April 18, 2024

This week has been very busy in Bordeaux with quite a few releases. The Chateau continue to lower their prices (in many cases down 30-40% from 2022) and we have quite a few wines at or near 2019 levels. Certainly some great deals here at all price points. On the higher end of the spectrum Haut Brion and La Mission are at 2019 pricing (if you're like me you are kicking yourself for not buying the 2019-here's another chance!). Lynch Bages -superb wine/superb price, Ducru B same thing. Leoville Barton showed very well both times I tasted it and we have two of my "sleeper" bargain value plays on the list-Fieuzal and Mangot. Also, the potential 100 pt Suduiraut which is absolutely stunning. Finally a special mention for Pape Clement. This is easily the best wine they've made here in quite some time. It blew me away all three times I tasted it. It's right there with the LMHB. I kid you not.

April 30, 2024

I’ve just returned from a week in Bordeaux tasting the 2023 wines “en primeur”. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I had heard many different things about the vintage. One thing seemed consistent in the message-it was quite variable (even in the same appellation) so best to come taste for yourself and see.

I’m happy to say that 2023 has turned out very well for many, many Estates. The wines were very easy to taste and quite a contrast to the more voluptuous 2022’s.  As Guillaume Pouthier of Carmes Haut Brion told me “this is a very unique vintage, in that the wines will be able to be enjoyed at a relatively young age but will easily age very, very well”. The best of the 2023’s are open knit, and the tannins are very finely managed. You can dive deep into the glass and realize that all the stuffing is there-it’s just a bit less obvious in this vintage. The wines tend to be more “linear” if that makes sense. One of the best wines I tasted, Chateau Margaux could have easily been enjoyed at dinner that eve (too bad they wouldn’t let me take the bottle home) but there’s no doubt it’s a 30 plus year wine. 

For the wines of the Medoc, Cabernet was king in 2023 as many estates suffered mildew issues with their Merlot. Many wines have a much larger percentage of Cabernet than usual, and this leads to the more sort of “classic” character in this vintage. Merlot fared better on the right bank of course, but like last year I’m seeing more and more wines with higher percentages of Cabernet Franc in the blend and this is nothing but a good thing. 
I was able to attend a few negociant tastings to re-taste many wines (as well as taste wines from Chateau I was unable to visit). More so than in past years, you could really feel the difference in terroir when you went from say Margaux to Pauillac. This is not always so evident in tasting barrel samples. The sense of place really shines through in 2023. 

William Kelly of the Wine Advocate sums things up very nicely and I agree 100%...

"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. Between May and September, the growing season was dry; yet 2023 was also defined agronomically, as it was in the media, by periods of intense rainfall. And if recent warm growing seasons have tended to begin early and finish early, though 2023 may have begun with an early budbreak, the time between flowering and harvest was entirely classic, permitting leisurely hang time. The young wines, tasted from cask, reflect this paradox, possessing—at their best—the depth, density and ripe tannin of a sunny vintage but also the vibrant, expressive aromas and flavors of a more traditionally “Atlantic” season. The best 2023s are just as exciting as the best 2022s, even if the vintage is more varied in quality and style; yet the final paradox is that, due to a cool global economy and two consecutive lukewarm en primeur campaigns, the 2023s may be released at prices as interesting as any we have seen since 2019."

I hope the Chateaux listened to the message about pricing from myself and just about every other merchant! Phil Bernstein General Manager 

*First growths and “big” St. Emilion and Pomerol wines will come in wood three packs. All other wines will be in wood six packs.

My Top 10 wines (not in order):

  • Montrose
  • Margaux
  • Palmer
  • VCC
  • Lafite
  • Carmes Haut Brion
  • Beausajour Duffau
  • Cheval Blanc
  • Figeac
  • Pichon Comtesse


Always solid wines you shouldn’t miss:

  • Anything starting with the word “Leoville” (Poyferre especially was quite delicious!)
  • Branaire
  • Haut Bailly
  • Giscours
  • Larcis Ducasse
  • Coutet (2023 was very good for Sauternes and Barsac)
  • Gruaud Larose
  • Pape Clement


Under the radar sleepers:

  • Tronquoy
  • Berliquet
  • La Tour Figeac
  • Mangot
  • La Pointe
  • Rouget
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2023 Chateau Angelus - St. Emilion (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

750ml | SKU 97933 | 38 Available
96 JA

Cocoa bean, liquorice, pomegranate, smoked earth, sage, anis, fennel, slate tannins, this combines nuanced and sinewy tannins with a generous supple expansion through the palate, building in power and impact. Beautifully fragrant, measured and skilful. 50...

$354.00

2023 Chateau Angelus - St. Emilion MAGNUM (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

1.5L | SKU 97952 | Available
96 JA

Cocoa bean, liquorice, pomegranate, smoked earth, sage, anis, fennel, slate tannins, this combines nuanced and sinewy tannins with a generous supple expansion through the palate, building in power and impact. Beautifully fragrant, measured and skilful. 50...

$710.00

2023 Chateau Ausone - St. Emilion (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

750ml | SKU 98020 | 15 Available
96-98 VM

The 2023 Ausone is a powerful, heady wine. Dark, layered and explosive, the 2023 possesses tremendous depth and tons of sheer resonance, something that becomes increasingly apparent with time in the glass. Strong saline notes frame a core of dark-toned...

$565.00

2023 Chateau Ausone - St. Emilion MAGNUM (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

1.5L | SKU 98039 | Available
$1,160.00

2023 Chateau Beychevelle - St. Julien (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

750ml | SKU 98092 | 36 Available
94-96 VM

The 2023 Beychevelle is fabulous. As always, Beychevelle includes quite a bit more Merlot than most wines in the appellation, but the Cabernet is especially high here. Inky dark fruit, crème de cassis, mocha, licorice and lavender build in the glass. T...

$80.00

2023 Chateau Brane Cantenac - Margaux (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

750ml | SKU 98102 | 84 Available
95-97 JD

Readers looking for one of the hidden gems in the vintage should jump on the 2023 Château Brane-Cantenac, an incredibly impressive Margaux that does everything right. Cassis, graphite, violets, lead pencil, and leafy tobacco notes all emerge on the nose, ...

$62.00

2023 Chateau Brane Cantenac - Margaux HALF BOTTLE (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

375ml | SKU 98103 | 21 Available
95-97 JD

Readers looking for one of the hidden gems in the vintage should jump on the 2023 Château Brane-Cantenac, an incredibly impressive Margaux that does everything right. Cassis, graphite, violets, lead pencil, and leafy tobacco notes all emerge on the nose, ...

$32.00

2023 Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere - St. Emilion (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

750ml | SKU 98101 | 36 Available
94-97 VM

The 2023 Canon La Gaffelière is a powerful, dense wine. In recent years Canon La Gaffelière has been on the more perfumed side, but the 2023 moves in a direction of textural intensity. On the other hand, its balance is compelling. Dark red-toned fruit,...

$68.00

2023 Chateau Carruades Lafite - Pauillac (Bordeaux FUTURE ETA 2026)

750ml | SKU 97881 | 10 Available
95-96 JS

A savory and juicy Carruades with softness and notes of ripe berry, cedar and dried tobacco. Like Lafite from the 1980s but more precise. Round and pretty. It really grows on the finish with such sweetness of fruit and length. Pointed, fine tannins at the...

$195.00

2023 Chateau Cheval Blanc - St. Emilion (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

750ml | SKU 97990 | 79 Available
98-100 WA

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, d...

$525.00

2023 Chateau Cheval Blanc - St. Emilion MAGNUM (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

1.5L | SKU 97994 | Available
98-100 WA

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, d...

$1,065.00

2023 Chateau Clerc Milon - Pauillac (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

750ml | SKU 97924 | 60 Available
96 JA

Pauillac was close to normal rainfall, with less mildew than other parts of the region, helping to usher in the excellent crop of wines that you will find in the appellation in 2023. This joins the best of them with its superb quality, and a real sense of...

$72.00

2023 Chateau Clos Fourtet - St. Emilion (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

750ml | SKU 98104 | 36 Available
94-96 WA

The 2023 Clos Fourtet is especially suave and refined this year, wafting from the glass with deep aromas of red berries, licorice, violets and pencil shavings, framed by a nicely integrated patina of new oak. Medium to full-bodied, supple and layered, wit...

$95.00

2023 Chateau Cos d'Estournel - St. Estephe (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

750ml | SKU 98044 | 60 Available
95-97 JD

The Grand Vin 2023 Château Cos D'Estournel checks in as 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, and a splash of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, resting in 50% new French oak. This beauty brings everything up a notch, with awesome crème de cassis, graphite, v...

$158.00

2023 Chateau Coutet - Sauternes (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

750ml | SKU 97926 | 48 Available
96 JA

Beautiful aromatics, fresh acidity that picks things up from the first moment, crisp citrus, mango, pineapple, grated ginger, and a twist of bitter aniseed on the finish. Richly concentrated, reflecting small yields, but once again a wine that shows the h...

$40.00

2023 Chateau D'Armailhac - Pauillac (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

750ml | SKU 97925 | 46 Available
94 JA

High Cabernet, as is the story of the vintage on the Left Bank. A wine that also continues the new story of Armailhac following serious investment in vineyards and cellar, and technical director Lucie Lauilhé. Bright and vivid from the first moment, layer...

$46.00

2023 Chateau D'Issan - Margaux HALF BOTTLE (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

375ml | SKU 98059 | Available
93-95 WA

The 2023 D'Issan shows excellent potential, unfurling in the glass with aromas of dark berries, cassis, pen ink and white flowers, followed by a medium to full-bodied, velvety and enveloping palate that's rich, fleshy and charming, with lively acids, good...

$28.00

2023 Chateau D'Issan - Margaux (Bordeaux Future ETA 2026)

750ml | SKU 98043 | 60 Available
93-95 WA

The 2023 D'Issan shows excellent potential, unfurling in the glass with aromas of dark berries, cassis, pen ink and white flowers, followed by a medium to full-bodied, velvety and enveloping palate that's rich, fleshy and charming, with lively acids, good...

$52.00
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