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Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW’s top-scoring Bordeaux 2023 wines

  • The Wine Independent has published Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW’s Bordeaux 2023 Vintage report. 
  • She awarded her top score, a potentially perfect 98-100 points, to eight wines which hailed from both the Left and Right bank. 
  • According to Perrotti-Brown, ‘some classically styled wines at the pinnacles of greatness have emerged from the 2023 Bordeaux jungle’. 

Overall vintage

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW’s Bordeaux 2023 Vintage Report, entitled ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ has been published by The Wine Independent. According to Perrotti-Brown, though the 2023 growing season was marked by ‘unusually tropical’ weather and the resulting quality is inconsistent, ‘some classically styled wines at the pinnacles of greatness have emerged’. The estates who were able to adequately manage the ‘pitfalls of growing season and who waited for ripeness went on to produce stunning wines’.  

Perrotti-Brown’s report focuses on ‘the three major growing season factors’ that she believes to have affected quality: ‘mildew, late-season heat waves and harvest decisions’.  

According to Perrotti-Brown, ‘fighting the mildew in 2023 was, on the one hand, a game of terroir and, on the other, a rich man’s game’. Discarding berries affected by mildew was crucial to producing high quality wines this vintage. Larger estates with the financial resources to carefully pass through the vineyards every day suffered less than those without. Not only the wealthy estates produced excellent wines this vintage though — ‘spectacular wines were made in 2023 by one person on a tractor working their tails off within a modest winery’.  

Producers were next faced with a ‘dreary, overcast and lukewarm’ August, which caused concerns as to whether berries would ripen properly. Though vines needed the warmth and sunshine supplied by heatwaves in late August and early September, the sudden spike ‘was a shock to the vines’. Yields are lower this year, due, in part, to mildew, but also to sunburn and shrivel.  

Choosing when to harvest, says Perrotti-Brown, required ‘a lot more focus and strategy than usual’. The threat of forecasted heavy rain during the hotter-than-usual September raised concerns over rot. Producers were keen to pick earlier, but those who waited, and especially those who implemented ‘inter-parcel selection’, were rewarded.  

Perrotti-Brown recommends the 2023 vintage to buyers of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion. Merlot and Cabernet Franc, being earlier ripening varieties, fared better with the 2023 weather conditions. ‘On both banks of the estuary’ however, ‘there is a mid-palate thinness and a shortness of finish apparent in some wines’. According to Perrotti-Brown, this is ‘ultimately down to overcropping and rain dilution’. That being said, wines of ‘true greatness’, have emerged for the critic in the Médoc and Pessac-Léognan.  

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW’s top-scoring wines 

Perrotti-Brown awarded her top score, a potentially perfect 98-100 points, to seven wines, as shown in the above chart.  

Though noting that the Château Ausone is ‘very mute and reticent to show its personality to start’, Perrotti-Brown describes aromas of ‘fresh blackberries, violets, licorice, pencil shavings and tar, leading to an undercurrent of Sichuan pepper and fertile loam’. Château Canon and Château Lafleur were both described by the critic as ‘ethereal’, while Château Haut-Brion ‘delivers black and blue fruit layers that shimmy and swirl in the mouth with jaw-dropping energy’.  

Perrotti-Brown called the Château Pavie ‘breathtaking’, complimenting its ‘gorgeous perfumes’ of violets, star anise, cedar chest and iron ore.  

Petrus and Le Pin also received Perrotti-Brown’s top score.  

Our Bordeaux En Primeur 2023 page contains everything you need to know about this year’s campaign. You can also sign up for our daily En Primeur email alerts using the form below.    

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