I spent two weeks in Bordeaux in April 2024, where I had the opportunity to taste over 300 barrels of samples from the 2023 vintage. I retasted many of these barrel samples two or three times at different locations. I also had the chance to re-taste several wines from vintages 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.

You may be curious about how the 2023 red vintage turned out. It is splendid to fabulous for the best wines. These wines are pure, ripe, elegant, tender, and sophisticated, with finesse and a velvety texture. The expressive fruit conceals the tannins well, and the wines have an excellent acidity that leaves you wanting more. The only thing 2023 would need to be a great vintage is consistency and better quality in the lower ranks. Honestly, it is significantly better overall than vintages 2021 and 2017.

The key to making successful wine in 2023 for a winemaker was careful maceration/extraction and using less oak than in the 2022 vintage to get the perfect expression of fruit and gentle tannin. The Right Bank, particularly Saint Emilion and Pomerol, produced some of the best wines in 2023. While there is more consistency among wines on the Right Bank, it does not mean that wines on the Left Bank are of inferior quality; they are just not as consistent in every commune/district.

The 2023 vintage is an excellent year for dry and sweet whites! The weather conditions during the growing season and harvest have been quite favorable. The white grapes are perfectly healthy and incredibly aromatic. 

The weather was typical for the season in the first four months of the year, and the flowering process went by quickly, promising generous yields. However, high temperatures and rainfall caused mildew outbreaks, affecting some appellations more than others.

July and August were hot and dry, while September had moderate temperatures, which ensured perfect ripeness, healthy grapes, and an abundant quantity of them. The red grapes were not small, had less sugar (0.5-1%) than in 2022, and achieved perfect acidity. 

The quality and consistency of the 2023 vintage are lower than those of 2022. However, the perfect acidity in 2023 gives the wines a fresher and more vibrant taste. The purity of the fruit, tenderness, and striking elegance are the hallmarks of the vintage for me. Many properties created equally stunning wines as in 2022 and, in several cases, slightly better than that. This is especially evident in Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. You will find overoaked and over-extracted wines across Bordeaux in 2023, but they are in small numbers.

I won’t compare 2023 to any other vintage; it indeed has its own flavor and style!

As of the time this report was written (mid-May 2024), prices had decreased by 25-40%. This is excellent news for consumers.

Due to a lack of time, I haven't tasted Ducru Beaucaillou, Leoville Lascases, Pavie, and Troplong Mondot. Maybe later this year.

Grades for rating wines:

98-100p - perfectly made wines, well on the way to becoming legends.

96-98p - truly remarkable wines with a lot of style and class, great potential, and fabulously made.

94-96p - very focused wines with great precision, personality, and complexity.

92-94p - remarkable wines with style and grace.

90-92p – well-made wines with nice character and focus.

88-90p - admirable quality.

85- 87p – reasonable wines.

Important!

WINES BY COMMUNE/DISTRICT:

All the wines mentioned here were tasted with labels visible - no blind tasting(s).

Just so you know, the feelings, pleasure, and excitement I experience when I like a certain wine are the same whether I write a tasting note consisting of three lines or 25!

I'll continuously add my TNs to the website during the coming weeks. 

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BORDEAUX (RED AND WHITE) AND BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR

Cos d'Estournel white: 70% Sauvignon Blanc + 30% Semillon. It is fresh and intense on the nose, with citrus, lemongrass, and pineapple notes. The palate offers crispness, great acidity, and a rich, energetic profile with a sophisticated touch. It finishes long with a lemony flavor. Terrific stuff. 95p.

Pavillon Blanc de Chateau Margaux: 100% Sauvignon Blanc. There is a great intensity of green apple, acacia, and pineapple aroma. Well-matched acidity, vibrant with tension and complexity. Lingering finish with a hint of lemon. Impressive for the vintage. 95p.

Valandraud white: 53% S. Gris, 40% Sauvignon Blanc and 7% Semillon. Intense aromas of acacia flower, grapefruit, and pineapple on the nose. Lively and multi-faceted on the palate, with splendid complexity, acidity, and an energetic aftertaste. Superb effort. 95p.

Aile d'Argent: White wine from Mouton Rothschild. 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 44.5% Semillon, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 0.5% Muscadelle. Notes of lemongrass, citrus, and pineapple on the nose. It has splendid acidity on the palate and is crisp, savory, and complex, finishing with a lingering aftertaste. Superb effort. 94p.

Le Nardian: 70% S. Blanc, 15% Semillon and 15% Muscadelle. It boasts a robust aroma of pineapple, citrus, and peach. The palate offers a crisp and complex profile with a refreshing acidity. The aftertaste includes a touch of subtle oak. Terrific effort. 94p.

Les Champs Libres: 100% Sauvignon. Grapefruit, green apple, crisp and fresh on the palate, fine acidity, vibrant, well-structured, lingering finish. It is a delightful wine and a perfect seafood companion. 93-94p.

Pagodes de Cos whit:  80% Sauvignon Blanc + 20% Semillon. It's very pineapple and lemony on the nose. Rich and well-balanced on the palate. The acidity is well-present, keeping everything in perfect shape. It’s a lovely second wine of white Cos d'Estournel.  93p.

Les Perrieres de Lafleur: 100% de Bouchet. Aromatic, blueberries and blackberries. It has remarkable acidity, is sappy with grained tannin and well-defined, has a fine structure, and a persistent finish. Delicious effort. 92-93p. 

Virginie de Valandraud white: it's the second label of white Valandraud. 70% Semillon + 30% Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh and lively, aromas of pineapple and grapefruit, fine acidity, crispy and delicate on the palate, with a caressing lemony. Fine. 92-93p.

Grand Village white: Exotic on the nose. Freshly cut pineapple, acacia flower, and lemongrass. Crisp with fine acidity. Refreshing, lemony aftertaste. Well-made. 92-93p

Fleur Cardinale white: 57% Sauvignon Blanc + 43% Semillon. It’s the first white vintage from the property, made from 6-year-old vines. The nose has notes of acacia, white peach, and grapefruit. The palate is fresh and crisp, with fine acidity, balance, and a caressingly lemony finish. Not bad for a debut vintage! 92p.

S de Suduiraut dry white – 100% Semillon. It is exotic on the nose with dried apricot and pineapple, pear, fine minerality, acidity, lively, caressing and delicate aftertaste. Fine effort. 92p.

Suduiraut dry white Vieilles Vignes – 57% Semillon + 43% Sauvignon Blanc. Pineapple, green apple, acacia flower, fine acidity, crisp and delicate on the palate, long lemony finish. It was a fine effort as well. 92p.

Domaine de Cambes - this is a part of the Roc de Cambes vineyard, located close to the banks of the Gironde River. Seductive black cherries, velvety texture, silky fruit and tannin, and lush finish. Very attractive. 91p.

Clos de Beau Pere white: 50% Sauvignon Gris and 50% Sauvignon Blanc). It has an aroma of pineapple, lemongrass, and citrus. It is fresh and crisp on the palate with fine acidity and has a lemony aftertaste. 91-92p.

Clos de Lune d’Or: 70% Semillon + 30% S. Blanc. Similar to d’Argent, it has a touch of sweetness and more intensity. Delicate finish. It suits shellfish dishes well. 91p.

Clos Lune d’Argent : 70% Semillon + 30% S. Blanc. Acacia flower. Lemongrass, pear, pleasant, nice acidity, soft texture, tasty, smooth finish. 90p.

Penin: Flowery and aromatic, attractive, good acidity, round and tasty, good balance. Nice. 90p.

Pey La Tour Reserve des Chateaux: Similar to Penin In terms of aromatic profile and taste. Attractive. 90p.

Sainte Barbe: It has an attractive cherry nose and fine fruit intensity on the palate, with nice acidity, structure, length, and finish. Tender. Fruity finish. 90p.

Clos Lune d’Argent: 70% Semillon + 30% S. Blanc. Acacia flower. Lemongrass, pear, pleasant, nice acidity, soft texture, tasty, smooth finish. 90p.

Bad Boy Chardonnay: It only undergoes an alcoholic fermentation. Exotic with notes of guava, papaya, and white peach. Crisp, pleasant, and tasty. A terrasse wine. 89p.

Virginie Thunevin: It's floral with raspberries with refreshing acidity, a silky texture, and a smooth finish. Pleasant and inviting. 89p.

A Nous Amours: Barrel aged Lafon Fourcat. An upgrade from standard cuvée with more concentration and length. Subtle oak with a vanilla note on the aftertaste. 88-89p.

Bad Boy Syrah: Fresh, recognizable flavor of the grape variety, soft fruit, and tannin, nice concentration, pleasant, and tasty. Nice. 88p.

De Reignac: It has a nice fruity nose, polished on the palate with soft tannin. Smooth, charming, and pleasant. 88p.

Lafont Fourcat: Flowery, pleasant, round, and tasty. Some minerality. 87p.

Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux

Reaut: flowery on the nose with violets, energetic and tender on the palate with crunchy fruit and well-integrated acidity. It has a fine, persistent aftertaste. 91p.

Carat: Special cuvée of Reaut. It is similar to the standard bottling but is more concentrated. This wine is dominated by oak on the palate, but it will hopefully blend well with fruit later. 91-92p.

Reynon: It is attractive with fragrant blackcurrants, nice acidity, and a smooth finish. 90p.

Sauternes and Barsac

LEFT BANK

Graves red and white

Chantegrive red: aromatic, plush, blackcurrant, elegant, silky texture. Nice ripe tannin and fruity aftertaste.

Chantegrive white: freshness, acacia flower, grapefruit, nice acidity, lemony aftertaste.

Ferrande red: – aromatic as well with spicy red fruit, nice structure and aftertaste. Nice.

Ferrande white: – pineapple, citrus, lemon grass, pear and melon on the palate, nice acidity, lemony aftertaste. 

Rahoul red: fragrant violets, flowery, silky texture, elegant, seductive, delicate aftertaste.

Rahoul white: It shows freshness, grapefruit, and citrus and is well-assorted on the palate with fine acidity, crisp fruit, and a lemon custard finish. Quite an adorable effort. 91p.

RIGHT BANK

Pomerol:

This district produced several wines of the vintage and a nice stream of splendid wines.

L'Eglise Clinet: 90% Merlot + 10% C. Franc. 14.6% alcohol. This wine is a close rival to the mind-boggling 2022 vintage. It's a powerful yet elegant wine with plenty of black cherries and blueberries, spiced with grated dark chocolate. It’s a juicy, very intense, multilayered, finesse-clad, and sophisticated wine with excellent mid-palate and a mesmerizingly long finish. Awesome wine work! 98-99p.

Lafleur: 54% de Bouchet + 46% Merlot. It is dense, multidimensional, aromatic, and has power mixed with elegance, finesse, and tenderness. Velvety texture. You really don’t feel tannin and oak on the palate. Perfect acidity and awesome midpalate sum it all up perfectly. It is more accessible than the muscular 2022. Fabulous stuff! 98+p. 

After tasting barrel samples from 2023, I had the opportunity to taste 2020 and 2019 Lafleur. The multidimensional 2019 (99-100p) and its sibling 2020 (99-100p) were a heavenly treat.

Petrus: 100% Merlot. It is softer and more elegant than 2022. It has intense notes of black cherries, blueberries, and violets, with velvety tannins, finesse, and incredible complexity. It is sophisticated, focused, and precise, with a refreshing finish. Wonderful effort. 98p.

Le Pin: 100% Merlot. 14% alcohol. It has fragrant aromas of violets and black cherries. Acidity is perfect and keeps everything in place. The tannin is barely noticeable, the structure is seamless, and there is excellent mid-palate vibrancy and a sophisticated touch. Amazing stuff. 98p.

La Conseillante: 88% Merlot + 12% C. Franc. 14% alcohol. It is very aromatic on the nose, with violets and iris, blueberries and blackberries, and delicate and distinguished on the palate with terrific elegance and finesse. It has a sophisticated touch and richness. Liquid cashmere. Long and lingering aftertaste. It's a fascinating effort and just a notch after 2022 quality-wise. 97-98p.

Trotanoy: 100% Merlot. It has an intense aroma of wild cherries, violets, dark chocolate, and coffee bean notes. The wine is juicy and fleshy yet elegant on the palate, with great complexity, mid-palate, and strong structure. It needs several decades to mature. In terms of quality, it is just behind the 2022 vintage. 97-98p.

Vieux Chateau Certan: 82% Merlot + 18% C. Franc. 14% alcohol. Intense violets and blueberries are present on the nose. It is distinguished and tender on the palate, mineral, with great complexity, vibrant, superb mid-palate, and has a long and persistent finish. Fabulous stuff. 97+p.

L'Evangile: 78% Merlot, 21% C. Franc, and 1% C. Sauvignon. Violets, morello cherries, truffles, elegance and finesse, many layers, and a sappy, vibrant, sophisticated, persistent finish. It continues the refined and elegant style first seen in the 2022 vintage. Formidable. 97p.

La Fleur Petrus: 96.5% Merlot, 3% C. Franc and 0.5% P. Verdot. It has dark chocolate, crushed cherries, and blueberries, with notes of violets on the nose. It is juicy and complex on the palate, with fine tannins and a long finish. Superb effort! 97p.

Clinet: 75% Merlot + 25% C. Franc. 13.7% alcohol. Aromatic black cherries mixed with violets and truffles on the nose. It is juicy on the palate, has great structure and length, is vibrant, complex, and has a long aftertaste. Terrific stuff. 96-97p.

Clos L'Eglise: This property is located on the left side of the road across from L'Eglise Clinet, in the hamlet of Clinet. Helene Garcin-Leveque owns Clos L'Eglise, Barde Haut, and Poesia in Saint-Emilion. The blend comprises 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, the highest-ever CF contribution. The ABV is 14%. The nose is aromatic, with black cherries and black truffles. It is potent, juicy, and mineral on the palate. You can taste the soil! There is great length, vibrancy, and complexity. This is a formidable effort and true to the style of Pomerol. 96+p.

On my request, Helene Garcin-Leveque opened four additional vintages of Clos L'Eglise: 2021 (93-94p), 2020 (97p), 2019 (96p), and 2018 (96+p). These wines confirmed the excellent quality of this property's wines.

Petit Village: It's the first vintage with a certificate of biodynamic vineyard. I tasted it both at the property and at the UGCB tasting at Le Gay and got the same impression. 65% Merlot, 25% C. Franc and 10% C. Sauvignon. 13.5% alcohol. It's powerful, with a big palette of aromas, including violets and wild cherries. It is a bold, vibrant wine with a strong backbone, a fluent midpalate, and a long and persistent aftertaste. Excellent effort. 96+p.

La Croix St. Georges: 100% Merlot. 14.1% alcohol. It's more elegant and tender than usual, with plenty of creamy black cherries and blueberries, notes of dark chocolate, grained tannin, lively, bright acidity, excellent complexity, and a long-lasting finish. It is almost as impressive as the 2022 version. Great work from Jean-Philippe Janoueix. Superb for the vintage. 96p.

Bourgneuf: 90% Merlot + 10% C. Franc. I tasted it on three occasions: at the property, Jean-Pierre Moueix, and Grand Cercle, and the wine was truly impressive everywhere! It is beautifully scented and intense on the nose, with black cherries, blueberries, violets, and black truffle. To be honest, I don't recall any recent vintages of Bourgneuf having such a broad aromatic palette. It is coated on the palate with great complexity and structure, a splendid midpalate, silky tannin, and a lingering finish. A winner! 95-96+p.

At the property, I have additionally tasted the fabulously made 2019 (96p), a bit restrained 2020 (95p) and 2021 (93p).

Certan de May: 65% Merlot, 25% C. Franc and 10% C. Sauvignon. It has an expressive nose of aromatic black cherries and fragrant violets, with added notes of black truffles. It is sappy, fine midpalate, velvety, graceful, complex, and has a lingering finish. Superb. 95-96p.

Le Gay: Tasted twice. It's more tender and elegant this time. Well-integrated acidity and oak. Fragrant cherries and violets, juicy, grained tannin. Well-constructed and complex, lingering finish. Splendid effort. 95p.

Belle Brise: Very cherry (both black and morello) and fragrant violets. Elegant with finesse and purity, vibrant, complex, and precise. Grained tannin. Lingering finish. Lovely and seductive stuff. 94-95p.

I also tasted the superbly crafted 2022, which had already been bottled in March 2024. 95+p.

Sacre Coeur: 100% Merlot. 14.15% alcohol. It is floral on the nose with fragrant violets, juicy and well-knitted on the palate, with a velvety texture and refreshing acidity. Elegant with a cherry aftertaste. Very fine indeed. 94-95p.

Seraphine: 100% Merlot. 14.5% alcohol. It is very aromatic on the nose, with black cherries mixed with grated dark chocolate. Elegance, finesse, silky tannin, vibrant, velvety structure, and a lingering finish. It's a superb effort that, in my opinion, surpasses the 2022 vintage. 94-95p.

Martin Krajewski, the owner, kindly allowed me to taste two additional vintages of Seraphine, including the very aromatic and subtle 2019 (93p) and the more intense 2020 (93-94p). Thanks a lot!

Bon Pasteur: It has notes of aromatic cherries and violets. It is elegant, fragrant, tender, lively, and sappy. The ripe fruit covers well oak and tannin. It's a welcome change from a normally heavier style. It's a splendid effort for the vintage. 94p.

Les Pensees de Lafleur: 54% Merlot + 46% de Bouchet. Multiaromatic on the nose with black cherries, violets, and grated dark chocolate. Vibrant, velvety texture, splendid acidity, and minerality. Oak and tannin are barely noticeable on the palate.  Persistent finish. Impressive stuff. 94p.

La Pointe: Aromatic black fruit and fragrant violets, sappy, well-defined, vibrant, elegant, and with much finesse. Tender and with a silky texture. It has a refreshing acidity that complements the ripe fruit. Inviting cherry aftertaste. Terrific effort. 94p.

Beauregard: 74% Merlot, 20% C. Franc, and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. 13.5% alcohol.  100% more Cabernet Franc in the blend compared with 2022. It’s expressive on the nose, with aromatic black fruit (blueberries and blackberries) and notes of milk chocolate. It is quite powerful on the palate, with a truffy scent, fine complexity, and a meaty aftertaste. It's a very fine effort. 93-94p.

Cantelauze: 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. It has a beautiful cherry nose with notes of violets and black truffle, fine acidity, and silky tannin on the palate. There is a fine balance, complexity, structure, and a lingering aftertaste. It's on par with 2022. 93-94p.

I did taste additional vintages from this property: 2021 (92p) and  2020 (94p).

La Petite Eglise: 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. 14.4% alcohol. An expressive nose of black cherries and notes of dark chocolate. It exhibits sapiness and tenderness, bright acidity, splendid structure, and complexity on the palate, with a persistent aftertaste. It's a fine second wine from L'Eglise Clinet. 93-94p.

Rouget: Tasted twice (Rollands and UGCB). It shows aromatic cherries and notes of dark chocolate on the nose. Elegant, subtle, tender, and well-knitted on the palate. Fine acidity, midpalate, and persistent aftertaste. Splendid effort. 93-94p.

Lafleur Gazin: 100% Merlot. Crushed black cherries and fragrant violets on the nose, sappy, silky fruit and tannin on the palate, velvety structure, seductive, lingering finish. 93p.

La Pointe: It's a tender, plush, and aromatic wine with fine acidity. It is well-structured and complex on the palate, with fine balance and a lingering aftertaste. Catchy stuff. 93p.

Latour-a-Pomerol: 100% Merlot. Fragrant cherries and violets. It was well-defined and elegant on the palate. Lively with crunchy fruit and velvety tannin. Persistent aftertaste. 92-93p.

Vray Croix de Gay: 98% Merlot + 2% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% alcohol. It's very cherry, with notes of dark chocolate. Sappy and well-defined on the palate, it has a velvety texture, fine complexity, and a persistent aftertaste with a vanilla trace (oak). Fine effort. 92-93p.

Lagrange: 100% Merlot. It offers aromatic raspberries and morello cherries on the nose. It is well-structured and lively on the palate, with a velvety texture, fine acidity, and a lingering finish. It was a very seductive effort. For me, it surpasses the 2022 version. 92+p.

La Clemence: Careful winemaking has resulted in a delicate wine with aromas of black cherries, sappiness, subtle oak, bright acidity, elegant structure, and a lingering finish. 92p.

Le Clos de Beau Pere: Black cherries, truffles, and grated chocolate on the nose, with a sappy and lively palate, nice complexity, well-knitted and refreshing acidity, and a persistent finish.  Cheerful stuff. 92p.

L'Ecuyer: Purchased by Clinet in 2022. 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14% alcohol. The nose is expressive, with aromatic black cherries and fragrant violets. There is a fine complexity, subtle oak notes, and a lingering finish. Seductive stuff. 92p. 

Feytit Clinet: This is a delicate wine with black cherries and violet aromas. It is sappy on the palate and has subtle oak, nice complexity, bright acidity, elegant structure, and a lingering finish. Lovely effort. 92p.

Le Moulin: Ripe morello cherries and violets on the nose.  Notes of licorice. Fine acidity, sappy, smooth tannin. Well-structured on the palate, fine length. Persistent finish. Fine effort. 92p.

Montviel: It shows aromatic cherries, raspberries, and violets, is delicate, sappy, well-defined, lively, and silky, and has a nice acidity and lingering finish. Attractive stuff. 91-92p.

Blason de L'Evangile: 95% Merlot + 5% Cabernet Franc. It has aromas of blueberries, violets, and dark chocolate. The wine is well-structured and elegant, with a gentle acidity and smooth finish. It is a very adorable wine. 91p.

Clos Vieux Taillefer: Aromatic black cherries and notes of dark chocolate on the nose, nicely knitted on the palate with crushed berries and silky tannin.  Lovely effort. 91p.

La Croix de Gay: Very cherry, nice acidity, sappy, tender, silky texture, pleasant and tasty, smooth aftertaste. 91p.

La Grave: 89% Merlot + 11% C. Franc. Nice fruity nose of black cherries and blueberries, spicy, silky tannin, smooth, and nicely structured on the palate. Soft, fruity finish. Very nice effort. 91p.

Taillefer: Violets and black cherries on the nose, juicy, lively, and nicely composed on the palate. Silky tannin.Lovely fruity finish. Adorable stuff. 91p.

Gazin: I've tasted this wine twice, and my impression remains unchanged. I expected more from this property. It's a nicely made wine. Aromatic, gentle, and with fine structure. However, considering the excellent soil Gazin has, I anticipated more intensity and personality. I hope it will improve after aging in the barrel.  For now, 90-91p.

Le Petit Petit Village - Petit Village's second wine. 88% Merlot and 12% C. Franc. 13.5% alcohol. Aromatic black fruit mixed with fragrant violets, juicy, silky tannin, tasty fruit, smooth finish. Attractive. 90-91p.

Benjamin de Beauregard: 90% Merlot + 10% C. Franc. 13% alcohol. Freshness, violets, and morello cherries, attractive, silky texture, nice acidity, smooth finish. Adorable. 90p. 

La Commanderie: cherries, flowery (roses), fresh, pleasant, seductive. It is quite nicely structured, charming, and tasty. 90p.

Mazeyres: It is similar to La Commanderie, with violets and a silky texture. Polished and smooth on the palate. 90p.

L'Innocence de Seraphine: 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. 14% alcohol. Fragrant violets and tasty blueberries have a nice acidity and a silky texture. It is a very seductive and delicate wine that is not too complicated. It will provide immediate pleasure once in the bottle. 88-89p.

Maillet: It has a catchy nose of violets and blueberries and is polished on the palate. It has tasty fruit and a nice structure. The aftertaste is oaky. Modern style. 90p.

La Cabanne: Fragrant cherries on the nose, elegant and tender on the palate, pleasant but lightweighty and short on the aftertaste. Underperforming property, in my opinion. 87p.

Saint-Emilion:

It has been an astonishingly successful district in 2023, enjoying great consistency with several potential candidates to earn the title "wine of the vintage." And many other wines aren't bad, either!

Ausone: I visited Ausone in mid-April and spent an hour with Edouard and Constance Vauthier, during which I had the pleasure of tasting their 2023s. The Grand Vin is made from a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot and has an alcohol content of 14%. This blend has the highest percentage of Cabernet Franc in recent years. Although the 2023 Ausone is delicate, it should not be underestimated due to its underlying power and intensity beneath its elegant, finesse-clad, and sophisticated core. The wine has an extremely seductive floral aroma (violets!) with great complexity, sublime structure, and excellent acidity. Huge amounts of fruit perfectly balance the oak. The aftertaste won’t end. It is difficult to say if it is better than the 2022s, but we will know that after bottling. 98-99p.

Beausejour (Duffau Lagarrosse): Josephine Duffau-Lagarrosse continues her fairy tale. She produced exceptional wine in 2023, agonizingly close to her stunning effort in 2022. This wine comprises 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, with 14% ABV. The nose is utterly expressive and fragrant, with scents of black cherries, violets, and iris. It is pure, graceful, elegant, and sophisticated on the palate. The wine has excellent acidity, a great mid-palate, and silky fruit embraced with velvety tannins that gently caress your taste buds. The finish is long and mesmerizing, and the wine tells you to come back for more!

Josephine is replacing the old vinification cellar with a new one this summer (2024). The new cellar will increase the number of vats from 9 to 16 (mostly the concrete ones), as she wants to extend parcel-by-parcel vinification to more vats. She has also planted more Cabernet Franc in the vineyard. 98-99p.

2023 Croix de Beausejour, Beausejour's second wine, blends 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc and has a fragrant bouquet of raspberries and red currants. The palate shows a silky texture, crunchy fruit, and a lingering aftertaste. It is a captivating wine. 91p.

2021 Beausejour, only 27 hl/ha. 95+p. 2021 Croix de Beausejour - 89p.

Cheval Blanc: 46% Cabernet Franc, 52% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. 13.8% alcohol. On the nose, it has a burst of fragrant violets and roses, accompanied by aromatic cherries and raspberries. The blend showcases the Cabernet Franc, which is particularly noticeable. The wine has a perfect structure on the palate, with a fabulous mid-palate and silky texture. It is vibrant and has stunning richness. The finish is so heartfelt. It’s an incredibly fascinating wine. 98-99p.

I also tasted 2021 vintage. Sublime, subtle, and elegant. 96+p.

Figeac: It's the 130th vintage of the Manoncourt family. The blend consists of 42% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, and 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, with an alcohol content of 13.5%. The wine has a delightful aroma of raspberries, violets, and iris. It is subtle and mineral on the palate, with great depth and structure, an excellent mid-palate, silky texture, grained tannins, and an exquisitely long aftertaste. I expect this wine to compete with the 2022 vintage to become the best Figeac produced recently. This is an outstanding effort. 98-99p.

Frederic Faye, the manager at Figeac, was kind enough to let me taste the 2021 and 2020 vintages. 2021 was formidable all the way, and I rated it 96p. 2020 was captivating and a sheer delight for the senses. 98+p.

20240415 163805

Alexa Boulton presents three stunning Figeacs!

Angelus: Stephanie Rivoal de Bouard, CEO of Angelus since 2012, has transformed this property into a refined and intellectual wine in recent vintages by increasing the amount of Cabernet Franc and using considerably less oak. Benjamin Laforet, the young winemaker since 2017, does a great job at Angelus. The wine is 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc. On the nose, there are intense morello cherries and raspberries, while on the palate, it's elegant and plush, with a strong backbone, great complexity, sophisticated touch, and finesse. It has a great mid-palate and long aftertaste. This is stupendous quality. 98p.

After a barrel sample of 2023, I enjoyed 2021 Angelus, a silky and sophisticated wine that tasted even better now than from the barrel. 96-97p. During lunch, I was treated to a wonderful bottle of the 2000 Angelus, which was truly spectacular and timeless. 99p.

Tertre Roteboeuf: Excellent news for fans of flamboyantly flavored fruity wines from this property! Francois Mitjaville has crafted an iconic 2023 vintage! The wine had a powerful aroma of black cherries and violets. The palate was rich and seductive, with excellent complexity and seamless structure. Silky berries and grained tannin. Sophisticated touch. The finish was long and caressing. As usual, it was an utterly expressive effort from Francois Mitjavile. 97-98p.

The 2022 TR I tasted afterward was a dream wine to enjoy and had even more intensity and length than the 2023 vintage. 98p.

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Francois Mitjaville, Tertre Roteboeuf

Belair Monange: 98% Merlot + 2% C. Franc. It is very aromatic on the nose, with black cherries and violets, and is delicate, vibrant, and sappy on the palate. It has great complexity, length, finesse, velvety tannin, and a long, lingering finish. This is a very impressive effort for the vintage. 97-98p.

Beausejour Becot: 77% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14% alcohol. Significant improvements have been made since Julien Barthe became the general manager of this property in 2016. In 2018, a new technical director joined the team, and together, they oversaw a modernization project that included the construction of a new underground cellar. While 2022 is an exceptional year for B. Becot, 2023 also promises to be entirely exciting (an expressive wine with finesse) and gets a rating of 97+p.

Canon: 71% Merlot + 29% C. Franc. 14%  alcohol. It is a highly flavorful and delicate wine with tones of morello cherries, roses, and violets. There is great complexity and structure, silky tannin, a splendid midpalate, and a long aftertaste. Superb wine. 97p.

Pavie Macquin: 82% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.1% alcohol It is quite flamboyant, with a great nose of aromatic morello cherries and raspberries, with great acidity, midpalate, structure, and length. It has a delicate raspberry aftertaste. Fabulous stuff. 97p.

Valandraud: It has a very complex nose with an intense aroma of morello cherries and fragrant violets. There is a refreshing acidity that connects extremely well with lush fruit and velvety tannin. splendid complexity and fabulous structure, great midpalate, and long aftertaste. Highly impressive. 97p.

Croix de Labrie: 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.2% alcohol. It has a great nose with intense notes of black cherries, blueberries, and violets. The wine is expressive with great finesse and elegance, a velvety structure, grained tannins, fine acidity, and an intense finish. Well done, Courdurie couple! 96-97p.

Le Dôme: 80% Cabernet Franc + 20% Merlot. 14.1% alcohol. It is intense on the nose, with notes of crushed cherries, black truffles, and violets. On the palate, it is concentrated, splendidly structured, and vibrant, with a great mid-palate. It has great refreshing acidity, length, and a long finish. Formidable. 96-97p.

Clos Fourtet: Tasted twice with the same impressive result. Delicious on the nose with cherries, raspberries, and violets. Elegant with finesse. Acidity is well-integrated. Great complexity and midpalate. Long and persistent finish. Excellent effort. 96+p.

Corbin: 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. 13.4% alcohol. This is a subtle and captivating wine with pure finesse and elegance, great balance, and velvety texture. It has a broad palette of aromas, especially violets and iris. The perfect acidity, vibrancy, and "invisible" tannin make this wine an utterly seductive "catch." As impressive as 2022! 96p.

Anabelle Cruse Bardinet let me retaste vintages 2022 (96p), 2021 (93-94p), and 2020 (96p). It's a pretty collection of finesse-clad wines. Thanks a lot!

La Confession: 70% Merlot, 27% C. Franc and 3% Malbec. 14.5% alcohol. Blackberries and blueberries on the nose, juicy and well-defined. It is more elegant than powerful, with finesse and fine acidity, vibrancy, and splendid structure. It's semi-modern in its expression. Persistent finish. Superb effort. 96p.

La Gaffeliere: Fragrant roses and violets on the nose. It has a juicy and vibrant character, with a fine midpalate and structure and a persistent finish. The acidity and oak are well integrated, resulting in great balance. It is a great effort. 95-96p.

Larcis Ducasse: Very aromatic and expressive on the nose, with blueberries and raspberries. Otherwise, it is similar to Pavie Macquin in appearance and quality. Both properties share the same winemaking team. 95-96p.

Fleur Cardinale: 56% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc, and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.5% alcohol. It is seductively aromatic, with scents of raspberries, roses, and violets. Sappy and perfectly balanced, displaying expressive fruit, silky tannins, and bright acidity. It finishes with a lingering and persistent aftertaste. Quite delicious! 95p.

La Couspaude: Tasted twice, this wine has fragrant notes of wild strawberries and spicy raspberries on the nose. It is well-knitted, juicy, tender, elegant, with finesse, splendidly structured, and has a lingering finish. It's a gorgeous wine. 94-95p.

Barde Haut blends aromatic raspberries, fragrant roses, and violets on the nose. Juicy and vibrant on the palate, with refreshing acidity, minerality, crunchy berries, a well-structured, fine midpalate, and a long finish. Delightful effort. 94p.

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Helene Garcin presents her four wines after airing them in carafes! At Barde Haut.

Carillon d'Angelus: 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. The wine has a great aromatic touch, with black cherries and blueberries. It has finesse and elegance, a fine midpalate, and vibrancy. It is delicate on the palate and has a velvety texture. Long aftertaste. The best ever Carillon for me!  94p.

2021 - 92p.

Chapelle d'Ausone: 60% C. Franc, 35% Merlot and 5% C. Sauvignon. 14% alcohol. Intense morello cherries and raspberries on the nose. It is softer and more tender on the palate than usual. Vibrant. Elegant with great acidity. Discreet oak and velvety tannin.  Sublime second wine of Ausone. 94p.

Clos de Jacobins: 80% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. 15% alcohol. It has the same owner as Roc de Candale and La Commanderie. This wine offers a very distinct cherry nose with notes of violets. The palate is tender and silky, with splendid complexity and structure. The aftertaste is long-lasting. The lush fruit and acidity keep the alcohol in check. Terrific effort. 94p.

Larmande: There are aromas of violets and crushed dark berries on the nose. The wine is vibrant, tender, and complex on the palate, with finesse, elegance, and a persistent finish. Overall, it was a terrific performance. 94p.

Mazerat: Ex. Vieux Chateau Mazerat. 90% Merlot + 10% C. Franc. 13.9% alcohol (1.6% less than in 2022!).  There are intense raspberries, crushed redcurrants, and violets on the nose. It is well-structured on the palate, with bright acidity and a velvety texture. Complex with grained tannin and a long, spicy finish. Superb effort. 94p.

Poesia: Same owner as Barde Haut. 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc. It has an expressive nose of red berries and flowers. There is freshness, minerality, complexity, bright acidity, crunchy fruit, tenderness, elegance, finesse, velvety tannin, and a delicate finish. Splendid effort. 94p.

Laroze: It's a very stylish wine for the district. Delightfully aromatic on the nose with crushed cherries and raspberries, tender and polished on the palate with grained tannin. There is a lot of elegance and finesse. Complex and subtle. Caressing finish. 93-94p.

De Pressac: This wine exhibits abundant aromas and flavors of morello cherries and raspberries. These are complemented by velvety tannins and lively acidity. The wine displays excellent structure, subtle complexity, and perfect balance. The finish is enduring, making it a splendid wine. 93-94p.

Quinault L'Enclos: 67% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Cabernet Franc. It has a beautifully scented nose of black cherries, blueberries, and violets. The palate is juicy and vibrant, and it is elegant and tender. A fine midpalate and a delicate cherry finish complete this delightful wine. An excellent effort for the vintage! 93-94p.

2021 Quinault L'Enclos - 91-92p.

Soutard: It presents aromatic cherries on the nose with hints of violets, a fleshy palate with refreshing acidity, vibrant, well-defined, elegant, and complex, and has a delicious cherry finish. Fine effort. 93-94p.

Tour St. Christophe: 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc.It has a delightful aroma of roses, violets, and spicy raspberry notes. The palate is tender and elegant, exhibiting fine structure, complexity, and bright acidity. It finishes with a long, pleasing aftertaste. It is better than its 2022 counterpart. 93-94p.

Berliquet: It is expressive on the nose with morello cherries and blueberries, refreshing acidity, a solid structure, grained tannin, and fine length on the palate. Freshness and a long aftertaste. Applaudable effort. 93p. 

Canon La Gaffeliere: The wine has a floral aroma of roses, violets, and spicy raspberries. It is vibrant with a nice structure, a silky texture, soft tannins, and a delicate aftertaste, making it a fine effort. 93p.

Corbin Michotte: 60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose is expressive, with aromas of wild strawberries, black cherries, and violets. The palate offers silky fruit and tannins with bright acidity and a lovely cherry finish. Delightful stuff. 93p.

I did also taste additional vintages from this property: 2021 (92p), 2020 (93-94p), and 2018 (94p).

Croix Canon: 54% Merlot + 46% Cabernet Franc. 14% ABV. It's very fragrant and expressive on the nose, with morello cherries, redcurrants, and roses. Juicy and well-balanced on the palate, with tension, vibrancy, and finely-grained tannin. Impressive effort for the second wine of Canon. 93p.

Dassault: Tasted twice. Aromatic cherry drops coated in milk chocolate and raspberries, vibrant and lively, with a polished palate, bright acidity, fine structure, balance, and a lingering finish. Lovely effort. 93p.

Franc Mayne: Aromatic cherries and raspberries, violets, lively, well-structured, complex, and vibrant on the palate, fine acidity, ripe tannin, velvety texture, lingering aftertaste. It's very fine quality. 93p.

Grand Mayne: It shows blueberries, raspberries, and violets on the nose and is sappy, well-knitted, complex, and vibrant on the palate, with fine acidity, velvety texture, and a persistent aftertaste. It's of very fine quality. 93p.

Laforge: 92% Merlot + 8% C. Franc. 14.05% alcohol. There are morello cherries, crushed redcurrants, and violets on the nose. It is well-structured on the palate, with fine acidity and a silky texture. Complex with grained tannin with a fine depth. Lovely effort. 93p.

Petit Cheval: 50% Merlot + 50% Cabernet Franc. Aromatic raspberries, redcurrants, violets, freshness, sappy and complex on the palate, meaty but not overwhelming, grained tannin, fine balance, and lingering aftertaste. Fine second wine. 93p.

2021 - 91-92p.

La Tour Figeac: Fragrant roses and aromatic raspberries are on the nose. This wine is sappy, silky, lively, and well-structured. It has a fine mid-palate, refreshing acidity, and a delicate aftertaste. Lovely wine. 93p.

La Dominique: It has aromatic cherries and raspberries, is delicate and gentle on the palate with soft tannin, has a velvety texture, is well-structured, vibrant, harmonious, and has a caressing finish. Catchy wine.  92+p.

Balestard La Tonnelle: It has aromatic black cherries and fragrant violets on the nose. It is sappy, well-defined, tender, and lively on the palate, with bright acidity, a silky texture, and a caressing finish. Seductive effort. 92-93p.

Cap de Mourlin: It is a sister property to Balestard LT and similar in performance. It has an expressive, fruity nose and polished palate with fine harmony between delicate fruit and velvety tannin. 92-93p.

Clos Badon: There are intense cherries and violets on the nose. It is fresh and vibrant on the palate with a solid backbone, is well-composed, and has fine acidity, fine structure, and a velvety texture. Persistent aftertaste. Lovely stuff. 92-93p.

Grand Corbin Despagne: It has a lovely aromatic nose of cherries and violets. It is a juicy, well-structured, vibrant, harmonious, tender, and complex wine. Lingering aftertaste. Fine effort. 92-93p. 

Ripeau: It has flowery aromas of roses and violets, along with fragrant cherries. The palate is fresh, with a well-defined structure, silky tannins, and a delicate, lingering aftertaste. This wine is utterly attractive. 92-93p.

Sansonnet: It has notes of violets and cherries, chocolate, is delicate and juicy, well-assorted on the palate, lively, aromatic, and grained tannin, and a seductive, subtle cherry finish. Delicious wine. 92-93p.

Villemaurine: It is filled with blueberries and blackberries, with hints of dark chocolate. Juicy, lively, and well-defined on the palate, with bright acidity. It is well-structured with a persistent finish.  Lovely stuff. 92-93p.

De Candale:75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc, and has 15% alcohol. This wine has aromatic cherries on the nose and has a slightly spritzy quality due to its high alcohol content. However, this doesn't disrupt the overall balance. It is sappy and plush on the palate, with velvety tannin, and it finishes with a seductive cherry aftertaste. It's a delightful wine. 92p.

Remi Dalmasso, the winemaker at Jean-Luc Thunevin’s properties, owns this property. There are violets and cherries on the nose and the wine is sappy and well-assorted on the palate. It is lively and has silky tannin and a subtle cherry finish. It's a delicate and seductive wine. 92p.

Clos St. Martin: 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. An intense nose of fragrant cherries, vibrant and polished on the palate, with pleasing complexity, fine structure, and balance. Lingering finish. Strong effort. 92p.

La Clotte: 80% Merlot + 20% C. Franc. 14% alcohol. It resembles Haut Simard but is more elegant, with roses and violets on the nose. Subtle, silky, and lively on the palate. Caressing aftertaste. 92p.

de Fonbel: The wine is 64% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 8% Carmenere. Compared with the 2022 blend, this one has almost three times more Cabernet Sauvignon. It has prominent notes of red berries, rosebush on the nose, and hints of licorice. The acidity complements the silky fruit, and the palate is lively with a nice structure and a caressing aftertaste. Overall, it's a very adorable wine. 92p.

Haut Simard: 80% C. Franc and 20% Merlot. 14% alcohol. The Cabernet Franc planted here consists of its clones from Ausone. It exhibits expressive raspberries and red currants on the nose, with bright acidity and a mineral palate. The wine is well-structured, with a long, spicy finish. Lovely wine. 92p.

La Marzelle: Morello cherries and violets on the nose, expressive and polished on the palate with a good portion of elegance and finesse, velvety texture. It is well-structured, with fine cooperation between ripe fruit and acidity. Lingering finish. Fine quality. 92p.

Moulin St. Georges: 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. 13.8% alcohol. Morello cherries, raspberries, rosebush on the nose, fine acidity, sappy, well-defined, well-composed on the palate, a touch of vanilla on the aftertaste. Fine effort. 92p.

La Serre: 73% Merlot + 27% C. Franc. Aromatic with cherries and violets, lush fruit, silky tannin, well structured, plush, and lively. A delicate and seductive aftertaste. Catchy effort. 92p. 

Soutard Cadet: Aromatic on the nose with crushed cherries, fragrant violets, juicy, fine acidity to complement ripe fruit, well defined, polished, and with a lingering finish. Well-made. 92p. 

Annonce Belair Monange: It's a second wine of Belair Monange. It is delightfully aromatic, with raspberries and morello cherries. It is lively and delicate on the palate, with crunchy berries and smooth tannin. Caressing finish. Adorable stuff. 91-92p.

Croix Cardinale: 52% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Franc and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14% alcohol. It has a fragrant aroma of spicy raspberries and morello cherries. It is well-constructed on the palate with fine acidity, is juicy and energetic, has silky tannin, and has a delicate finish. Seductive effort. 91-92p.

Moulin du Cadet: It is similar in appearance and quality to Soutard Cadet but with less intensity and a shorter length. 91-92p.

Teyssier: 80% Merlot + 20% C. Franc. 14.1% alcohol. It is fragrantly flowery, with violets, has notes of crushed blueberries and discreet oak, and is lively and well-composed on the palate with a soft texture. Delicate aftertaste. Well-made. 91-92p. 

Virginie de Valandraud: It has aromatic cherries and blueberries, juicy, silky tannin, is well-knitted on the palate, and is lively and complex. Lingering finish. Delicate cherry finish. 91-92p.

Clos Cantenac: 100% Merlot, 14% alcohol. Aromatic cherries and violets, dark chocolate, velvety texture, lively, well-defined, smooth aftertaste. Adorable stuff. 91p.

Clos de Sarpe: It has roses and violets on the nose and some black fruit. Crunchy berries on the palate and gentle tannin. It is nicely structured and has a good length. Smooth aftertaste. Pretty wine. 91p.

Clos Dubreil: Morello cherries and raspberries. It is delicate, nicely composed, and of good length on the palate. Velvety texture. Smooth finish. Likeable wine. 91p.

Simard: 55% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. 13.8% alcohol. Fragrant violets and roses on the nose, silky fruit, and tannin. Well-balanced, sleek, attractive, and pleasant. Adorable effort. 91p.

Tour de Pressac: It has delicate morello cherries and raspberry flavor, a polished palate with tasty fruit and gentle tannin, a soft texture, and a lingering finish. It is a tasty and pleasant wine. 91p. 

La Commanderie: 67% Merlot + 33% C. Franc. 15% alcohol. It offers cherries, violets, rosebush, seductive, silky fruit, gentle tannin, good balance, and a caressing finish. Nice effort. 90-91p.

Reserve de Jacobins: It is a second wine from Clos des Jacobins. 80% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. 15% alcohol, which is well integrated. Cherry drops, refreshing acidity, velvety tannin, tasty and delicate on the palate. Caressing finish. Seductive stuff. 90-91p.

Clos Lardiere: It has spicy raspberries on the nose. The palate has some minerality with a nice structure, smooth texture, and a fruity finish. 90p.

La Croizille: Fragrant roses and black fruit on the nose. Juicy with a nice acidity, pleasant and tasty on the palate. Gentle tannin. Crowd pleaser. 90p.

Peymouton: 89% Merlot, 10% C. Franc and 1% C. Sauvignon. Juicy blueberries and raspberries, nicely concentrated, silky fruit and tannin, soft texture, and smooth finish. 90p.

Roc de Candale: 90% Merlot + 10% C. Franc. 14.5% alcohol. It is aging in concrete vats and has no oak. It has fragrant cherries, violets, roses, gentle, tasty fruit, and a silky texture. Nice acidity and balance. Very seductive. It’s a great value for the money. 90p.

Saintem Saintayme: 100% Merlot, 14.6% alcohol. Aromatic cherries and violets, nice acidity, lively, plush, and silky tannin. Delicate. Cherry finish. Seductive and friendly. 90p.

Tour Baladoz: It has aromatic red berries and violets and is lively, elegant, tasty, and well-made. Soft tannin. 90p.

Yon Figeac:  Similar to Tour Baladoz, this wine is tender, pleasant, and tasty, with a silky texture, nice structure, and a delicate raspberry finish. 90p.

La Grace Fonrazade: Licorice, black and red fruit, lively, plump, pleasant, nicely structured, with a fruity finish. Smooth finish. 89-90p.

No. 3 d'Angelus: 85% Merlot, 10% C. Franc and 5% C. Sauvignon. The second wine of Carillon d'Angelus. Morello cherries on the nose, tender on the palate, with nice acidity and soft tannin. It is tasty and seductive. Delicate aftertaste. Satisfying effort. 89p.

3 de Valandraud: It shows aromatic black fruit, is round and gentle on the palate, delicate and tasty, and has a pleasant, fruity finish. 89p. 

Petit Cantenac: 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14% alcohol. It is a fruity, pleasant, charming wine with a silky texture and an inviting cherry finish. Nice. 88p.

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