Bordeaux 2023 En Primeurs: 30 icons for your wine collection

Entrance to Chateau Figeac, one of iDealwine's 30 icocs from the 2023 En Primeurs

Word to the wise, contents might evaporate soon. Read this article promptly, and most importantly, act fast! You don’t want to be left with an empty cellar! After a slow start, the pace of this En Primeur campaign is gaining momentum, with a number of estates pouring a new lease of life into it! Now’s the time to take stock of your purchases and top up your orders with a few special bottles that will be the pride and joy of your collection. Here’s a rundown of the vintage’s major successes. Not only did they tantalise the taste buds of the iDealwine team at En Primeur tastings, but they also received a flurry of awards from the world’s leading critics including Wine Advocate, La Revue du Vin de France, Bettane+Desseauve, Le Point, James Suckling, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Jane Anson and Alexandre Ma.

As we previously stated, 2023 is difficult to summarise for a simple reason: The weather conditions that prevailed throughout the vintage varied considerably from one appellation to another, and even at times within the same appellation. Depending on these constraints, and with the weather becoming increasingly challenging for the teams every year, the decisions made proved crucial as did the nature of the soils. And the results reflect this perfectly. Some outstanding achievements rub shoulders with thinner wines. This doesn’t necessarily imply inferior quality but indicates that some wines should be opened and consumed more quickly than others. When looking to make investment purchases, it is important to consider the following criteria:

  • The wines’ ageing potential including their level of acidity
  • The complexity, texture and structure of the wines, which is the result of the winemaking team’s work and decisions made based on extreme weather conditions
  • The quality of the terroir, and particularly in 2023, the resilience of some soils (especially clay-limestone soils) during episodes of drought

On top of these criteria, it is good to look at the opinions of the tasting panel as some wines have received unanimous critical acclaim, an undeniable sign of success. Here, within the iDealwine team, we compared our favourites against the ratings awarded by critics and professional tasters. This is the basis for the list of this vintage’s stars that can be found below.

All these points illustrate the quality of the wines eligible for icon status from the 2023 vintage. Another key criterion in any approach to wine investment, of course, is the selling price which is closely linked to the rarity of the wines. Admittedly, some prices have seen major changes in 2023. Having said that, it makes sense to compare the price differential with other great, slightly older vintages, and not just with those from 2022. In the end, it’s up to you to make up your own shortlist of icons. And here, among our favourites, are the wines we believe meet the maximum criteria to qualify for this enviable status. Ultimately, your personal tastes should be the most important thing to consider as well as the desire, someday, to open these bottles that embody French winemaking.

In this list of 30 wines from the 2023 vintage, Saint-Emilion stands out, with eight ambassadors reflecting the variety of soils, choices in the vineyard, and estate sizes. Tasters praised the fresh, lively character of the wines from this appellation, a major triumph for Cabernet Franc grown on clay-limestone soils.

Pessac-Léognan is also in the heavily featured. Château Haut-Brion faces stiff competition from Carmes Haut-Brion, THE estate that has reignited interest in the 2023 En Primeur wines and so far, the campaign’s clear front-runner. Two estates were commended for their reds and whites (Domaine de Chevalier and Smith Haut-Lafitte), joined by Château Haut-Bailly, whose second wine, Haut-Bailly II, is particularly delicate.

From the Médoc region, Pauillac and Margaux are on a par with four estates representing each of the appellations. The 1855 classification is clearly being adhered to, with Château Lafite, the outstanding wine that received the strongest endorsement from leading tasters, Château Léoville Las Cases, Château Léoville Barton and Château Ducru-Beaucaillou (the latter three are all from the Saint-Julien appellation) all present. Saint-Estèphe also stays true to the 1855 hierarchy with Cos d’Estournel and Château Montrose delivering dazzling examples of 2023 Cabernet Sauvignon. Last but not least, from Pomerol, Château La Conseillante and Château l’Evangile produced remarkable wines in 2023. We couldn’t round off this list of icons without mentioning these two Sauternes icons, Châteaux Suduiraut and Lafaurie Peyraguey, which left lasting impressions on critics.

The question is, which of these bottles will feature on your list of 2023 icons?

View all the 2023 En Primeur campaign wines for sale here: iDealwine Primeurs

PauillacChâteau Lafite Rothschild
PauillacChâteau Mouton Rothschild
PauillacChâteau Pichon Baron
PauillacChâteau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
MargauxChâteau Brane-Cantenac
MargauxChâteau Giscours
MargauxChâteau Margaux
MargauxChâteau Rauzan-Ségla
Saint-JulienChâteau Ducru-Beaucaillou
Saint-JulienChâteau Léoville Barton
Saint-JulienChâteau Léoville Las Cases
Saint-EstèpheCos d’Estournel
Saint-EstèpheChâteau Montrose
Pessac-LéognonChâteau Haut-Bailly
Pessac-LéognonChâteau Haut-Brion
Pessac-LéognonDomaine de Chevalier
Pessac-LéognonChâteau Les Carmes Haut-Brion
Pessac-LéognonChâteau Smith Haut Lafitte
PomerolChâteau La Conseillante
PomerolChâteau L’Evangile
Saint-EmilionChâteau Cheval Blanc
Saint-EmilionChâteau Figeac
Saint-EmilionChâteau Canon
Saint-EmilionChâteau Beauséjour
Saint-EmilionChâteau Larcis-Ducasse
Saint-EmilionChâteau Pavie-Macquin
Saint-EmilionChâteau Troplong Mondot
Saint-EmilionClos Fourtet
SauternesChâteau Lafaurie-Peyraguey
SauternesChâteau Suduiraut

Read our other articles on the 2023 En Primeurs:

En Primeur 2023 | Bordeaux 2023 coverage: Weather and wine characteristics

But why bother buying Bordeaux En Primeur wine?

En Primeur 2023 | Sauternes and Barsac: Vintage analysis and top picks

En Primeur 2023 | Médoc vintage analysis and top picks

En Primeur 2023 | Right Bank vintage analysis and top picks including Saint-Emilion and Pomerol

En Primeur 2023 | Vintage analysis and top picks from Pessac-Léognan

Bordeaux En Primeur: 25 Best Value Wines without Compromise