By James White

This year’s Bordeaux En Primeur looks set to be one of the most fascinating few months in fine wine since the turn of the century. As always, conversations regarding proposed pricing, market appetite and criteria for a successful release have proliferated amongst numerous haruspices for a few weeks. When we heard rumblings that Bordeaux 2023 would likely be the earliest campaign in memory, Cru leapt into action to give collectors as much substantive information and informed opinion as possible to help navigate what we believe will be a fast and furious calendar. 

Pricing will naturally be at the forefront of many minds as we approach these early releases, and whilst there will no doubt be a variety of tactics employed by châteaux as they navigate the current market, we are fairly confident that reductions on the 2022s are likely. Exact prices will remain in flux for many top wines right to the wire as the usual games of brinkmanship unfold, but our pre-order function will be equipped with price ranges informed by serious conversations with leading factions in Bordeaux and as such should provide a substantive indication. 

The crux of the campaign, as always, must remain the quality of 2023 as a vintage in general across the region. Aspects such as pricing and allocations will unveil themselves in due course and whilst we remain firmly optimistic on all fronts, the characteristics of the year serve as an immutable guide to collectors. 

What we know so far

Given the tremendous number of châteaux now producing wines worthy of serious attention when released En Primeur, many of the leading critics are yet to publish their full sets of tasting notes and assessments of the vintage. Whilst you can rest assured that Cru will be amongst the very first to make these expert opinions available to you when released, there has already been some impressive technical analysis of 2023 and overview by respected writers published ahead of the first releases.

‘...everything points to what might be called a 'classic' bordeaux vintage, one where the better wines show fruit and finesse over structure, richness and power. A year for fraîcheur (freshness) and équilibre (balance), brought about by terroir, gentle extraction, slightly lower alcohol and bright acidity’ 

Gavin Quinney ( 

As always providing masterful analysis of weather patterns and technical details, Gavin Quinney paints a picture of a vintage not without its challenges but ultimately capable of producing wines with impressive pedigree at the highest level. Digging into the details of events as they unfolded across 2023 in Bordeaux, some immediately positive news is the comparatively generous yields in the most prestigious appellations. Sandwiched between the extremes of 2022’s heat, which followed 2021’s frost and mildew, 2023 looks set to provide some needed respite from factors putting strain on production right across the region. Mercifully, this vintage sits comfortably above the 10-year average in many appellations, tantalising that elusive prospect of quality and quantity for which we all hope. 


A very warm year indeed with average levels of rainfall, the spectre of mildew was widely reported as being 2023’s particular nemesis. Proving once again how far viticulture had progressed in this most important of fine wine regions, the majority of top producers were able to contain any potential damage and we have had no serious suggestions of this affecting quality.  

The wines 

Our team will be tasting extensively in Bordeaux over the coming week, giving colour to the campaign and the many releases we expect to arrive before a majority of critics have published their assessments.  

One sentiment abounds amongst the winemakers regarding 2023, however, which is a sense of “Bordeaux-ness” imbued in the wines. Generous recent vintages such as 2018 and 2022 found very many appreciative collectors for their grandeur and generosity of fruit, but there are many for whom the restrained subtlety and complexity of the equally lauded 2019 were more indicative of the region’s raison d’etre. Tentatively, we suggest the 2023s should be approached in the context of the latter with an enviable classicism to the wines, including a reportedly significant reduction in alcohol across many top producers.  

The blessing of a more restrained profile to the wines is a sense of transparency, not only of terroir but also of winemaking. There is, to be plain, nowhere to hide in vintages of this style when extraction and treatment must be applied with a deft touch. As is always the case, cream rises, and this will likely be especially true in 2023. The honest, informed advice with which Cru always endeavours to provide our customers will be all the more vital during what we hope will be an En Primeur of attractive pricing and uncommon availability.   

Browse all 2023 Bordeaux wines