Bordeaux 2005: high tannin, freshness and balance

Some high alcohol Merlots in Saint Emilion annoy me, but most all wines yield balance and poise, with freshness and opulence

By Panos Kakaviatos for Wine-Chronicles.com

3 February 2015

Special note: for tasting notes below, I use a simple system: When bold, I particularly liked the wine. If red and bold, even more. If red, bold and underlined: wine nirvana. A star  * in addition to all that means THIS*.

Bordeaux 2005 was when Bordeaux started getting really expensive en primeur, but not yet when top brands began to sell wines to negociants at sky high prices, leaving little margin interest – and leading to much frustration and end-client recrimination, the effect of which lingers today.

Of course when you talk about top tier Bordeaux, you talk about money. Just take a look at this news brief from Wine-Searcher.com, about “Bordeaux 2005 raising interest on fine wine market” …

But let’s get to the quality.

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Legends in the making

2005 is worthy of “vintage of the century” status in spite of all the inflated critic scores (and the other vintages of the century of the 2000-2010 decade) that leave you searching for 120-point scales. Yes, from humble cru bourgeois level wines like Poujeaux to the most extraordinary wines Lafite Rothschild and Petrus, you find much to love in 2005.

Many thanks to Giles Cooper of Bordeaux Index for the tremendous opportunity to retaste many Bordeaux 2005 from bottle, nearly 10 years on. Giles said that he loved the freshness in 2005: “It’s freshness without being green,” he said. Indeed.

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2005 Bordeaux: A joy to taste with Adam Lechmere and Jane Anson

It was a pleasure to see familiar Bordeaux writers taking part in this memorable tasting, from dear friends Jane Anson and Adam Lechmere to the Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin and Jancis Robinson, to assess these treasures. The pleasure was palpable. “This is not too bad,” Martin said about the Petrus. Indeed.

Can we make some generalizions?

For me, 2005 marked the beginning of the High Alcohol Merlot trend in Saint Emilion, leading to a few less worthy performances from this storied appellation. Some writers, like Will Lyons in the Wall Street Journal, address high tannins “masking fruit” on the Right Bank, but for me it is a question of some properties combining high alcohol and new oak, extracting some drying tannins that is part of a problem.

A look at notes I took in 2006 – Connections to Wine newsletter Bordeaux 2005 INTRO – based on interviews I had with vintners and other observers in the wake of the 2005 vintage prove a worthy read in that regard.

As Pierre Olivier Clouet, oenologist at Chateau Cheval Blanc in St. Emilion, told me back in 2009 (another vintage of high alcohol Merlot): “With weather so good and grapes so ripe, people think they can pigeage and pump-over to their heart’s content, but I never saw as many over-extracted wines as I did in the 2005 vintage,” he remarked of Saint Emilion, comparing 2009 to 2005. Noted commentator and friend Mark Golodetz points out how many Right Bank wines, particularly from the Cercle de Rive Droite group have a “tendency towards over extraction” and that his notes on the 2005 vintage “showed that 2005 had brought out the worst in many of them.” While I did not re-taste any of the Cercle wines in January from bottle, wines like Monbousquet and Pavie Decesse proved disappointingly oak-driven and drying on the finish. For me, fresher styles one encounters in Canon and Figeac are positive references in 2005 for Saint Emilion.

But let’s not quibble. 2005 includes many successes from Saint Emilion, including the superlative Cheval Blanc and Ausone, as (leading) examples.

Nearby Pomerol seemed to be more judicious in terms of alcohol levels, rarely going beyond 14%, and extractions. At least among the few bottles of Pomerol I tried from bottle in London at Bordeaux Index, I found greater consistency and elegance, from Conseillante to Trotanoy, leading to one of my two most favorite wines of the January tasting: Petrus.

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Excellent tasting conditions, with the wine doctor himself, Chris Kissack

Overall, my favorite wines for consistency and quality are from the Left Bank – particularly from Pauillac – but also from Saint Julien and Graves.

Many of the wines that I had tasted from bottle in 2008 once again seem marvelous as most had seemed from barrel: these more or less commonly positive reflections over time bode well for 2005.

TASTING NOTES

When bold, I particularly liked. If red and bold, even more. If red, bold and underlined: wine nirvana. A star  * in addition to all that means THIS*.

Saint Emilion: some great, while others showing oak derived tannin and highish alcohol. They need time… or cross your fingers 

  • 2005 Château Pavie Decesse – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    Tasted with Canon La Gaffefliere, which seemed fresher by comparison as this wine was dominated by oak derived tannins not so well integrated. Certainly had intensity of flavor and a broad texture but drying tannin on the finish. Shall we say the Lascombes of the Right Bank? Score higher if you like the style. (89 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Monbousquet – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    Once again, I could not get past the oak domination and drying finish, quite pronounced here. As with Pavie Decesse, score higher if you like that style, but not sure where it is heading… (87 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Canon-la-Gaffelière – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    By comparison to Pavie Decesse, this is fruit purity in bottle. Although a bit heady, it is rich, savory and delicious. Nice job! (93 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Magdelaine – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    Tasted side by side with Angelus and what a difference! In successful vintages like 2005, this wine excels in being richer than normal yet nuanced and subtle in its flavors. I still find it strange that the Moueix owners later merged this with Belair (later Belair-Monange) after years of defending its terroir, and even if it can be somewhat bland in lesser vintages such as 2007. (92 pts.)
  • 2005 Clos Fourtet – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    Primary, red fruit and very pronounced flavors. Rich and full bodied. A bit of over extraction on the palate? It does feel a touch drying on the finish, but the mid palate is so savory and there is a long finish. I get the feeling that the fruit will likely last over time and the wine will evolve positively with further bottle aging so potential higher score. I have six bottles and look forward to tasting them over the years. (92 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Canon – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    Canon looks just a bit more evolved than Clos Fourtet, in terms of color, yet comes across as juicier on the palate, with greater freshness. Delicious. Rich. Ripe. But also mineral and an excellent Saint Emilion in 2005: a no brainer. I own a few bottles of both Canon and Clos Fourtet and it will be interesting to compare their evolution, seeing that their vineyards are so close to each other, albeit with different expositions (and winemaking styles). One other thought: as the vines at Canon get older, this wine will only get better, given the wine making philosophy towards freshness and the exquisite limestone terroir. (94 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Figeac – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    Fresh and elegant if somewhat closed at this stage, as compared to when I enjoyed it in a vertical some three years ago in Washington D.C. Quite reassuringly tannic. Give it time! Potential for higher score. I’m happy to own a case. (94 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Angélus – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    Powerful and very broad shouldered. Impressive winemaking indeed, and rather modern in style, but not as fresh and elegant as, say, Canon. I liked it from bottle perhaps a bit more in 2008 and have six bottles. Let’s see where it goes… (92 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Pavie – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    What a great terroir! But why the feeling of it being over oaked, over extracted? Yes, it has full body and broad shoulders on the mid palate. But it dries on the finish. Cross your fingers, and I hope I am wrong. Note reserved, check again in five years …
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Not a bad pair to compare

  • 2005 Château Ausone – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    Rich and powerful. Tannins are foreboding and over time, the terroir will shine through. At this stage more structure than anything else. Tasted from bottle along with the other ultra expensive elites of 2005, including Le Pin and Petrus, it seems to lack the “extra class” of, say, Lafite or Petrus, to county among a “top five 2005” list… But give it time. (96 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Cheval Blanc – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    Spherical and smooth, tannins present yet bright and rich. Tasted next to Ausone, just another style – another terroir. Greater elegance and grace. A Margaux among Saint Emilions in 2005 and I love it.(97 pts.)

Lovely Pomerols across the board

  • 2005 Château Nenin – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Crushed tobacco, a touch metallic, red cherry, palate is smooth yet straightforward. Medium plus body and finish. Very good. (90 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Gazin Pomerol – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    By comparison to Nenin, tasted alongside, richer and more sumptuous. Spice and black cherry. Fine tannic grip yet suave. Hints of burgeoning beef blood, but still more primary fruit than tertiary. Full bodied. Long finish. Buy this! (95 pts.)
  • 2005 Château La Providence – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Compared to Clinet, more garnet than ruby. Almost Provence like herbal. Crushed tobacco and thyme. Firm grip yet also opulent. Tannin noticeable on the finish which is medium plus. Body is medium plus. Flavors, with more red than black fruit, are pronounced if not as polished as Gazin. (93 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Clinet – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Darker hue, ruby. Jammy blackberry fruit and plum with spice. Rich and juicy mid palate, opulent and large scaled without being “too much” albeit a hint of drying on the finish? Give it time… (93 pts.)
  • 2005 Château La Conseillante – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Almost surprisingly more evolved on the nose, as compared with Clos l’Eglise, with earth and espresso coffee along with red fruit. Some tobacco freshness. The palate is showing notes of earth but deceptive as there is reassuring tannin on the long finish, for the long haul. Lovely and sumptuous if also serious. (93 pts.)

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  • 2005 Château L’Eglise-Clinet – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Here the 14% alcohol is felt, and the impression is almost New World in its ripe expressiveness. I find it a touch drying for my taste as well, with evident oak derivation, which I feel is too prevalent. Score higher if you like the style. (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Trotanoy – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Shows a more evolved color than the Eglise Clinet, tasted alongside. Very powerful and iron grip like. A wine for the long haul. Serious juice. It has much power and a juicy mid palate. Large scaled without being over the top or “modern”. Precise and fresh. Not the most sumptuous – see Gazin – at this stage at least, but far more interesting than, say, Eglise Clinet. (95 pts.)
  • 2005 Pétrus* – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Like a fresher, more focused version of Trotanoy. A wine that I could not spit. Complete and spherical. Tobacco freshness yet full body and ultra long finish. Cornucopia of red and black fruits. Trotanoy almost pales in comparison. I loved it en primeur, I love it now. I wish I had found a way to get some when they were “only” 500 euros per bottle… (99 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Le Pin* – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Amazing clarity of red fruit, starkly in focus. Pronounced aromatics. Fresh and floral. Like a bouquet of red and white flowers. Primary palate. Not quite as nuanced and serious – to me – as Petrus but very impressive. Compared to Petrus, I sense the components more, the oak, and the wine and not quite as cohesive, but give it time. A deliciously broad, if more modern styled Pomerol.
    (97 pts.)
  • 2005 Clos l’Église (Pomerol) – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    A bit metallic, beefy on the nose but also tobacco, with a “breezy freshness”. Palate is savory, with jammy red and black fruits and excellent tannic edge as well. Fully body and long finish. Delicious and manages the 14% alcohol quite well (most others are 13.5%) (94 pts.)

Smooth and smoky Graves

  • 2005 Château Malartic-Lagravière – France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
    Very ripe fruits. With some fine herbal aspects, crushed tobacco. The palate is suave and smooth. Almost too polished, and sleek? A touch drying on the finish, but overall delicious. (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Domaine de Chevalier – France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
    Subtle tobacco and cassis notes. Smooth and elegant tannins. Just hints of earthiness creeping in at the 10 year mark. Visions of steak-frites in my mind as this is the 40th wine I am tasting… Tasting side-by-side with stylistically similar Haut Bailly, almost twice as expensive… (93 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Smith Haut Lafitte – France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
    Meaty nose. Beef blood. Reminds me of the 1995 when tasted in 2003… But more substantial. Rich and powerful. Quite, well, worthy. Juicy and powerful and smoky to boot. Great job! (93 pts.)
  • 2005 Château La Mission Haut-Brion – France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
    This has 14.5% alcohol. Crushed tobacco galore. Power on the broad rich palate, tannins are very high if just a bit drying. Not sure about this one! And yet. The finish is smooth enough and I love the aromatics and mid palate. LMHB often needs time to shine. (95 pts.)
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I wish I could afford both …

  • 2005 Château Haut-Brion – France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
    Tasted next to Smith Haut Lafitte. Very pure crushed tobacco. Heady aspect. Alcohol is quite elevated? And yet the body is rich and sustained, like a note on a guitar that lasts a very long time. The SHL shows well by comparison! Bravo to the Cathiards. It is not as impressive – in terms of veritable tension – but it has stuffing and power. Going back to Haut Brion, once again this time after tasting LMHB, it seems smoother and fresher than the LMHB, more elegant and refined. A great wine in the making… (96 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Haut-Bailly – France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
    Nobility on the nose. There is quite a bit of depth and power to this wine. Tannic and foreboding, almost in an LLC kind of way. I give it a high rating more on its potential than its actual drinking pleasure, today, in January 2015. Give it five years for it to come together fully. (94 pts.)

Margaux: some display Pauillac like tannic power. Palmer is just gorgeous. Giscours a great “bargain” among others

  • 2005 Château du Tertre – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    Savory and spicy with a mid palate sumptuousness that is hard to resist and a long and smooth finish. A relative bargain buy. (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Giscours – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    Giscours seems a bit more evolved color wise when compared to Malescot. Brambly fresh fruit and minty freshness. Medium plus body. Savory flavors. Pronounced yet suave. As Margaux should be! Lovely and sneaky long finish, with silky tannin. An excellent “bargain buy” for this great and generally pricey vintage. Furthermore, matches previous positive experiences. (93 pts.)
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Lovely in 2005!

  • 2005 Château Malescot St. Exupéry – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    Here you have more concentration and power than Giscours. Tannins are more noticeable. Seems more Pauillac than Margaux. Juicy mid palate but is it just a touch hard on the finish? Give it time, albeit a somewhat modern style for my tastes. (92 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Lascombes – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    Very oaky on the nose. Richness on the mid palate, there is juiciness, but it is drying on the finish. Not sure about the future here, seems to be too oaky and dry for the long run… but perhaps will please other palates. Rating reserved.
  • 2005 Château Brane-Cantenac – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    Tasted next to Giscours and I prefer the latter for superior freshness and lift. Although the Brane seems to have more power and tannin and seems more coiled in. Give it time! (91 pts.)
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Developing well since last tasted in 2010: legendary vintage in the making for Palmer

  • 2005 Château Palmer – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    Tasted side-by-side with Gruaud Larose, since I own both… Nose is subtle. Floral and red fruit. Attack is suave and palate is fresh and concentrated. A lovely Margaux indeed, which has calmed down since I tried it back in 2010 in Washington D.C. Still large scaled however. Much time needed for aging but already more perfumed and elegant. Lovely and serious wine and a top ten wine of the vintage. (96 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Margaux – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    Tasted next to Palmer and certainly more “Cabernet driven”…. Precise and pronounced aromas and flavors of lead pencil, cassis, with much concentration but almost impenetrable at this stage… More Pauillac than Margaux. Very long finish… and very high tannin, and needs another 10 years to enter its drinking window which should be majestic so score reflects more the potential than the actual state of affairs. (96 pts.)

Saint Julien shows its usual consistency, and just lovely in 2005

  • 2005 Château Gloria – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Seems to have more color than the Talbot, tasted alongside. Bright red fruit aromatics. Meaty yet fruit filled, too, and ready to drink today, even if the tannins could melt further to be optimal. I could easily enjoy this with steak, like a mini Gruaud Larose in 2005. Lovely – and a veritable bargain for the vintage. (90 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Beychevelle – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Floral and red fruit aromatics. Medium plus body, tasty, savory, rich yet suave. Medium plus finish marked by a feeling of elegance: a real joy to drink, even if it may not be as long lasting as a bigger gun, like LLC. (93 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Branaire-Ducru – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Not as expressive on the nose as Beychevelle, tasted alongside. Closed in by comparison but with a bit more substance and structure. If I had to choose at this stage for drinking, it would be Beychevelle. But Branaire has more structure for the long haul, and potential for a higher score. (92 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Talbot – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Somewhat tarry nose, not as fresh as the best of the 2005s… Palate is better, smooth and svelte although medium bodied and medium finish, a slight disappointment for the vintage. (88 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Lagrange (St. Julien) – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Tasted next to Lascombes (revisited). Nose is more subtle (ha ha). Lovely red and black fruits, tannins are soft St Julien built to order. Smooth and savory, fine integration of oak. Juicy and can be enjoyed already today even if tannins could use another 5-10 years to be more optimally integrated. Lovely.(93 pts.)
  • 2005 Clos du Marquis – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Approachable yet serious. More Merlot here? Certainly feels softer than the LLC. Suave and smooth and I would say drink it now, even if it can stay in your cellar for another 5-10 years. (90 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Gruaud Larose – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Tasted right next to Palmer and the aromatics are more “animal” in nature! Metallic and even beef blood like. Does not feel as regal as the Palmer to be sure and yet there is freshness and much 2nd growth substance – and you could have a steak and be happy. Still, for a 2005, not as long on the finish or as subtle as some of the others in its league. (92 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Léoville Barton – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    A bit less violet than Poyferre. Cedar freshness, a nose like perfume. Rich on the palate, yet well structured by the tannin. There is tobacco elegance, yet raw power. Too young to truly appreciate but what potential – a gorgeous wine. (94 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Léoville Poyferré – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    By comparison with the Barton, a bit more jam on the nose. Rich and full bodied, much fruit almost ready to burst out of the house, but a bit harder at this stage. The Barton seems a bit juicier. A different style but also excellent. (93 pts.)
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Lion-like Las Cases

  • 2005 Château Léoville Las Cases – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Wow! This has freshness and focus and lives up to the reputation as a “should-be” first growth. Pronounced cassis and primary aromatics, almost a barrel sample, with superbly integrated oak. Expectedly high tannin and full body and almost a tough Pauillac aspect on the finish, with raw tannin that is neither hard nor drying but substantial and oh so serious. A top five contender. (96 pts.)

Three top Saint Estephes, three top wines in 2005

  • 2005 Château Calon-Ségur – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
    Very fresh and focused. Ripe. Medium plus body and finish. A favorite among tasters – with reason. An excellent example of how the northern Medoc did particularly well in 2005. (93 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Montrose – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
    A more substantial palate, tasted after Calon Segur. Focused. with ripe, high tannin, pronounced flavors and aromas of red and black fruit, and power and structure on the full bodied and long finishing palate. This is built to last and a top wine from 2005. Not quite as wow like as LLC, but in that ballpark. (95 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Cos d’Estournel – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
    Looks slightly more evolved than the Montrose, in terms of tone! More garnet than ruby. Much power and substance but takes a back seat to Montrose in that it lacks the same layered full bodied – and nuanced – palate. It even seems to be drying, by comparison, on the finish, but let’s not quibble, as this is certainly excellent. (93+ pts.)
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Mighty Montrose

Pauillac: my overall favorite appellation in this tasting from bottle

  • 2005 Château Latour Grand Vin* – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Deep pronounced aromas of dark fruit and pencil lead as expected. An enveloping palate, substantial and certainly foreboding, with high tannin, and a raw power that impresses with both depth and nuance. Interestingly, the Lafite matches Latour’s power and adds greater grace. (97 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Mouton Rothschild* – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Like biting into a lead pencil. Palate is coiled in yet subtle in its opulence. High tannins to the fore, with a slight raw aspect and closed down. Much substance is there, the juiciness is just underneath the tannic surface, but not yet coming out. Put in the back of your cellar, as this is special – a great Mouton in the making. (97 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Lafite Rothschild* – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Left Bank wine of the vintage, based on this tasting. This is quite amazing as it combines elegance and grace and subtle power. So much dry extract. Really impressive. Larger palate, when compared to Mouton and more grace when compared to Latour. This is really biting into a lead pencil as well – very Cabernet driven with a long, long finish. (99 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    A more substantial, more pronounced Pauillac, tasted side-by-side with the Comtesse, exhibiting a Latour like power yet closed in at this stage. Pronounced pencil lead and cassis very pure. Full body and long finish. But not yet ready to drink. (95 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Fulfills my expectations from barrel almost ten years ago. The nose is beguilingly mint leaf like, or rather raw tobacco raw. Full body with pronounced and pleasing flavors with reassuring high tannin kicking in on the long finish. Sexy. (95 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Tasted next to Lynch Bages… Very Bordeaux nose. Pronounced notes of cassis and tobacco. Palate is medium plus body with tight aspect today… Tobacco and tar. Beef blood hints. I think I prefer this to Lynch Bages as it seems fresher. Bordeaux Index’s Giles Cooper agreed, and – given the better pricing – a no brainer. He said that he had sold 60 cases of GPL in the last 18 hours… An excellent if relative bargain for this expensive vintage. (94 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Lynch-Bages – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Fuller bodied than GPL, yet somewhat more noticeable extraction – it seems that the GPL has more juiciness by comparison. Raw power, yes. Concentration and mid palate expansiveness, but the finish is somewhat drying by comparison. Wait and see as Lynch Bages proves its muster down the road.(93 pts.)
  • 2005 Château d’Armailhac – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Where is the lamb? Suave and tertiary already, and better from bottle than when I tried it from barrel some 10 years ago. The fruit is there but you get some earthy and even subtle animal notes. Seems to be on a faster evolutionary track, compared to Clerc Milon, but delicious. (90 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Clerc Milon – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Cooler, more blue fruit nose by comparison with d’Armailhac. Clean and delicious. Slower evolution and, by Gumbo, delicious! High tannin lends structure, optimal fruit ripeness lends pleasing flavor. Hold another three years but can be enjoyed today with decanter. (92 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Duhart-Milon – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Tasted side by side with the Clerc Milon… While the nose seemed more captivating and classy, with more pronounced and focused aromatics, the palate came across as less full bodied, more closed. Very lead pencil yet closed. Give it time as I suspect a higher score is in the making. (92 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Haut-Batailley – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    A lovely Saint Julien like elegance and richness marked by cedar and fresh tobacco leaf yet also primary fruit. Another “bargain” category, even if it does not have the length or as full a body as GPL.(90 pts.)

Medoc and Moulis: good stuff!

  • 2005 Château La Lagune – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc
    A bit of tar on the nose and palate, coming across as just slightly one dimensional likely because closed down. Plenty of structure and enough tannin for a long run cellaring. Tasted side-by-side with Belgrave, the latter seems more open for business. Looking back at previous in bottle tastings, with which I had more pleasure, I wonder if this may have been a less optimal sample. (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Belgrave – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc
    Clean aromas of cedar and cassis. Palate is red and dark fruit with a touch of black olive. Tannins need more time to resolve themselves but good signs for the future. Heartily endorse this one as a bargain wine that you can cellar – with consistent notes since last time tasted in bottle back in 2008. (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Potensac – France, Bordeaux, Médoc
    Smooth and flavorful, and a bargain. At 10 years of age, still youthful and fresh with medium body and a medium finish. (90 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Poujeaux – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Moulis en Médoc
    Solid wine, well made, and tasty. Red and black fruit and tannic structure for further aging but enjoyable today. Medium plus body. Long plum flavored finish. (91 pts.)

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments on “Bordeaux 2005: high tannin, freshness and balance

  1. You should introduce your “underlined, underlined and red” scala to the readers. Cheers

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