En Primeur Bordeaux 2023

St Estephe - The wines with tasting notes

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[Add to shopping basket] Calon Segur St Estephe £468 6x75cl 92-94 96-97 94-96 97 94-96 95-98
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The 2023 Calon Ségur is a wine for readers who can be patient. In many recent years, Calon Ségur has been quite showy, but this is not one of them. Bold acids and huge tannins dominate at this stage. Bright red-toned fruit is a signature, but the 2023 is a powerful, young Calon Ségur that will clearly need time to come together. Bright acids extend the finish beautifully.

Score: 94 - 96 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2033-2063

Blackcurrant, blueberry, cedar, pine needle and black truffle here. I don't think much about the nose with barrel samples, but this is splendid. It's medium-bodied with very fresh acidity and fine, linear tannins that are long and lively. Energy here. Refined. Salty character at the last minute. I may like this better than 2022. A blend of 72% cabernet sauvignon, 15% merlot, 12% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot.

Score: 96 - 97 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

The 2023 Calon-Ségur is another en primeur success for this resurgent Saint-Estèphe third growth. Wafting from the glass with aromas of cassis, pencil shavings, wild berries and plums, it's medium to full-bodied, cool and layered, with a deep and integrated core, terrific concentration, lively acids and refined structuring tannins, concluding with a long, penetrating finish. It's a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot that checks in at 14% alcohol.

Score: 94 - 96 William Kelley, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com

Precise and confident texture to this wine, has higher levels of both Cabernets in 2023 than in 2022, having reached exceptional maturity, and personally I feel that have recaptured the heart and spirit of Calon. Skilfully made, love the violet peony savoury character, it's sappy and has liqourice root and squid ink salinity, along with tons of cassis and cigar box. The blend for this was built on Cabernet, and you can feel it. My favourite Calon since the 2020 vintage, hands down. 100% new oak, director Vincent Millet.

Score: 97 Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux Maturity: 2032-2050

The 2023 Calon Ségur was picked September 6 to 30 at 45hL/ha. As usual, it is being aged entirely in new oak for a planned 20 months. It has a tight, cohesive bouquet of predominantly black fruit intermixed with wild hedgerow, tobacco and melted tar. The palate is medium-bodied with impressive grip on the entry—quite fresh, with a subtle marine tincture and a touch of Japanese nori in the background. It gently fans out on the finish, but it remains controlled and especially linear for Calon-Ségur, perhaps less swayed by the Merlot (15% of the blend). Classy.

Score: 92 - 94 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2030-2060

The 2023 Château Calon Ségur is absolutely brilliant and clearly in the top handful of wines in the vintage. Based on 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot, it has a stunning array of cassis and black raspberry-like fruits intermixed with smoky tobacco, graphite, and classy oak. Full-bodied, concentrated, and seamlessly textured, it has more mid-palate depth, richness, and length than just about every other wine out there.

Score: 95 - 98 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

[Add to shopping basket] Capbern St Estephe £100 6x75cl 89-91 93-94 91-93 89 90-92 -
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The 2023 Capbern is a plush, sensual wine. Juicy dark plum, spice, mocha, gravel and incense are all amplified in this racy, wonderfully inviting Saint-Estèphe. Soft, supple tannins wrap it all together in style. Readers looking for an affordable wine to drink over the next 10-12 years will adore this. Superb.

Score: 90 - 92 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2025-2038

There is clarity and freshness to this, with crunchy dark fruit, cedar and blackberry. It’s medium-bodied, racy and fine. Lead pencil at the end. More precise than 2022. 69% cabernet sauvignon, 29% merlot, 1% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot.

Score: 93 - 94 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

A serious, brooding wine, the 2023 Capbern offers up aromas of cassis and dark berries mingled with licorice and spices. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and layered, with good depth and concentration, it's built around lively acids and powdery tannins. It's a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon (an unusually high proportion for Capbern) and 29% Merlot with the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Score: 91 - 93 William Kelley, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com

Highly spiced blackberry and cassis fruits, liquorice root, coffee beans, creamy cappucino, even a touch of grated ginger which adds freshness to what is a pretty intense Capbern. The alcohols are unusually high for the vintage in this sector of Bordeaux, and it brings a supple character to the tannins and a rich texture to the fruit - underlining that Capbern is far away from the tradionally-framed St Estèphe it was in the past. 45hl/h yield, 60% new oak for ageing, harvested September 6.

Score: 89 Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux Maturity: 2029-2040

The 2023 Capbern was picked from September 6 to 20 at 45hL/ha, matured in 60% new oak. Alcohol is stated at 14.6%. It has a ripe, plush bouquet with brambly red fruit, raspberry confit and just a hint of orange rind coming through with aeration. The palate is well-balanced and cohesive, with slightly powdery tannins, gentle grip and a touch of warmth on the spice box-tinged finish. The acidity (pH is 3.7) keeps this on an even keel, but I would be inclined to drink it after two or three years.

Score: 89 - 91 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2027-2040

[Add to shopping basket] Cos d'Estournel St Estephe £720 6x75cl 94-96 98-99 95-96 97 96-98 95-97
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The 2023 Cos d’Estournel is fabulous. Dark, resonant and inviting, the 2023 has so much to offer. All the elements are beautifully woven together. Black cherry, plum, licorice, espresso, mocha and incense fill out the layers. Readers will find a Cos endowed with tremendous substance and intensity. I can't remember a young Cos with this much fruit concentration, yet there is nothing overdone here. I loved it.

Score: 96 - 98 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2033-2063

The finesse is pretty phenomenal here, with such complexity of fruit and vivid, bright flowers. Lavender and rose. Seductive. Ever-so long and precise. Lead pencil and graphite. Reminiscent of old, great Cos, such as 1955 or 1982, but with so much more form and modernity. A renaissance of Cos. 65% cabernet sauvignon, 33% merlot, 1% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot.

Score: 98 - 99 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

A contemporary classic in the making, the 2023 Cos d'Estournel has turned out beautifully, reflecting a lighter touch with extraction that has delivered more sensuality and harmony without the loss of any of the estate's signature power and authority. Wafting from the glass with deep aromas of cassis, wild berries, orange zest and exotic spices, framed by well-integrated new wood, it's medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, with a concentrated core of fruit, beautifully suave tannins and a cool, seamless profile. It's a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot that attained 12.9% alcohol and is being matured in 50% new oak.

Score: 95 - 96 William Kelley, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com

Step into Cos d'Estournel, with its richness, depths and layers of cocoa bean, liquorice, espresso, chocolate, exceptional chewiness on the tannins, making things fairly serious at this early stage, with a promise of slow-revealed pleasure over the decades ahead. First time doing green harvest in the vineyards since 2008, causing some worries over the late heat waves on already ripening grapes, but they have retained balanced alchols here, and there is plenty of juice to lift things up on the finish. Harvest September 12 to 29 (last year finished September 22). 50% new oak for ageing, 53% 1st wine. In organic conversion (that began in 2021, but have had to extend after addition of a few more plots to the vineyard).

Score: 97 Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux Maturity: 2032-2050

The 2023 Cos d'Estournel, picked from September 12 to 29 and matured in 50% new oak, blossoms in the glass. The aromatics deliver nearly immediate gratification: black cherries, wild strawberries, crushed violet petals and vanilla pod. It’s all quite sumptuous but very well focused. The palate is medium-bodied with finely chiseled, slightly powdery tannins. It’s beautifully balanced with a very pure and seductive finish. This is a notably composed and assured Cos d'Estournel, almost a lesson in how less can be more. It’s only a couple of steps behind the previous vintage.

Score: 94 - 96 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2033-2065

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, violets, spicy oak, and chocolate-driven aromatics. Rich, full-bodied, and beautifully textured, it has the fresher yet ripe style of the vintage, beautiful tannins, integrated acidity, and a great finish. It's a beautifully elegant yet powerful wine in the making from this team.

Score: 95 - 97 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

[Add to shopping basket] Dame de Montrose (2nd wine of Montrose) St Estephe £144 6x75cl 89-91 94-95 91-93 92 92-94 -
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The 2023 La Dame de Montrose is a rich, heady wine. Succulent dark cherry, plum, new leather, spice, menthol, licorice and mocha are beautifully amplified. Explosive to the core, the 2023 possesses tons of aromatic intensity and pure volume. This showy, Merlot-based Dame is quite alluring.

Score: 92 - 94 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2027-2043

The blackberries and blackcurrants show through beautifully, together with very integrated tannins. Dense and textured. Transparent. Graphite coming through. Second wine of Montrose. 61% merlot, 32% cabernet sauvignon, 5% petit verdot and 2% cabernet franc.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

Another strong performance from this bottling, which dependably numbers among Bordeaux's top three or four second wines, the 2023 La Dame de Montrose reveals aromas of cassis, pencil shavings and licorice, followed by a medium to full-bodied, deep and dense palate that's polished, pure and layered, with sweet tannins, lively acids and a saline finish. It's a blend of 61% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc.

Score: 91 - 93 William Kelley, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com

Silky tannins with grip and intensity, a lovely balance of texture and fresh acidities. Slate and pummice stone grip, this is delicious, with appellation typicity in its powerful black fruits, but measured with a saline kick on the finish. In organic conversion, to be certified 2025.

Score: 92 Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux Maturity: 2028-2040

The 2023 La Dame de Montrose has a light and slightly tertiary nose, with touches of tea leaves infusing the black fruit. The palate is soft and supple on the entry, with licorice-tinged black fruit and a rounded, cracked-black-pepper-tinged finish. There’s good body for a Deuxième Vin. This will give a decade of drinking pleasure.

Score: 89 - 91 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026-2037

[Add to shopping basket] De Pez St Estephe £141 6x75cl 90-92 - 91-93 91 90-93 -
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The 2023 de Pez represents another important step for the property. The team, led by Pichon Comtesse Technical Director Nicolas Glumineau, continues to work toward a more refined style than in the past. Black cherry, plum, licorice and mocha fill out the layers nicely. There's still plenty of Saint-Estèphe breadth, but these days, the tannins show greater polish. Floral overtones extend the finish. Tasted three times.

Score: 90 - 93 Antonio Galloni, Inside Bordeaux Maturity: 2027-2043

The 2023 de Pez confirms the progress taking place at this address. As readers may remember, this estate has now been fully restructured and serves as something of a research and development laboratory for its sibling, Pichon Lalande, and director Nicolas Glumineau and his team have been working to bring more precision and purity to the wine. Offering up aromas of cassis, violets and pencil shavings, framed by nicely integrated new oak, it's medium to full-bodied, polished and suave, with a layered core of sweet, vibrant fruit framed by ripe, powdery tannins.

Score: 91 - 93 William Kelley, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com

Attractive chalky rose character on the opening beats, unfussy blueberry and redcurrant fruits, with fine tannic grip. Enjoyable and easy to recommend. Harvest September 6 to 29, no new oak for ageing for the 2nd wine, split instead between 50% one year and 50% large scale oak casks for 12 months. A 2nd wine was introduced at this excellent value St Estèphe property since 2019, but not made in 2022.

Score: 91 Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux Maturity: 2025-2032

The 2023 Château de Pez has a refined bouquet that demands some coaxing from the glass. It shyly reveals black brambly fruit, a hint of melted tar and black tea, very pure in style as it gradually finds its voice. The palate is medium-bodied with quite firm tannins and good backbone. Fresh, with admirable salinity, it just needs a little more cohesion on the finish (though a second bottle at Pichon Lalande showed exactly that). This is a very fine Saint-Estèphe.

Score: 90 - 92 Neal Martin, Inside Bordeaux Maturity: 2028-2040

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