En Primeur 2023 | 15 fine wines for less than €50

Château Branaire-Ducru in Saint-Julien

The 2023 vintage has been released, and now all the estates that opt to distribute their wines in this way have published their price lists.  Our team has selected some outstanding wines from this vintage, which is characterised by freshness and elegance, meaning that we don’t have to wait too long until we can enjoy it. In terms of prices, estates sought to make a statement, and the 2023 En Primeur prices are down by an average 15% compared with the previous year, with some of the grand crus classés seeing greater decreases.

Now is a good time to take a step back from the campaign and consider a selection of 15 of the vintage’s finest wines priced at under €50. To begin with, we’ve unearthed three inexpensive wines (under €20), alongside five favourites from the Right Bank, priced between €20 and €30. Our selection also includes 7 fine wines priced between €30 and €50. Perfect to stock up your cellar with superb bottles of Bordeaux for every occasion!

Three stars priced under €20

Let’s open the ball with Château Lilian Ladouys 2023, a Saint-Estèphe listed as one of the 14 Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel. Released at €16.98 (16% down on 2022), equivalent to €100.08 per case, this wine offers – let’s be bold – the best value for money of the vintage! James Suckling and the Wine Advocate respectively rated it 92-93 and 91-93/100, with some critics such as Alexandre Ma even going as high as 94/100! This Saint-Estèphe can be laid down for up to fifteen years without batting an eyelid.

Owned by the Barton family (Léoville Barton and Langoa Barton), Château Mauvesin Barton has been enjoying a revival in recent years. And the 2023 vintage proves it as the estate’s wines have won us over! These wines were actually presented during iDealwine’s summer tasting soirée which was held on 11th June at the Galerie Guillaume in Paris. Guests who came to taste the 2020 and 2018 vintages were certainly impressed…  In other words, this is a covetable Moulis-en-Médoc, especially as its qualities didn’t elude experienced critics such as James Suckling who awarded it 93-94/100 and the French wine magazine Revue du Vin de France rating 90-92/100.

Château du Taillan, a reserved, charming estate on the outskirts of Bordeaux, produces a consistent wine, and their 2023 is worthy of the classic elegance expected from a bottle of Bordeaux. The 2023, priced at €15.10 incl. tax, marks a revival largely attributable to the advice of oenologist Axel Marchal. Luscious, seductive and admirably fresh. “Everything is just right, creating the perfect balance,” concludes Terre de Vins in its particularly glowing review, awarding it 94/100.

Five must-haves priced between €20 and €30

Let’s swing over to the Right Bank of the Bordeaux wine scene, where we unearthed three wines we feel are essential additions to your collection, priced between €20 and €30:

  • Château Olivier Blanc 2023, Pessac-Léognan: €22.50
    To appreciate the freshness of the 2023 wines, nothing beats an elegant white from Pessac! The one produced by Château Olivier reveals some tropical notes along with delicate white fruit and white floral aromas. Bettane+Desseauve is full of praise: “Beautiful precise and complex aromas, supple body and great immediate drinkability. Good value for money. (91-92/100). Delicate palates will appreciate it.
    (94-95/100 James Suckling, 92-93/100 Revue du Vin de France).
  • Château Laroque 2023, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru classé: €28.50 – 15% price drop compared with 2022
    Under the talented leadership of David Suire – who also oversees the proceedings at the Pavie Macquin and Nicolas Thienpont properties – Château Laroque is one of the prized finds whispered about among wine lovers…  Definitely well worth keeping an eye on!
    (93-94/100 James Suckling, 93-95/100 Le Figaro Vin, 93-95/100 The Wine Independent, 95/100 Alexandre Ma).
  • Château de Ferrand 2023, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru classé: €29.20
    Hats off to the estate’s team for producing a precise, delicate and infinitely elegant 2023. We really relished the experience of tasting it!
    (94-95/100 James Suckling, 93-95/100 Le Figaro Vin, 90-92/100 The Wine Independent, 96/100 Alexandre Ma), 13% price drop compared to 2022.

Averaging scores of 93 and 92/100 from leading critics (with just one rating between 85 and 89), it’s fair to say that the two Saint-Émilion Grands Crus classés, Château Laroque and Château de Ferrand were unanimously applauded by the press! The iDealwine team also commended these 2023s during the April En Primeur tasting week. Be sure not to miss out as these wines, priced under €30, are perfect for your cellar where they will age well over the next fifteen years!

  • Fancy treating yourself to a prestigious Saint-Estèphe without breaking the bank? Then Château Meyney is the answer! According to Michel Bettane, the vineyard is located on one of the finest terroirs in the Médoc, a magnificent gravelly hillside that gently winds its way down to the estuary. Meyney has produced a 2023 that is “as gentle and soothing as the evening sun”… That is all the information we need to know – the wine can be savoured for €26, following the recommendation of the 94/100 rating awarded by Bettane+Desseauve: “As usual, Meyney is a priority for wine enthusiasts.” (Rated 93-94/100 by Le Figaro, James Suckling and Alexandre Ma.)
  • And finally, in Margaux, need we reiterate that Château Siran, one of the team’s regular favourites, deserves its rightful place in any wine lover’s cellar?  Le Figaro was impressed by the wine’s Margaux delicacy: “Deliciously satisfying, almost sensual.” (93-95/100). There is nothing more to say except that it is priced at €29.

Seven outstanding bottles ranging from €30 to €50

We certainly had a number of favourites in Saint-Émilion, which reflects the variety of styles and terroirs that define the appellation. The wines produced by Château Grand Corbin Despagne, a biodynamic estate, embody the finesse we appreciate. The Revue du Vin de France certainly hit the nail on the head, stating “Grand Corbin Despagne dazzles us with its extra finesse. An open, tender, and harmonious 2023.” (91-93/100). For Bettane+Desseauve, Grand Corbin Despagne is a “must-have” (93-94/100).

Of course, Cos d’Estournel, one of the leading names in Saint-Estèphe, ranks as one of the vintage’s ‘giants’ according to Bettane+Desseauve (97-98/100). If the very idea of the estate founded by Louis-Gaspard d’Estournel, a keen enthusiast of travel and exoticism, makes your mouth water, then his second wine Pagode de Cos is just the ticket. It exudes delicacy and roundness, a roundness largely attributed to the blend, which includes 45% Merlot. Sold for €43.90, this second wine was awarded 93-94/100 by James Suckling and 91-93/100 by the Wine Advocate.

Another second wine sure to delight your taste buds is the 2023 Haut-Bailly II, a pure, fresh wine. Its texture radiates silkiness and roundness. And Le Figaro commends its elegant bouquet, “Aromas of ripe strawberries, succulent tea, flamboyant grapefruit and summer flowers mingle on the nose.” (92-93/100). Priced at €35.30, it’s a seductive prelude to the Haut-Bailly’s main wine.

In Saint-Julien, the bar has been set high and several contenders stand ready to grace your cellar… Branaire-Ducru 2023 was released at €45.30 this year (down 18%). It competes with Château Langoa Barton, priced at €41, down 17% on 2022. Both wines are firms favourite of ours. They have also been awarded top marks by the critics (an average of 93/100 for Branaire and 92/100 for Langoa). Château Talbot offers a first-class alternative, with its 2023 just shy of the €50 mark (€50.40 to be precise). And what do you know? Le Figaro can’t stop its praises,  “On the palate, it displays a controlled eruption of ripe, vibrant, melodious fruit, with a delightful freshness, polished tannins and a satiny texture.” (94-96/4100). Irresistible.

The finesse of Margaux is clearly present in the 2023 vintage, and among the Grands Crus classés, we have selected the 3rd cru classé Malescot Saint Exupery. A blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, this wine, priced at €45.30, is “one of the smoothest and most elegant vintages to emerge from this estate for a number of years”, according to the Wine Advocate (93-95/100).

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