to date. The 2023 Beauséjour (Duffau Lagarrosse) offers up aromas of black raspberries, mulberries, violets, spices and incense, followed by a medium to full-bodied, deep and layered palate that's seamless, suave and concentrated, with lively acids, beautiful purity of fruit and a long, mineral, gently balsamic finish. It's a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, picked on nine days between September 13 and October 3. Duffau Lagarrosse's work on oak selection (she favors Burgundy's cooperage Cadus, among others) has delivered much more seamless integration at this early stage, and her attentive approach to extraction is already bearing fruit in the form of tannins that are more polished and refined than was formerly the case at this address. It's a brilliant effort from a property with almost limitless potential.”

Château Montrose 2023

GBP 714 per 6 IB

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Today sees one of the most anticipated releases of the campaign thus far, the potential 100-point scoring Chateau Montrose 2023 is offered at GBP 1428 per 12 IB.

It’s impossible to overstate how impressive the investments and ameliorations have been at this ‘de facto First Growth’ (WK) since the Bouygues family purchased the property almost two decades ago and under the direction of Pierre Graffeuille. Deep dives into the diverse nature of the estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon vines – some planted back at the turn of the 20th century – have helped focus their replanting program, while cover crops and minimal disruption of the soils to protect the microbiome are now part of a wholistic sustainable viticulture.

Tasting Notes

97-100pts WK The Wine Advocate “The 2023 Montrose is another brilliant wine from an estate that's now routinely among Bordeaux's very best, year in, year out. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, derived exclusively from the estate's historic core on the fourth terrace situated just in front of the château itself, it unwinds in the glass with aromas of cassis and wild berries mingled with notions of lilac, violet and pencil shavings. Full-bodied, deep and layered, with a textural attack that segues into a dense, multidimensional mid-palate framed by beautifully ripe tannins and lively acids, it concludes with a long, resonant finish. It will be worth a special effort to seek out.”

97-100pts JD Jeb Dunnuck
“Made from a strict selection of only the best terroirs (terrace 4) around the estate and the oldest vines, the 2023 Château Montrose is a more Cabernet Sauvignon-driven wine than normal and is based on 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc that will see 18 months in 60% new French oak. The result is a more plush, deep, opulent wine that has classic Montrose darker, almost blue fruits, violets, chocolate, and damp earth-like aromas and flavors. Deep, rich, full-bodied, and expansive on the palate, it has more richness, breadth, and concentration than just about every other wine in the vintage. The 2023 hit 13.5% natural alcohol with a pH of 3.7. It has some similarities to the 2010 (or 2016?) and might end up being the wine of the vintage.”

Bordeaux Index En Primeur 2023 Chateau Troplong Mondot

TUESDAY 11th JUNE 2024

Château Troplong Mondot 2023

GBP 534 per 6 IB

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Under the youthfully energetic direction of Aymeric de Gironde (formerly of Cos d’Estournel) and the inimitable talents of winemaker Thomas Duclos (also the wizard behind Chateau Canon), Troplong Mondot has once again reached heights that match its location on St Emilion’s highest slopes.

Tasting Notes

96-98pts JL The Wine Cellar Insider “Deeply colored, the wine is rich, deep, full-bodied, concentrated and intense. The wine is silky, lush, with its creamy textures which come across as gentle, vibrant, and elegant, with depth, and width. The lingering finish displays sweet, red, and black fruits, salted oranges, and a beautiful chalky character on the backend. The key for the vintage here was the terroir which allowed for ample water retention during the heatwaves, and the ability to harvest at their own pace. The wine blends 84% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Cabernet Franc. 14.1% ABV, 3.45 pH. Harvesting started September 5 - October 9. Drink from 2029-2060.”

96-98pts LPB The Wine Independent
“A blend of 84% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2023 Troplong Mondot has a pH of 3.45. Aymeric de Gironde commented, ‘Our crop of Cabernet Franc was our biggest ever.’ It has a deep garnet-purple color and needs a little swirling and coaxing before gorgeous notes of mulberries, wild blueberries, and redcurrant jelly slowly begin to emerge, followed by hints of sassafras, mossy tree bark, and graphite, plus wafts of rose oil and cumin seed. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers mouth-coating black and red fruit layers, with floral and chalky sparks and velvety tannins, finishing long and beguiling. This is breathtaking!”

95-98pts AG Vinous
“The 2023 Troplong Mondot is simply stunning. It's one of the best wines yet made under the direction of Aymeric de Gironde. Towering and statuesque, the 2023 explodes out of the glass with tons of vertical energy. Dark red-toned fruit, licorice, spice, lavender, mocha and pencil shavings are some of the many notes that infuse the 2023 with character. The combination of soaring aromatics, chiseled fruit and a limestone-infused finish is nothing less than captivating. What a wine. Aging is in 60% new oak, 22% 20hL foudre and 18% once-used oak. Tasted two times.”

Château L'If 2023

GBP 600 per 6 IB

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Back in 2010 Jacques Thienpont had the opportunity to buy a few hectares down the road from Troplong Mondot, the original Right Bank property his grandfather Georges had bought back in the ‘20s. The unprepossessing property, then called Ch Haut Plantey, included 5 hectares of forlorn looking vines which have since largely been replanted, and a few extra hectares have been added at the top and bottom of the slope. Today the renamed L’If (a yew tree sits proudly on the estate – cf. Le Pin references that property’s famous pine tree) is planted 70/30 to Merlot and Cabernet Franc from massal selected vines. Cyrille Thienpont, son Jacques’ cousin Nicolas, is winemaker and the wines have been slowly growing in stature and focus with every vintage.

This year’s wine benefits from being vinified in L’If’s spanking new winery which adds a new beginning to this propitious estate and an extra level of precision to the wine. Its floral, pure, sleek mineral-tinged fruit with an inner energy and limestone salinity on the long finish proved both impressive and pleasurable in equal measure when we tasted it with Le Pin back in April. It’s yet another brilliant wine from the Thienpont clan – what’s new?!

Tasting Notes

95-97pts JL The Wine Cellar Insider “Quite floral in its nature, the wine is spicy, fresh, floral, and exuberant in the nose. On the palate, it is easy to see all the lift, and energy in the wine. The red berries have a vibrancy that gives energy, and length, paired with purity, and a refreshing, spicy endnote. This remains one of the new stars of St. Emilion and is a wine to follow before prices jump. The wine blends 80% Merlot with 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.1% ABV, pH 3.37. The harvest took place September 18-October 2. Drink from 2028-2050”

94-96pts AG Vinous
“The 2023 L’If is unusually floral and refined for a wine that has, in the past, been darker and more ample in structure. Cedar, tobacco, crushed flowers and mint add lift and aromatic presence. Silky tannins create an impression of finesse. The 2023 represents the first year of vinification in the new cellar outfitted with cement vats. Overall, though, this wine feels like a new chapter for L'If. The vibrancy and energy here are palpable. Tasted two times.”

94-96pts LPB The Wine Independent
“Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2023 L'If sashays out of the glass with flamboyant notes of kirsch, juicy plums, and mulberries followed by hints of rosebud tea, underbrush, dark chocolate, and aniseed. The medium to full-bodied palate is coated with red and black berry flavors, framed by firm fine-grained tannins and fantastic tension, finishing long and fragrant. This is beautiful! The blend is 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.”

MONDAY 10th JUNE 2024

Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blance 2023

GBP 645 per 6 IB

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Not content to produce one of the red wines of the 2023 vintage, the Cathiards have fashioned yet another brilliant white wine that competes for the 2023 Blanc crown. A combination of purity of fruit, textural sophistication and supreme length of flavour has created a wow wine that needs to be tasted to be believed. Arguably at the same level as its neighbours up the road Chez Haut Brion and La Mission, SHL Blanc overdelivers in spades this vintage and is well worthy of its place on the white wine throne. Honi soit qui mal y boit.

Tasting Notes

98pts JA Inside Bordeaux “Distinctive as ever, right at the top of what Pessac Léognan Blanc can deliver. Structured, fleshy white peach and pear, waves of salted cracker and sage, creamy texture, great length, just a brilliant wine. A buy.”

95-97pts NM Vinous
“The 2023 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc was picked from August 23 to September 9 at 36hL/ha and matured in 50% new oak. It has a reticent bouquet at first, requiring a few swirls of the glass to reveal touches of orange pith, peach skin, wild fennel and light pressed white flower scents. The palate is very well balanced with a lovely creamy texture, counterbalanced by the taut line of acidity. Very poised and focused, it's somehow almost Corton-Charlemagne-inspired on the finish (perhaps due to the umami). This is a seriously fine white Pessac-Léognan”

95-97pts JD Jeb Dunnuck
“One of the bigger, richer wines in the vintage, the light gold-hued 2023 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc offers up a killer nose of orange blossom, honeyed citrus, toast, spice, and minty flowers. It's medium to full-bodied and has a richly textured, layered mouthfeel, bright acidity, and a great finish. It's probably the white of the vintage.”

Château Smith Haut Lafitte 2023

GBP 540 per 6 IB

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The Cathiard family continue their indefatigable work to keep Smith Haut Lafitte at the apex of the Pessca-Leognan echelon, with another stunning and quite serious Grand Vin rouge in 2023. Strikingly pure and athletic with a core of intense minerality and seriously elegant yet substantial tannic clout, this is an SHL for long term commitment. A high percentage of Cabernet this year – some 70% of the blend – lends it a nobility and class, no doubt influenced by last year’s visit of King Charles and Queen Camilla, for which a special label has been commissioned.

Tasting Notes

97pts GH Decanter “Dark and fragrant nose, scented and intense but not too rich and ripe, more cool, crisp and fresh. Aromatics of roses, floral elements and pot pourri - very welcoming. Big boned, this has expansion and intensity from the get go, powdery tannins fill the mouth with a juicy core and layers of freshness, mint, graphite, wet stones, herbs, cocoa and liquorice. Not as immediately as suave, soft and caressing as SHL can be, this is more serious, more straight and streamlined. Still finessed but this has muscle to it, forward and direct. It’s a beauty but will need time to expand and soften some more. Still very much on the Cabernet aromatics and power. I do like its density though, there is richness here, it’s not all straight and the tannins are filling. This has lovely potential with chewy strawberry and cranberry flavours. You don’t have the feeling of overt warmth with a cool freshness and touching on austere acidity, but this offers freshness and tension as well as ripeness. 1% Petit Verdot completes the blend. 3.65pH. 26hl/ha yield, more or the less the same as usual winemaker Fabien Teitgen said.”

96-98pts JL The Wine Cellar Insider
“The nose shoots out its tobacco, smoke, camphor, spice, floral, and black, with red fruits with only a swirl or two. The palate is even better with its fresh, energetic, black, with red fruit profile, along with its array of spices, chewy tannins, blue fruits, smoke, and dark chocolate. The wine is long, intense, focused, and complex, with a nice aromatic display in the mouth in the finish, which sticks with you for almost 50 seconds. The key to the vintage was finding the right dates to harvest coupled with a soft, gentle extraction. Picking took place from September 22 - October 5. The wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, and is aging in 60% New, French oak barrels for 18 months. 14% ABV. pH 3.65. Drink from 2028-2055.”

98-99pts JS James Suckling
“Probably one of the most structured and stony SHLs I have ever had. Full yet very tight and compact palate with tannins that are like a tightly wound ball of silk. It goes on for a very long time. The cab berries were very small and they delivered a fantastic backbone of tannins, but at the same time intensity of vivid and reserved fruit. This is really long and classic in structure. The elevage in barrel will polish the fantastic, pure tannins. 70% cabernet sauvignon, 23% merlot, 6% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot. From biodynamically grown grapes.”

Château Larcis Ducasse 2023

GBP 300 per 6 IB

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With Nicolas Thienpont as consultant and co-director since 2002, this is an extraordinary estate with 11.3ha of vineyard in a single stretch just to the east of Chateau Pavie. South facing and sloping down from the St Emilion plateau the soils are a textbook example of the St Emilion Côte: shallow calcareous soils on hard limestone at the top of the hill, calcareous soils on soft limestone in the middle, and calcareous soils on slope deposits as well as more sandy soils as the slope flattens out. In places the vineyard is so steep (25% gradient) that terrace walls have been built to maintain the structure of the soils and vines. This is a truly remarkable terroir.

The charming, dapper Jacques-Olivier Gratiot, owner of this small St-Emilion property, greeted us warmly again this year to taste the Thienpont range and, as usual, Larcis stood out amongst all for its telltale minerality and impeccable style. The 2023 is another beautifully crafted Larcis that will appeal to those who appreciate restrained elegance and refined intensity in their Bordeaux. This comes highly recommended.

Tasting Notes

95-97+pts JD Jeb Dunnuck “Another smoking effort in the vintage, the 2023 Château Larcis Ducasse has a medium to full-bodied, plush, sexy style as well as awesome aromatics of red and black fruits, smoked tobacco, chocolate, and spice. It brings way more depth and richness than most in the vintage, and it has ripe, polished tannins and a great finish. I was able to taste this beauty multiple times, and it never failed to impress. The blend is 86% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Franc, from the Côte Pavie hillside just outside of Saint-Emilion, and it’s currently resting in 50% new oak, with 40% in once-used barrels and 10% in foudre.”

96-97pts JS James Suckling
“This is really classic in character, with a fine tannin structure and medium body. It starts slowly and then accelerates quickly into intense black cherries, currants and a salty note. Savory and subtle. 86% merlot and 14% cabernet franc.”

94-96pts AG Vinous
“The 2023 Larcis Ducasse is elegant, powerful and wonderfully expressive. In other words, classic Larcis. Plum, blood orange, spice, menthol, mocha and gravel infuse the 2023 with layers of dimension that only grow with time in the glass. This will need some time to shed its considerable baby fat. Superb. Tasted four times.”

Bordeaux Index En Primeur 2023 Chateau Clinet
Château Pichon Baron

FRIDAY 7th JUNE 2024

Château Clinet 2023

GBP 345 per 6 IB

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Just round the corner from their neighbours the Durantous, the Laborde family have been tending their 9.8 hectares of vines since 1998, though the history of the chateau itself extends way back to the late 18th century. Today, what stands out particularly, other than the bright red livery on their shutters and doors, is the large percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon grown in gravel soils – something seldom seen on the Right Bank, let alone in Pomerol itself. This year Cabernet Sauvignon makes up a full 25% of Chateau Clinet’s final blend, lending it a sleek, sophisticated patina that makes the 2023 iteration particularly perfumed and digestif, as the locals might say.

Tasting Notes

“The 2023 Clinet has a deep garnet-purple color. It slowly emerges from the glass with wonderfully fragrant scents of dark chocolate, violets, plum preserves, and blueberry compote, leading to hints of kirsch and rose oil. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers energetic black and blue fruit layers, with a velvety texture and lively backbone, finishing long and perfumed. Beautiful!”

95-97 LPB The Wine Independent

“Lilacs, violets, smoke, spice, cherries, plums, licorice, orange rind, and chocolate mint fill the aromatic profile. On the palate, the wine is energetic, vibrant, long, and up-beat. The fruit offers purity, persistence, length, and width. It takes a few sips before you find its heart. But, once you do, it's apparent that the layers of vibrant, red fruits, complicated by the nuances of orange zest, are special. The refined, silky, finish builds as it lingers. The keys to the vintage here were the combination of cloudy summer skies with heat spells in September. In the cellars this is the first vintage with a pre-maceration cool-down which helped protect the grapes from oxidation. The wine blends 75% Merlot with 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14% ABV, 3.7 pH. Harvesting took place September 13 - September 20 for the Merlot, and September 25-26 for the Cabernet. Drink from 2027-2060.”

95-97 JL The Wine Cellar Insider

“This is full-bodied yet tight and poised, with a pretty, pure center-palate of ripe fruit and fine, integrated tannins. Classy presence. May be better than 2022.”

95-96 JS James Suckling