Wines to Watch: Our 2023 La Place de Bordeaux recommendations
Every September the wine world gathers to welcome the release of the latest vintages from some of the world’s most in-demand names. Taking place at the historic La Place de Bordeaux marketplace, its modern history of the last two decades charts the growing appreciation for some for some of the New World’s most spectacular wines. We delve into some of our 2023 La Place favourites below.
Whilst its history spans the last eight centuries, the global marketplace – La Place de Bordeaux – only became truly international just two decades ago, sparked by the arrival of the first vintage of Baron Phillipe De Rothschild and Concha y Toro’s joint project, Almaviva. Today we see a growing number of wines from Austria, South Africa, Chile and beyond, with the number of New World gems continuing to rise. With over 100 estates showcasing their latest releases, there is growing pressure to stand out as each vies for the attention of the discerning critics and collectors of both the New and Old World.
Picking a favourite this year is tough, seeing that we are spoilt for choice in terms of the sheer breadth of quality and distinct individuality. However, we’ve happily taken on the task of combing through the best of what’s on offer at La Place de Bordeaux 2023 and are excited to share our favourites with you. See below for our wines to watch.
Opus One 2019, Napa Valley
One of the leading wineries in Napa Valley, Opus One first debuted at La Place in 2004, and its global popularity has continued to ascend. Deemed a “remarkably elegant wine” by Antonio Galloni, who scored it an admirable 97 Points, its 2019 vintage has kept up the estate’s reputation for creating exuberant, luscious wines, that consistently receive high scores from the world’s top critics. The first wine on our list from the Baron Philippe de Rothschild stable (of Mouton Rothschild fame), Opus One was created in collaboration with Californian winemaker Robert Mondavi, and exists as a stellar example of the lasting impact of Bordeaux on global winemaking.
Masseto 2020, Toscana
The sister property to Italian powerhouse Ornellaia, “Super Tuscan” Masseto also holds a similar level of prestige, rivalling those of some of the top Bordeaux and Burgundy. From the creation of its first vintage in 1987, the estate made a name for itself upon creating Bordeaux-style wines with Merlot-dominant blends. Benefitting from vines with over 40 years of ageing, its fruit is cultivated on the “massi” blue clay of which the wine gets its name. Since the installation of a new winery in 2018, Masseto has increased the fermentation of its wine from 20% to 25% in concrete tanks, to combat reduction. We’re therefore excited to see how its new wines compare to those made prior, and are sure that the 2020 vintage will knock our socks off, as the estate has continued to do.
Almaviva 2021, Puente Alto
The first non-Bordeaux wine to make an entrance at La Place in 1998, Almaviva’s personal history is one that is entangled with that of this time-honoured marketplace. Born the lovechild of Viña Concha y Toro and Baron Philippe de Rothschild, the Chilean poster boy Almaviva, combines both the Rothschild spirit for creating spectacular clarets with the Maipo Valley’s sublime terroir. These wines truly are a must-have for lovers of claret looking for something slightly different. Awarded the accolade of “wine of the decade” by James Suckling for its 2017 vintage, Almaviva is no shrinking violet, and continues to attract attention on the world stage as a stellar example of Franco-Chilean winemaking.
Cheval des Andes 2020, Mendoza
We couldn’t highlight Almaviva, without also giving some room for Cheval Blanc and Terrazas de Los Andes’ joint venture: Cheval des Andes. Formed in 1999 after Cheval Blanc’s president, Pierre Lurton, was blown away from trying an old vine Malbec in Argentina, the estate is the byproduct of when years of dynastic Bordeaux winemaking meet with Mendoza’s dramatic, high-altitude terroir. As of its 2019 vintage, Gerald Gabillet of Angelus fame was appointed as their new Technical Director, seeing the increased planting of Cabernet Sauvignon in the vineyard. Its 2019 cépage comprises 50% Malbec and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, in a move away from their Malbec dominant blends. We cannot wait to see what the 2020 has to offer.
Yjar 2019, Rioja
Having produced only three vintages so far, the enigmatic Yjar has been dubbed a “cult wine in the making” (Jane Anson), following on from the fervour that surrounded its first vintage in 2017. Created be esteemed Riojan winemaker Telmo Rodriguez, Yjar’s mysticism is the outcome of not just prestige, but also its ample production, which saw the estate only release 7,000 bottle in its first vintage. Both the 2017 and 2018 vintages were applauded for their impactful flavour and clear concentration, proving that this wine is definitely more than just hype. We are itching to get our hands on a case of 2019.