Bordeaux 2023 – critics’ top choices

Bordeaux 2023 – critics’ top choices

by Westgarth Wines May 16, 2024

The 2023 Bordeaux futures campaign is now in full swing and rapidly gathering momentum. Just this week, we have seen the release of Ausone, Ducru-Beaucaillou, Lynch-Bages, Haut-Brion, and La Mission Haut-Brion.

For collectors, critic scores are crucial in making sophisticated buying decisions. In the following summary, we break down major critics’ top choices from the most talked-about Bordeaux vintage of the moment.

James Suckling’s top-scoring wines

For James Suckling, the 2023 vintage boasted “some of the brightest and liveliest red Bordeaux [he had] tasted in years”.

The critic found potential for perfection in more Bordeaux 2023 wines than any other critic.

He awarded six wines a barrel range of 99-100 points: Château Canon, Le Pin, Château Margaux, Château Montrose, Château Pavie, and Château Pétrus.

While he called it a “vintage to love”, he recognized that “whether the wine trade or consumers really want to buy 2023 now is a matter of great debate”.

When it comes to back vintage comparisons, Suckling looked back to 2019, 2016, 2001, 1996, and 1995. Many of these older wines are now in their optimal drinking windows.

Jeb Dunnuck’s Bordeaux 2023 favorites

Jeb Dunnuck awarded three Bordeaux 2023 wines a potential 100 points, with his highest score of 97-100 going to Château Montrose. Château La Mission Haut-Brion 2023 and Château Margaux 2023 received 96-100 points.

For Dunnuck, 2023 is “a good to very good, but not a great year for Bordeaux”. The critic expressed a preference for the Cabernet-dominated blends of the Left Bank, specifically top Médoc and Graves.

In terms of overall quality and style, Dunnuck argued that Bordeaux 2023 “surpasses 2014, 2017, and 2021 yet is a solid step back from the incredible trio of 2018 through 2020, and most likely will be surpassed by 2022 as well”.

Neal Martin awards one wine a potential 100 points

Only Château L’Église-Clinet 2023 received 98-100 points from Neal Martin (Vinous). He described it as “very harmonious” and argued that it “ranks as one of the best wines of the vintage”.

He gave 97-99 points to another three wines: Château Margaux, Le Pin, and Château Lafleur.

According to the critic, the keyword that defined 2023 is “classicism”, meaning “lower alcohol levels in the 13-something range,” without the opulence of previous vintages.

He said that there were “spots of astounding quality” but also “all manner of shortcomings”. Martin further argued that “unequivocally, it is a great vintage for dry whites”.

Antonio Galloni on Bordeaux 2023

Like Dunnuck, Vinous’ Antonio Galloni gave a slight edge to the Left Bank in 2023. The critic praised the “high level of quality and consistency” in Saint-Estèphe and Margaux although he noted that “there are plenty of stars on the Right Bank too”.  

His favorite wines included the ‘real stunner’ Château Suduiraut (98-100), the “breathtaking” Château Palmer (98-100), and the “exceptionally polished” Château Margaux (97-100). The critic also named Palmer his wine of the year, explaining that it is “the single most viscerally thrilling wine [he] tasted en primeur”.

Overall, Galloni contended that “2023 has a lot to offer. It is not a great vintage across the board, yet plenty of wines merit serious attention”.

From the collective insights of all critics, it becomes clear that Bordeaux 2023 is a diverse vintage, offering some extraordinary wines that merit attention, whether to buy now or once they are ready to drink.

For more mature Bordeaux vintages, browse our online selection.

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