Travel report Bordeaux Primeur 2023

In the Mecca of wine lovers

Every year in April, Bordeaux invites merchants and journalists to the Primeur tasting in the Mecca of wine lovers. This system is unique in the world and has been in place for over 100 years.

It is important to get to know the vintage on the spot. Of course, you can read tasting reports, ratings and prices at home and buy the wines accordingly. But during the Primeur Week in Bordeaux, you can taste all the wines in a compact format and, above all, gather opinions and voices and thus form an overall picture together with the tasting.

There are various joint tastings from many wineries at the traditional "Silent Tasting" in Hanger 14 on the very first day of Primeur Week. There are also individual appellation tastings in the growing regions and, of course, individual tastings in the châteaux themselves. Some negociants, who own a large portfolio of different châteaux, also offer extensive tastings on their own premises, giving you the opportunity to taste many wines several times over the course of the week (this year from 22 to 26 April).

Our trip traditionally begins with the aforementioned silent tasting and first takes us to Pessac-Léognan. On Tuesday, we will visit the Médoc with the main appellations Margaux, Haut Médoc, St. Julien, Pauillac and St. Estèphe and on Wednesday the so-called right bank with its star appellations St.-Émilion and Pomerol.

Bordeaux faces a number of challenges for the 2023 primeur vintage. After the 2022 vintage of the century, the weather conditions were somewhat more difficult. At the beginning, it was damp with sometimes high mildew pressure. In the end, the dry and warm weather played into the winemakers' hands, especially before the harvest, and they were able to bring ripe and healthy grapes into the cellars. However, a very selective approach had to be taken this year. The Merlot suffered particularly from the mildew pressure, so that many wines have a significantly higher Cabernet content than in previous years. In addition to excellent wines, there are also a lot of mediocre wines, so it was even more important to be able to select locally as a merchant.

There is no one appellation that stands out in particular. In all the growing regions on the right and left bank, there are wines that, in the context of their great predecessors (2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022), will come as a great surprise to some Bordeaux lovers. Some even come close to the 2022s or have already reached them.

Overall, the best wines are very harmonious, juicy and elegant. However, it is difficult to compare this vintage with any of its predecessors.

Developments in recent years have led to greater precision in the cellar. The style has also evolved in recent years towards more elegant wines with more finesse and freshness. This means that people are once again focussing on the actual strengths that make Bordeaux so unique. Most wines are also no longer so strongly characterised by new wood and over-extraction.

In this vintage in particular, we can once again look forward to wines that are ready to drink very early and impress with their fine elegance.

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