The short version is that this year will be one to focus on the big names — which are always the most tightly allocated. If you have any target producers in mind, with or without quantities, please let us know as soon as possible: wishlists get priority when allocations are tight!

Going by Jane Anson's report, quality is expected to be far more varied between estates than the 2022 vintage: those that had more resources made great wine, but those that didn't really felt the impact of the vintage conditions. Pape Clément, for example, had their longest harvest on record: 29 days, citing significant variation in ripeness between plots. Smith Haut Lafitte got away with losing just 10% of their crop to downy mildew, in no small part thanks to having enough people to tend to the vines 7 days a week; Anson notes some yields were as low as 15 hl/ha (presumably not all garagiste producers!).

James Suckling, in his Instagram video on 9 April, similarly expected inconsistencies between châteaux, but suggested the top estates would be at 2022 levels or even better in terms of quality; he concluded his 22 April report by saying this was "the most enjoyable en primeur tasting I have done since rating 2019 from barrel, which was similarly bright."Mariette Veyssiere (Quintus) called it a "tightrope vintage", requiring great organisation in the vineyard and the winery, again supporting the idea that the châteaux with the most resources probably managed best; Philippe Bascaules (Margaux) noted that alcohol was easier to control in 2023 compared to 2022 and, in terms of tannins and concentration, made a comparison to 1986. (James Suckling 2024)

As for pricing: we are optimistic for a more reasoned approach from châteaux generally compared to previous recent vintages, given firstly the varied nature of this vintage, but also the increases in release prices from the 2019–2022 vintages which, we have heard from various négociants, has become cause for concern in the Place.

Indeed, Colin Hays discussed the idea, in Drinks Business, of a 35% reduction in release pricing vs the 2022 vintage. That was all in hypothetical terms, but if indeed the 2023 release prices this year are lower than the 2022's then that could be a strong buy signal: the price increases from 2019–2022, for Hays, "has allowed massive, almost systemic investment in the vineyards and above all wine-making facilities of the leading properties of the region, allowing Bordeaux to be better placed than it would otherwise be to deal with climate change and, quite simply, just to make better wine than it ever has before."


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