En Primeur Bordeaux 2023

St Julien - The wines with tasting notes

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[Add to shopping basket] Beychevelle St Julien £359 6x75cl 92-94 94-95 93-94 94 94-96 93-96
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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. This juicy, extroverted Saint-Julien has a ton to offer. The combination of fruit intensity, acid and supporting structure is superb. The 2023 is showy, but not at all overdone. Beychevelle remains one of the most distinctive wines in all of Bordeaux. It is especially classy in this edition. Tasted two times.

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

Pure fruit to this, with blueberries, hazelnuts, walnut and blackcurrants. Just like eating grapes at this stage. It has a full body, juicy tannins and a savory finish. Remains vivid and energetic.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

The 2023 Beychevelle has turned out especially well this year, exhibiting a more integrated, seductive style than recent vintages that were constructed in a punchier, more extracted register. Offering up aromas of cassis and plums mingled with notions of pen ink, violets and pencil shavings, it's medium to full-bodied, broad and fleshy, with a deep core of fruit and a classy, suave profile that foregrounds the estate's prime vineyard holdings on the plateau around Ducru-Beaucaillou. It's a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot that represents 50% of the estate's production.

Score: 93 - 94 William Kelley, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com

Plummy red fruits, fresh acidities, sculpted tannic architure, this has balance and finesse, white pepper, capsicum spice, black tea, cigar box, liqourice root, rose petals, fine tannins, St Julien balance with a kick of smoked oak on the finish.

Score: 94 Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux Maturity: 2029-2044

The 2023 Beychevelle was picked from September 13 through October 6 over 17 days of harvest, partly because of the size of the crop and not having to rush. It has the highest proportion of Merlot under winemaker Philippe Blanc (35%), and it matured in 70% new oak. This has a notably floral and tightly-knit bouquet, leaning a little more toward blue fruit than other Saint-Julien wines tasted from barrel. The oak is nicely integrated. The palate is medium-bodied with strict tannins that impart a sense of linearity. Very saline, this is a saliva-inducing Beychevelle, lightly spiced with a structured, almost Pauillac-like finish. Excellent.

Score: 92 - 94 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2029-2055

From a château that seems to have hit another gear over the past five to seven years, the 2023 Château Beychevelle is based on 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, pulled from 60% of the total production, and will see 18 months in 70% new French oak. Its deep purple hue is followed by a deep, rich, medium to full-bodied Saint-Julien loaded with ripe red and blue fruits, leafy herbs, truffle, iron, and spring flowers. It's medium to full-bodied, has a remarkable sense of freshness and purity, velvety tannins, and outstanding length. The 2023 hit 13.3% alcohol with a rock-solid pH of 3.67.

Score: 93 - 96 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

[Add to shopping basket] Branaire Ducru St Julien £193 6x75cl 92-94 95-96 93-94 94 91-93 -
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The 2023 Branaire-Ducru offers up pretty notes of crushed red/purplish berry fruit, lavender, spice and mint. At this stage, the 2023 comes across as a bit light, even within the context of this property, where the wines are always laid back relative to neighboring estates. Perhaps the 2023 will flesh out over time. We will see. Tasted two times.

Score: 91 - 93 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2030-2053

This has so much lead pencil, stone and blackcurrant character, as well as blackberry. It’s medium-bodied with a solid core of fruit and a polished finish. Very classy and structured.

Score: 95 - 96 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

The 2023 Branaire-Ducru has turned out beautifully, wafting from the glass with classy aromas of dark berries, plums, pencil shavings and licorice, followed by a medium to full-bodied, cool and layered palate that's seamless, complete and enveloping, with terrific depth and vibrancy of fruit, refined tannins and a long, suave finish. At 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5.5% Cabernet Franc and 3.5% Petit Verdot, it's almost the same blend as the 2022, though at 13.1% alcohol and a pH of 3.63, it's more classically proportioned. Harvest began on September 12 and dragged on through October 4, parcel by parcel, with the vintage's healthy yields meaning the team could use their new winery, equipped with 63 smaller tanks, to keep all those components separate.

Score: 93 - 94 William Kelley, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com

Bright fruits, slate tannins, peony florals, black tea, tobacco and tons of St Julien finesse. Cabernet dominant in aroamtics and fruit character, a delicious Branaire. 53hl/ha yields.

Score: 94 Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux Maturity: 2029-2040

The 2023 Branaire Ducru was picked from September 12, on the same day as last year, albeit with a longer harvest, as they finished on October 4. Yields were 53hL/ha, and the blend is almost the same as the 2022. This is the second vintage made in the new winery. My sample came from a new-oak barrel, but the final blend will include 60%. Lucid purple in color, it has a charming, very pure bouquet, perhaps less opulent than some of its Saint-Julien peers, yet precise. Delicate floral scents permeate the predominant red fruit, never bursting from the glass but unfurling with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly edgy tannins that impart tension, veering slightly more to black fruit on the mid-palate. This is certainly one of the most elegant Branaire-Ducru vintages to date, but it has more weight on the finish (something that has been addressed in recent years.) Understated and sapid, it should be open for business a little earlier than others, but it will age well over 20 to 25 years.

Score: 92 - 94 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2028-2050

[Add to shopping basket] Clos du Marquis St Julien £231 6x75cl 91-93 95-96 91-93 94 93-95 -
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The 2023 Clos du Marquis might very well be the best Clos du Marquis I have ever tasted. A wine of freshness and verve, the 2023 is all nuance. Sweet red plum, blood orange, spice, flowers, mint and white pepper are all finely cut. The 2023 shows more vibrancy, less oak extraction and more refined tannins than in the past. It’s a glorious wine in every way. This early tasting is hugely promising. Clos du Marquis could turn out to be one of the real surprises of 2023.

Score: 93 - 95 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2028-2043

This offers beautiful blackcurrants and blackberries with hints of chocolate and walnuts. Medium- to full-bodied with vivid acidity that adds tension and freshness to the mid-palate. It’s full of life and vibrancy, very fine and polished, and with nicely integrated tannins. Long finish. 56% cabernet sauvignon, 35% merlot and 9% cabernet franc. What will be better between 2022 and 2023?

Score: 95 - 96 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

The 2023 Clos du Marquis is a rather serious, structured wine, evocative of cherries, dark berries and kirsch, framed by a touch of creamy new oak. Medium to full-bodied and fleshy but structured, it's a taut, concentrated wine that will reward some patience.

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

Squid ink, cassis, bilberry, roses, love the intensity and gorgeous salinity of this wine. Captures the sense of energy and florality in the best Cabernets of 2023, although retains the austerity that you expect from this site in its early years. First vintage in the new cellars, moving from 40 vats to 80 vats, with 30 microvinification vats. Harvest September 6 to October 5, 50% new oak for ageing, 44hl/h yields.

Score: 94 Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux Maturity: 2030-2045

The 2023 Clos du Marquis was picked from September 6 to October 5 at 44hL/ha and matured in 50% new oak. It has a complex bouquet, comprising a mélange of red and black fruit, cedar and subtle touches of violet—very charming. The palate is medium-bodied with fine grip. It’s a little creamy in texture on the entry, but there is solid backbone and a saline finish. This is very promising.

Score: 91 - 93 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2029-2050

[Add to shopping basket] Croix Ducru Beaucaillou (2nd label of Ducru) St Julien £182 6x75cl 91-93 94-95 - 93 90-92 91-93
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The 2023 La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou marries sophistication with the textural richness that is such a signature here. All the elements are so well balanced. Jammy dark red fruit, pomegranate, blood orange, spice and mocha infuse the 2023 with tons of nuance. Supple tannins wrap it all together. This Saint-Julien screams with character.

Score: 90 - 92 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2025-2035

The purity of fruit is so beautiful here with blackcurrants and violets, as well as freshly shaved lead pencil. It’s medium-bodied with refined tannins that are wonderfully polished and give plenty of texture. Goes on for minutes. Second wine of Ducru. 58% merlot, 40% cabernet sauvignon and 2% petit verdot.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

Inky plum colour, high tannic count (91IPT) but with a cushion of air running underneath, this delivers a contrast of light and shade, and captures an effortless St Julien character, coulpled with floral and savoury Cabernet, and the kick of gourmet cocoa bean that is a signature of the wine. 60% new oak.

Score: 93 Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux Maturity: 2025-2032

The 2023 La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou has a very perfumed and floral bouquet: plush red berry fruit, vanilla, cedar and blood orange, well-defined with deftly integrated new oak (60%). The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannins that lend this La Croix a bit more backbone than recent vintages. It’s very fresh; white pepper and thyme complement the bright red fruit, leading to an overtly peppery finish, with a touch of graphite on the aftertaste.

Score: 91 - 93 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2029-2045

The true second wine of this great château, the 2023 La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou is 58% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Petit Verdot, resting in a mix of mostly once-used oak. It has a more Cabernet nose of ripe red, blue, and black fruits as well as subtle tobacco, iron, sappy flowers, and graphite notes. Medium-bodied, balanced, and elegant on the palate, it has fine tannins and a great finish. It shines for its overall balance as well as purity. This beauty hit 13.5% alcohol, with a pH of 3.71 and a massive IPT of 91.

Score: 91 - 93 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

[Add to shopping basket] Ducru Beaucaillou St Julien £744 6x75cl 94-96 96-97 - 96 95-97 95-97
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The 2023 Ducru-Beaucaillou is a heady, sumptuous Saint-Julien. The aromatics alone are captivating. Truffle, rose petal, blood orange, pomegranate, spice and menthol build in a creamy, lavish Ducru. The 2023 is a classic Bruno Borie wine that emphasizes textural opulence. Time in the glass brings out gorgeous floral and spice-driven top notes. The balance of opulence and vibrancy is compelling.

Score: 95 - 97 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2033-2063

This has aromas of blackberries and blackcurrant, as well as graphite and flint. Some gunpowder. It’s full-bodied with extremely refined tannins, a creamy character and al-dente fruit at the finish. Crunchy, succulent and linear. Mineral edge to it, like licking a stone. Energetic. 83% cabernet sauvignon and 17% merlot.

Score: 96 - 97 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

Glass-staining violet. A serious Ducru, delivered with precision and balance, with plenty of concentration and a slow, long build, layered, fine and sappy tannins. Proof again that this is a great Cabernet year in this corner of Bordeaux, less velvet concentration than the 2022 Ducru perhaps, but more finesse and packed full of nuance, and a saline mouthwatering finish. 41hl/h yield, 100% new oak, with long seasoning of up to five years, nine different coopers.

Score: 96 Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux Maturity: 2030-2050

The 2023 Ducru-Beaucaillou, matured in 100% new oak for a planned 18 months, has a less forceful bouquet than the 2022 last year and, consequently, shows more refinement and poise. The scents don't come barging out of the blocks, but they creep up on you. The palate is medium-bodied with a fresh entry. Showing moderate depth, it’s quite linear in style and grippy. A faint touch of bell pepper emerges on the classically styled finish that reminds me of some of the old vintages of Ducru-Beaucaillou. This is the strictest vintage I have encountered in some time.

Score: 94 - 96 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2030-2065

As to the Grand Vin, the 2023 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou brings everything up a level, offering a gorgeous perfume of crème de cassis, spring flowers, graphite, and crushed stone. This gives way to a medium to full-bodied, pure, incredibly elegant Ducru that has ample mid-palate depth, building tannins, and a great spine of acidity. It’s another gorgeous wine from this chateau that plays in the style of the 2010, 2016, and 2020. The 2023 is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, again in new barrels, and it hit 13% alcohol, a pH of 3.7, and an IPT of 89. It will have 50+ years of longevity.

Score: 95 - 97 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

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