2023 Bordeaux

What was the 2023 Vintage like?

The 2023 growing season is full of twists and turns that needed navigating. After a mild winter, bud break was a little early, though not too much so that frost threatened. Alternating periods of rainfall and sunshine followed which kept producers on their toes. Warmth and moisture created a high mildew risk. This is where generalisations should stop, whilst there were parts of Bordeaux where mildew was a real challenge and impacted heavily (particularly Merlot), it was not the case in all properties and the impact varied.

Véraison started early and then was very slow, at this stage, the concern was for the Cabernet and whether they would ripen fully. Late summer, the weather was very warm, and a long period of drought ensued, which enabled the Cabernet to be left on the vine and enjoy a long period of ripening. Late in the season, various areas saw heavy rain on the horizon, some choosing to pick prior. The rain did not generally arrive to the extent predicted, those who had left their grapes out reaping the rewards.

At each tasting, discussions around extraction and tannin management were high on the agenda. New, innovative techniques, all in all lighter and more delicate than in the past. Required as we see the climate change and an abundance of tannin and colour in the grapes. 

Dry white wines will be wonderfully aromatic and fresh, one of the key contributing factors was the lack of sunshine. There was heat, but not sunshine, enabling the freshness to be preserved. There are often higher percentages of Sauvignon Blanc, favoured for the fresh acidity and a variety that faired well this year. 

Rain at the end of the season resulted in a lot of noble rot. The skies then cleared, the grapes harvested in Sauternes developing high levels of botrytis. It’s a wonderful year for complex sweet wines.