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Bordeaux

Challenges and triumphs: the 2023 vintage in Bordeaux

The Bordeaux wine region has long been revered for its exceptional wines, shaped by a delicate dance between nature and human skill. However, the 2023 vintage was proof of the resilience and adaptability of winegrowers in the face of difficult weather conditions. From the relentless weather conditions to the current activity in the vineyards in November, this year has been a rollercoaster ride for Bordeaux winemakers.

One of the most important events that shaped the 2023 vintage was the unpredictable weather. Unpredictability prevailed: early warmth was followed by atypical cold spells, accompanied by sporadic and often intense rainfall. There were several periods of frost during the budding period, a danger that sent shivers down the spines of the winegrowers. Spring frosts, especially after the first budding, can be devastating for the sensitive vines and affect the yield and possibly also the quality of the grapes.

The summer months brought with them a number of challenges. Unusual heat waves and prolonged drought put the vineyards under additional stress. A lack of water can affect the quality and yield of the grapes, which can lead to smaller berries and an imbalance between sugar and acid content. But the winegrowers in Bordeaux have always been resilient and have used their expertise to adapt to these adversities.

There has been much speculation and hope about the quality of the 2023 harvest in the Bordeaux region. Despite the stormy weather conditions, we are cautiously optimistic about the overall quality of our harvest. Initial tastings and assessments suggest that the grapes that have weathered the storms, while yielding less, show promising complexity, concentration and a balance of sugar and acidity – a possible testament to the craftsmanship and expertise  - a vintage that could surprise with its quality and character.

 

Suckling, the first major critic to publish his views on Bordeaux 2023 vintage, is ebullient about the quality of the vintage. "In many ways, I like them better than many of the highly touted 2022s", he begins, "because they are so Bordeaux in their nature with their tensioned mouthfeels and energetic finishes. Many 2022s are very powerful and rich, highlighting the extremely hot and dry grape-growing conditions of the vintage. Some are almost international in their essence."

According to Suckling several senior chateau prefer 2023 to the widely celebrated 2022s, including L'Eglise Clinet's Noemie Durantou Reilhac, whilst Pierre-Oliver Clouet sees 2023 as "much more Cheval Blanc".

Like Jane Anson, he also notes that this is a heterogeneous vintage that favours "top terroirs and top winemakers", where you can find "terrific-quality wines, but they are different than 2022. I would compare these 2023s to 2019 or 2001 – even 1990 – for their freshness and balance of ripe fruit."

Suckling's top scoring wines include Canon (99-100), Le Pin (99-100) & Pavie (99-100), whilst value picks include Haut-Brisson (95-96) and de Ferrand (94-95).

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Burgundy

The Bourgogne 2023 vintage: Surpassing all expectations! 

It's been some time since Bourgogne enjoyed two consecutive years with above-average volumes. 2023, coming hot on the heels of 2022, has put a smile on the faces of winegrowers and wine merchants: the cellars are (almost) full again, and the quality is there every time.
That's the other great thing about this vintage - despite unstable weather conditions over the summer, the end result is stunning. The Chardonnay, Aligoté and Sauvignon grapes reached full maturity in perfect condition, while retaining enough freshness to live up to the reputation of Bourgogne white wines. And Pinot Noir proved, once again, that it is king of the grape varieties. After a rigorous sorting process, facilitated by high yields, some very fine juices were extracted, with a great variety of aromas.

The result is expressive, fruity wines with beautiful aromatic profiles, for both white and red. There's something for all tastes, as this vintage offers a range of profiles linked to the choice of harvest dates. We look forward to exploring the 2023 vintage!

 

White wines
Everyone in Bourgogne is unanimous: it's "a great year for white wine!"
The ripe, healthy, well-balanced grapes have produced wines that stand out for their richness and wonderful opulence, without excess.
The wines are aromatic, evoking gorgeous ripe white fruits such as pear and peach. Despite the very hot weather at the start of the harvest, beautiful balances have been maintained.

Red wines
The red wines are expressive and open up quickly. They have delicious flavours, in some cases reminiscent of fresh red fruits, such as raspberries, or with aromas of dark fruits, such as blackberries, and even spices for some wine profiles.
On the palate, they have a lovely density, with a silky tannic structure. During vinification, conditions were just right for good colour extraction. The deep, intense colours of the wine are superb.

Crémant de Bourgogne
The basic wines are fruity, balanced and elegant. The Chardonnay has an aromatic profile featuring citrus and floral notes, or even exotic fruit. The Pinot Noir hints at red berries such as raspberry and cherry. The Aligoté maintains its vivacity with lemony notes. Finally, the expressive Gamay has flavours reminiscent of strawberry.

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Italia

In Italy, mildew dominated the wine landscape in 2023. May and June brought plenty of rain, which was ideal for the spread of Peronospora in southern and central Italy. Many winegrowers reacted too late, which meant that large areas were affected. In the north, powdery mildew caused problems. A hot September with temperatures above 30 degrees led to further losses. Across the country, losses were well over 20% compared to the previous year. Tuscany and Apulia (minus 30 percent each), Abruzzo (minus 60 percent) and Sicily (minus 45 percent) were particularly hard hit. Despite losses in quantity, the quality of the 2023 vintage promises some outstanding wines, especially from cooler sites. Expect excellent Sangiovese from Tuscany (Chianti Classico, Brunello) as well as Barolo and Barbaresco from Piedmont. The low harvest volume could also have a positive impact on trade prices, as sales faltered over the course of the year and many producers' warehouses were overfilled. The lower volume should now ease the price pressure on winegrowers by Falstaff

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Portugal

In Portugal, 2023 was characterised by weather challenges, but these did not lead to significant crop losses. Originally, a harvest increase of eight percent was expected, due to a mild summerthat favoured earlier ripening. However, weather instability and rain during the harvest led to lower yields than expected, with early harvesting preventing major losses in some regions.

In the Douro region, where previous years were characterised by heatwaves and droughts, 2023 was more pleasing thanks to sufficient rainfall and moderate temperatures in summer. Heavy rainfall towards the end of the harvest posed challenges, but producers are satisfied with the quality of the wine, especially from the Cima Corgo sub-region.

In the Alentejo, frost in spring led to losses, but optimal conditions for grape ripening followed, despite a heatwave in August. High-quality wines were produced, especially from grape varieties with a longer ripening period. In the Vinho Verde region, high humidity posed a problem and increased fungal pressure, but good quality wines are still expected.

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Spain

Spain was very up and down, with more drought and high temperatures. Rainfall at veraison also caused some issues. Whilst most regions coped with less than average yields, the Cava producers across the Mediterranean coast from Catalunya down to Valencia were exposed and have reported one of the worst vintages in history. Following two years of inflation, this makes it one of the most highly affected regions in the 2024 vintage.

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Vintage Report

Italy Vintage Report 2023 by Gaja.

The 2023 vintage has been showing common characteristics throughout all of our wine-growing areas in both Piedmont and Tuscany: initial growth production was abundant, then we experienced losses due to downy mildew and sunburn. We had a late harvest everywhere, and was completed without rush since we had summer-like days throughout October. Climactic conditions allowed us to leave the grapes on the vines until complete phenolic maturation. Fermentation was normal and quick for all varieties due to the lower presence of potassium and of higher nitrogen. The alcohol levels are low and the acidity is high, the ripe and thick skins require longer maceration times and promise good final complexity in the wines.

 

2023 is an outstanding vintage for Bolgheri with a very high quality average. We are also satisfied with the final production, 15% more abundant than in 2022, not because of a higher grape bunch per plant but due to larger grape bunch sizes. It’s not a vintage in the opulent classic style of Bolgheri, but it very much reflects our taste and style. The wines have a marked elegance and a positive, higher than expected acidity. The aromas are floral rather than fruity or spicy and there is excellent structure, low alcohol and sweet tannins, all of which maintain a very elegant profile of the wines. The frequent rains required a lot of work in the vineyards to protect the vines from fungal diseases but the results were excellent. The rains also caused a delay in ripening, but good weather in September and the late harvest brought each variety to a slow and excellent maturation.

The winter, mild and rainy from October to January, favored good soil vigor and softness. From mid-January to mid-February the temperatures dropped, reaching night lows of 2°C below zero, useful for slowing down both the grassing and the re-awakening of the vines. In March the temperatures rose back to the seasonal averages (lows of 6-7°C and highs of 22-23°C) and in the first ten days of April budding began, very homogeneous across all varieties, with the development of good quantities of grape bunches.

May 2nd it began raining with incredible diligence for 34 out of 40 days between May and June. The constantly moist soil and vine leaves were an ideal environment for the development of downy mildew, and managing the fungus was very difficult. Timeliness and team availability to operate at any given time and day was crucial. Despite the pressure of fungal diseases, we have not suffered any production losses, except for some leaf damage in the vineyards closest to the forest or in the lower valleys.
Yet thanks to the rains, the vines did not suffer any water stress and the canopies remained lush and green throughout the season.

July was dry and hot, August began with average temperatures with good diurnal ranges between day and night. Four extremely hot days at mid-month, with temperatures reaching 42°C degrees, inevitably caused sunburn on the exposed grapes that weren’t protected by the leaves. The damage was minimal and was removed by cleaning the grape bunches. Luckily, the heat ended with a storm that dropped 90 mm of water drastically lowering the temperatures to 22°C.
September was hot, with significant diurnal variations from 13°C at night to 27°C during the day. The sun continued to be very strong and temperatures remained high throughout the month.

The harvest of white grapes began on August 20th, first with Viognier and ended on September 10th with Fiano. For the red grapes, the first Merlot vineyard was harvested on September 6th, and on September 20th we started with Cabernet Franc. We waited until the beginning of October for the phenolic maturation to complete for Cabernet Sauvignon, and concluded the harvest within 10 days. It was a calm harvest, managed with good timing and without the usual concern of excess sugar accumulation or storms. The grapes had optimal ripeness levels and the quality of the fruit was excellent.

 

A first look at this year’s vintage in the Langhe

Between the initial drought and the assiduous rains from May to July, episodes of hail and sunburn, managing the vineyards was incredibly complex, long and tiring – but very satisfying.

​It was a late harvest with medium/abundant yields. The grapes showed high levels of malic acid and moderate sugar levels. In general, fermentation was normal and occurred quickly. The whites have exceptional freshness and aromas, the reds have delicate tannins, an elegant structure and a complexity developed over time because of prolonged macerations which were very important this year due to ripe and thick skins.

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Vintage Report

GERMANY VINTAGE 2023: 

The year 2023 was challenging for winegrowers: an excessively wet spring led to mildew infections, then came a very dry and warm, long summer - even at the beginning of September, temperatures were still in the 30s. This weather, combined with rain, caused rapid rotting in early-ripening varieties such as Burgundy and problems caused by the cherry vinegar fly, especially in dark-skinned berries. A quick harvest was necessary, which significantly reduced the yields (which were still classified as plentiful at the beginning of September). The latest harvest forecast is 8.8 million hectolitres, an average vintage.

Despite the adversity, there were winners: late-ripening varieties such as Riesling benefited from dry, cool and sunny conditions in late fall. The Rieslings of this vintage are light to medium-bodied, well-structured and show fresh, complex aromas. It was a particularly good year for fruity and noble sweet Rieslings with fresh acidity and balanced fruit. Where careful selection was carried out, excellent Beerenauslese and even Trockenbeerenauslese wines were produced. The Silvaner also showed its best side, emphasising its mineral characteristics in Franconia with a moderate alcohol content and good aromatic freshness: by Falstaff

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Vintage Report

ARGENTINA: Argentina's winegrowers experienced a rollercoaster of emotions with the very strange wine year of 2023. At the end of October and beginning of November, icy air masses from the Arctic hit most of the wine regions, where the vines had already sprouted. And the year had even more misfortune in store. The result was the smallest wine harvest since records began in around 1960. On the other hand, the Janus-faced vintage also produced spectacular results in terms of quality. Because the cold coming from the south did not reach the highest steep slopes in the Uco Valley, the best Malbec grapes from Gualtallary and Los Chacayes produced rare top wines in 2023. The late frosts were followed by a prolonged dry period, accompanied by high temperatures. Even if the lack of quantity hurts, the leading oenologists and winegrowers report outstanding quality. And this applies to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot as well as Malbec. Word has already got around and consignments are already being secured.ARGENTINA VINTAGE REPORT 2023:

 

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The best wines of the 2023 vintage

Name Tb Producer Location
1 Château Margaux 100 Château Margaux Bordeaux, France
2 Lafite-Rothschild 100 Château Lafite-Rothschild Bordeaux, France
3 Le Pin 100 Le Pin Bordeaux, France
4 Château Mouton-Rothschild 100 Château Mouton-Rothschild Bordeaux, France
5 Château Haut-Brion 100 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
6 Pavie 100 Château Pavie Bordeaux, France
7 Cheval Blanc 100 Château Cheval Blanc Bordeaux, France
8 Pétrus 100 Château Pétrus Pomerol, France
9 Château Ausone 100 Château Ausone Bordeaux, France
10 Château Latour 100 Château Latour Bordeaux, France
11 Vieux Chateau Certan 100 Vieux Château Certan Bordeaux, France
12 Lafleur 100 Château Lafleur Bordeaux, France
13 Château La Conseillante 100 Château La Conseillante Bordeaux, France
14 Montrose 100 Château Montrose Bordeaux, France
15 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou 100 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou Bordeaux, France
16 Château de Figeac 100 Château de Figeac Bordeaux, France
17 La Mission Haut Brion 100 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
18 Château Doisy-Daene 100 Château Doisy-Daëne Bordeaux, France
19 Château Haut-Brion Blanc 100 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
20 Château Les Carmes-Haut-Brion 100 Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
21 Chateau Margaux Pavillon Blanc 100 Château Margaux Bordeaux, France
22 Château Smith Haut Lafitte 99 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Bordeaux, France
23 Château Palmer 99 Château Palmer Bordeaux, France
24 Château Angelus 99 Château Angelus Bordeaux, France
25 Château Pontet Canet 99 Château Pontet Canet Bordeaux, France
26 Bélair Monange 99 Château Bélair Monange Bordeaux, France
27 Château Canon 99 Château Canon Bordeaux, France
28 Trotanoy 99 Château Trotanoy Bordeaux, France
29 Château La Fleur-Pétrus 99 Château Lafleur-Pétrus Bordeaux, France
30 Château Suduiraut 99 Château Suduiraut Bordeaux, France
31 Château Pavie-Macquin 99 Château Pavie-Macquin Bordeaux, France
32 L'Eglise-Clinet 99 Château L'Eglise-Clinet Bordeaux, France
33 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc 99 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Bordeaux, France
34 La Mission Haut Brion Blanc 99 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
35 Château Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse 99 Château Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse Bordeaux, France
36 Château Brane-Cantenac 99 Château Brane-Cantenac Bordeaux, France
37 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 99 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Bordeaux, France
38 Château Calon Ségur 99 Château Calon-Ségur Bordeaux, France
39 Château Clinet 99 Château Clinet Bordeaux, France
40 Clos Fourtet 99 Clos Fourtet Bordeaux, France
41 Château Trottevieille 99 Château Trottevieille Bordeaux, France
42 Cos d’Estournel Blanc 99 Château Cos d'Estournel Bordeaux, France
43 Steinberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese (barrel sample) 99 Kloster Eberbach Rheingau, Germany
44 Château Beau-Séjour Bécot 99 Château Beau-Séjour Bécot Bordeaux, France
45 Château de Valandraud 98 Château Valandraud Bordeaux, France
46 Léoville-Las Cases 98 Château Léoville-Las Cases Saint-Julien, France
47 Château Cos d'Estournel 98 Château Cos d'Estournel Bordeaux, France
48 Château Troplong-Mondot 98 Château Troplong-Mondot Bordeaux, France
49 Domaine de Chevalier 98 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac Leognan, France
50 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 98 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac Leognan, France
51 Château Giscours 98 Château Giscours Bordeaux, France
52 Château Léoville Poyferré 98 Château Léoville Poyferré Bordeaux, France
53 Château Rauzan-Ségla 98 Château Rauzan-Ségla Bordeaux, France
54 La Mondotte 98 La Mondotte Bordeaux, France
55 Château Violette 98 Château La Violette Bordeaux, France
56 Le Gay 98 Le Gay Bordeaux, France
57 Tertre Roteboeuf 98 Château Tertre Roteboeuf Bordeaux, France
58 Château Coutet 98 Château Coutet Sauternes, France
59 Château Durfort-Vivens 98 Château Durfort-Vivens Bordeaux, France
60 Château Haut-Bailly 98 Château Haut-Bailly Pessac Leognan, France
61 Château Climens 98 Château Climens Bordeaux, France
62 Château Larcis Ducasse 98 Château Larcis Ducasse Bordeaux, France
63 Château Hosanna 98 Château Hosanna Bordeaux, France
64 Château Guiraud 98 Château Guiraud Bordeaux, France
65 Chateau Leoville-Barton 98 Château Leoville-Barton Bordeaux, France
66 Aile d'Argent 98 Château Mouton-Rothschild Bordeaux, France
67 Château Gruaud-Larose 98 Château Gruaud-Larose Bordeaux, France
68 Château Guillot Clauzel 98 Château Guillot Clauzel Bordeaux, France
69 Château Péby Faugères 98 Château Péby Faugères Bordeaux, France
70 Château L´Evangile 97 Château L´Evangile Pomerol, France
71 Château Canon-La-Gaffelière 97 Château Canon-La-Gaffelière Bordeaux, France
72 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron 97 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron Bordeaux, France
73 Château de Fargues 97 Château de Fargues Sauternes, France
74 Sigalas-Rabaud 97 Château Sigalas-Rabaud Bordeaux, France
75 Château Lascombes 97 Château Lascombes Bordeaux, France
76 L'If 97 L'If Bordeaux, France
77 Château Cantenac-Brown 97 Château Cantenac-Brown Bordeaux, France
78 Château de Rayne Vigneau 97 Château de Rayne Vigneau Bordeaux, France
79 Le Dôme 97 Le Dome Bordeaux, France
80 Château Rieussec 97 Château Rieussec Sauternes, France
81 Château Gazin 97 Château Gazin Bordeaux, France
82 Château Pape Clément Blanc 97 Château Pape Clément Bordeaux, France
83 Château Pape Clément 97 Château Pape Clément Bordeaux, France
84 Château Petit-Village 97 Château Petit-Village Bordeaux, France
85 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste 97 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste Bordeaux, France
86 Domaine de L´Eglise 97 Domaine de L´Eglise Bordeaux, France
87 Château Valandraud blanc 97 Château Valandraud Bordeaux, France
88 Château Malescot-Saint-Exupery 97 Château Malescot St-Exupéry Bordeaux, France
89 Château Branaire 97 Château Branaire-Ducru Bordeaux, France
90 Château D´Issan 97 Château D´Issan Bordeaux, France
91 Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse 97 Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse Bordeaux, France
92 Eden Valley Riesling Julius 97 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
93 Château Margaux Pavillon Rouge 97 Château Margaux Bordeaux, France
94 Arômes de Pavie 97 Château Pavie Bordeaux, France
95 Chapelle Ausone 97 Château Ausone Bordeaux, France
96 Les Forts de Latour 97 Château Latour Bordeaux, France
97 Château Malartic-Lagraviere Blanc 96 Château Malartic-Lagraviere Bordeaux, France
98 Chateau Lynch-Bages 96 Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac, France
99 Château Nenin 96 Château Nenin Bordeaux, France
100 Château Phelan-Segur 96 Château Phelan-Segur Bordeaux, France
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