ANOTHER VINTAGE OF THE CENTURY ON ITS WAY? YES IT IS!
Harvesting in Château Palmer's vineyard, September 2005. Copyright. Alain Vacheron
Already from its berth, 2005 vintage in Bordeaux was proclaimed as one of the very best the kind since vintages 1947, 1949, 1961, 1982 and 2000, which all are counted as milestones in Bordeaux wine history.
I've tasted around 300 barrel samples of the new vintage in Bordeaux during two weeks in April 2006 in order to find out, if rumours did tell the truth.
2005 started with relatively quiet and cool winter months. Spring was warm with a lot of sunshine; so flowering started on time in the beginning of June and passed quickly and without any problems. From May to September, Bordeaux experienced only few millimetres of rain, but vines adapted themselves really well to the lack of water, despite the fact, that both summer and autumn were quite warm, but not excessively warm.
Summer nights were cool, so vines could cool down" and grapes could keep aromas and freshness. Isolated rain showers in the beginning of September helped grapes to reach perfect ripeness, and in Sauternes & Barsac, rain showers kick-started "attack" of Botrytis cinerea fungus.
There were no problems whatsoever with ripening process of the grapes and these weren't disturbed either up to or during the harvest of known and unknown maladies. At the time of the harvest, grapes were simply perfect, small ones with thick skins, full of aromas, concentrated juice and tannin.
Harvest of "white" grapes began in the end of August and Merlot was harvested in Pomerol (Jean-Pierre Mouiex' wines) around mid-September. Also in Saint-Émilion, Merlot was harvested in mid-September, while in Haut-Médoc and Graves Merlot was picked 1-1.5 week later. Cabernet Franc followed shortly after, but it took some time for winegrowers with Cabernet Sauvignon, which was harvested from late September to late October. Bordeaux' most capricious and late ripening grape variety, Petit Verdot, was last one to harvest. In 2005, all grape varieties in Bordeaux had ripened just perfectly and this happens not so often.
Both Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon had reached unusually high sugar content, corresponding to 14-15% alcohol in Merlot and 12.5-13% alcohol in Cabernet Sauvignon.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE VINTAGE
Having 22 years experience in tasting barrel samples, I felt myself really well prepared to learn this new vintage to know. After two first days of visits, I was thinking about 2005 being like 1996 vintage, but I soon changed my mind!
2.5 weeks stay in Bordeaux convinced me completely and after having tasted several hundreds wines, there's no doubt in my mind, that this vintage's simply extraordinary. However, not everything in this vintage does look perfect.
Unfortunately, there are extremely high levels of tannin in some wines, both in the top and bottom of Bordeaux' rang list. I'm not really sure, that this true bombardment of tannin, which I haven't experienced in earlier vintages, will disappear or melt together with fruit on time, so wines get perfectly balanced. Château owners are however extremely sure, that the wines throw away tannin "cuffs", when time comes, so why do not believe them. You can't take their experience in judging development of vintages away from them.
Even if nature has given Bordeaux' winemakers raw material of heavenly quality, some of them chose anyway to improve final result by doing overextraction. This has caused, that their wines lack freshness and has irritating dryness on the palate. Some had actually succeeded in harvesting grapes either too early or too late, despite quite ret homogenous ripening period during summer and autumn, a ripening process, which was extremely easy to control.
If we now look away from the above-mentioned flaws, you will find lots of immensely beautiful and masterly made wines on both banks, with aromatic fruit, superb balance and silky tannins. Many wines are almost black ink in the colour, crammed with fruit and tannin and with stunning length.
They are immensely aromatic with black cherries and blueberries appearing in almost all tasting notes. Many winemakers managed to create silky tannins in their wines, which made this vintage irresistible.
It was simply fantastic to find out, how successful Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Saint-Éstephe communes are in 2005, with many wines being best ever for many properties. In Péssac-Léognan, Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, established stars didn't disappoint and several new shooting stars joined the upper quality class.
White dry Bordeaux in 2005 is almost as that exceptional as 2002 vintage, however not everywhere in the district. Sauternes & Barsac continues without any stop with producing fabulous vintages one after one. In 2005, several properties had made wines matching quality of 2001 vintage, and are in my honest opinion better than their 2003 versions.
If 2005 resembles some of recent vintages? No way, this vintage is totally its own! It's a vintage with incredible long keeping potential and which will be extremely expensive for many wines. In 15-20 years time, we'll wiser and probably able to judge, if 2005 surpasses vintages 1947, 1949, 1961, 1982 and 2000 for red wines.
After bottling, 2005's astonishing quality was confirmed! This is an outstanding vintage!
THE BEST WINES
The following tasting notes come from tastings arranged by Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux and from author's own visits. I rated all these wines according to 100 points scale.
Sauternes & Barsac
d'Yquem. Shortly speaking it was a heavenly wine, which easily can last for 5-6 decades. Additional description isn't necessary at all. 98-100p.
Climens. It turned up as usual with an incredibly sublime and sophisticated wine with astonishingly pure and intense botrytis. This wine is immense. 96-98p.
de Fargues. "Poor man's" d'Yquem. It's a wine with incredibly deep and intense botrytis, enormous sweetness and fresh acidity, mandarins and orange peel aromas everywhere, stunningly rich. Wow! 96-97p.
Raymond Lafon. It had very well shaped botrytis and acidity clearly present. There was great fruit sweetness, lots of tropical fruit and sophisticated touch. Fabulous wine. 95-96p.
La Tour Blanche. This wine has been in stunning form since vintage 2001. It had extremely deep botrytis, strong aroma of pineapple, superb structure and superb length on the palate. Delicacy with vengeance! 94-95p.
Bastor Lamontagne and Rabaud Promis were surprisingly strong and powerful with really intense botrytis, big body, superb sweetness and superb length. Yummy! 93-94p.
Coutet impressed greatly with pure finesse and elegance. It was well defined and with pure botrytis, beautiful balance and honeyed aftertaste. 92-93p.
Les Justices was a tad more powerful than Coutet, but just as gracious. Very impressive wine! 92-93p.
Doisy Vedrines, Lamothe Guignard, Myrat, Romer du Hayot and Sigalas Rabaud showed delicate and well-shaped botrytis, aromatic nose of orange peel, apricot, pineapple and melon, honey on the palate, plus finesse and elegance. 90-92p.
Clos Haut Peyraguey, Doisy Daëne, Guiraud, Lafaurie Peyraguey, Nairac, de Malle, Rieussec and Suduiraut were quite difficult to assess, because they seemed very closed. They have undoubtedly great potential, but I'll rate these wines 90+p for the moment, with great chance for 93-96p, if they're capable of fulfilling their potential.
D'Arche, Broustet and Rayne Vigneau were all well-structured wines in the light style with nice botrytis, fine aroma of tropical fruit and fine sweetness. 88-89p.
OK wines: Caillou (87p), Filhot (87p) and Suau (86-87p).
Heavyweights, Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion, didn't disappoint and fulfilled expectations to every inch. Both resembled very close 2000 vintage; Haut Brion was strong and powerful, crammed with fruit and tannin and had fabulous structure, while La Mission shined as usual with breathtaking composition, finesse and perfect balance. Will be legendary wines. 97-100p.
Pape Clement. It was very aromatic in the nose with delicious sweetness, strong and full-bodied on the palate with many nuances and long aftertaste. Eminent wine. 93-94p.
Carmes Haut Brion and Domaine de Chevalier showed catchy and aromatic nose of black cherries, delightful sweetness on the palate, pure elegance and finesse. Yummy! 92-93p.
Haut Bailly and Malartic Lagraviere were true heartbreakers with attractive, aromatic and tasty fruit, splendid balance and long taste. 91-92p.
Smith Haut Lafitte was clearly marked by new oak and had lot of extract. 91-92p.
La Tour Haut Brion was concentrated and sappy with much oak, but had also enough of nice sweetness. 90-91p.
Respide Medeville (Graves) had surprised enormously with really well composed and tasty wine. 90-91p.
La Chapelle de La Mission Haut Brion and Bahans Haut Brion were splendid second wines, very perfumed, sappy and with delicious sweetness. 89-90p.
Chantegrive, De Fieuzal, Haut Bergey and Rahoul delivered the goods in compact and complex style with delicious dark berries everywhere. 89-90p.
Latour Martillac, La Louviere, Olivier og Picque Caillou were on the light side, but anyway pleasant wines with fruity soul, tasty and with reasonable structure. 88p.
Carbonnieux looked a bit more rustic with obvious oak scent in the nose and with quite much tannin on the palate. 88p.
OK wine: Ferrande. 87p.
Domaine de Chevalier, Haut Brion and Laville Haut Brion are créme de la créme of white Bordeaux. All three wines were extremely aromatic and full-bodied with acacia, apple and citrus in large quantities, incredibly refined and sophisticated with fabulous nuancerichness and structure, and wildly long on the palate. Exceptional wines. 95-98p.
La Louviere had delightfully scented and intense nose of apples and pears, splendid structure, lovely elegance and great length on the palate. Delicious effort from this property. 93p.
Haut Bergey, Olivier, Pape Clement and Smith Haut Lafitte belonged each one to same high quality class, with more power and sappiness, and less finesse than La Louviere, and were rewarded with 93p.
Malartic Lagraviere and Latour Martillac resembled roughly in style about La Louviere, but were barely that intense. These are stunningly splendid wines, which truly deserve 92-93p.
Carbonnieux and Rahoul impressed with freshness, roundness, delightful cooperation between aromatic fruit and acidity, plenty of nuances and soft aftertaste. 91-92p.
Chantegrive, Fieuzal and Larrivet Haut Brion were almost as fresh and energetically as Carbonnieux and Rahoul, and were rated 90-91p, while Bouscaut and de France showed softness, roundness and lovely taste. 89-90p.
OK wine: Picque Caillou. 86p.
La Tour de By. It was pretty perfumed, tasty and quite delicious wine. 89-90p.
Goulee and Potensac were also really successful wines with strong backbone, spicy dark berries and long aftertaste. 88-89p.
Greysac played more the robust stuff and was quite marked by tannin. 88p.
Fonreaud and Fourcas Dupré had both lovely scented nose of dark berries and were sappy and well structured on the palate with nice length. Well-deserved 89-90p.
Fourcas Hosten was on the other hand more rustic and less aromatic. 88-89p.
OK wine: Clarke. 87p.
Maucaillou and Poujeaux showed both very fine quality with ripe berries, sweetness, pretty much oak, sappy and full-bodied palate, plus lovely length on the palate. 90-91p.
Chasse Spleen was on the other hand lighter on the "cover" with delightful sweetness of fruit and elegance. 88-89p.
Cantemerle and La Tour Carnet impressed with beautiful nose of blueberries and blackberries, delicious sweetness, ripe and sweet tannins, and great finesse. Delicious, delicate and seductive wines. 92p.
La Lagune, Lamarque and Malescasse followed shortly after with just as beautiful "look". 91p.
OK wines: Beaumont (86p), (Belgrave (86p), Camensac (86p), Citran (86p)and Coufran (86p).
Margaux. Black red. It was simply a dream of a wine having all your wine heart can wish! What an incredibly sophisticated and multidimensional wine. A masterpiece. Fantastic! 99-100p.
Paul Pontalier, the magician at Château Margaux. Dear Paul Pontalier - what's your secret in making Margaux so damn irresistible!
Palmer was as always a perfect example of beautiful elegance and finesse, the goodies Margaux commune is so famous of. This was a complete wine and a heartbreaker. 94-96p.
Lascombes has been on fire since vintage 2001 and journey close to wine paradise continues in 2005. Incredibly aromatic, intense and tempting wine. 94-96p.
Dauzac and Marquis de Terme had simply made wine of their life with sophisticated nose of dark berries and big depth on the palate, where everything was perfectly measured. Yummy! 93-95p.
Labegorce, Prieure Lichine and Rausan Gassies had all reasons to be proud of their performance. Incredibly perfumed and incredibly tasty wine. 92-93p.
Du Tertre and Giscours had kept the true "face" of Margaux commune with breed, finesse and richness of nuances. Delicacy x two. 92-93p.
D'Angludet and Siran were both black red with catchy nose of violets and dark berries, plus splendidly elegant and racy on the palate. 91-92p.
Cantenac Brown, Durfort Vivens and Kirwan followed in same track with delicious fruit and lovely balance. 91-92p.
Marquis d'Alesme Becker had lovely perfumed nose of violets and delicious finesse. 90-91p. Pavillon Rouge was just as pretty, delicate and delightful with tasty cherries on the palate. 90-91p.
Alter Ego (Palmer's second wine) was aromatic and with fine structure. 89p.
OK wines: Brane Cantenac (86-87p), Malescot St. Euxpery (86p?), Monbrison (86p), Rausan Segla (86-87p)
Leoville Las Cases was surprisingly kind, silky and incredibly aromatic, with breathtaking nuance richness and aftertaste which lasted for more than 1 minute. Simply a dream wine, which will keep for 30+ years because of this wine's exquisite balance. 97-99p.
Branaire Ducru, Leoville Barton and Leoville Poyferre had presented themselves three perfectly cut diamonds with fat fruit and fat tannins, fabulous structure, wonderful balance and marvellous length on the palate. Sheer enjoyment! 94-96p.
Beychevelle. Without doubt the best wine ever from this property in modern times. All of it was just marvellously composed in sophisticated and silky "wrapping". This looked like a formidable wine work and what a delicacy we have here! 94-95p.
Clos de Marquis was a stunning beauty. I don't remember having tasted such a delicious, seductive and luscious wine from this property. And what a beautifully scented nose this wine had! A heartbreaker wine of big caliber. 93-95p.
Langoa Barton, Lagrange and Talbot delivered all just as stunningly beautiful wines, intense and aromatic with delicious sweetness, exemplary structure and silky tannins. It was just to be delighted at these wines' irresistible "sex-appeal"! 93-95p.
Gruaud Larose was on the light and elegant side, but quite nicely made. 88p.
Lafite did surprise by not being soft as a lamb. It was very strong and powerful wine, deep, sappy and extremely concentrated. A bobbling volcano! 98-100p.
Latour did surprise by not being a monster I was looking forward to. It was incredibly sophisticated and multidimensional, enormous body and silky tannins, plus aromatic fruit of highest quality. Will be a legend. 98-100p.
Frederic Engerer, the man behind Latour's fabulous form in recent vintages. Please, don't rise price of 2005 up 200%!
Pichon Comtesse was incredibly aristocratic on the nose with intense black cherries, amazingly sophisticated and elegant with big body and great length. Simply delicious! 95-96p.
Lynch Bages had really delicious nose of dark cherries and blueberries, fabulous sweetness, length and nuance richness. Seems to be even better than the spectacular 2000 version! 95-96p.
Mouton Rothschild was made up from 65% of total production). Even if this wine didn't have Lafite's and Latour's nuance richness and their multidimensional intensity, there were anyway lot of delicious ingredients, wine freaks could romp about. 94-96p.
Neighbour to Mouton Rothschild, Pontet Canet, came agonisingly close to 1.Cru wine and confirmed hereby this property's stable and very high quality in recent vintages. 94-96p.
Grand Puy Ducasse was a big surprise with stunningly made wine. Amazingly concentrated with fat fruit and ripe tannin in close dance. Extremely tasty and nuanced. Bravo! 93-95p.
Pichon Baron was just as wonderful, but more modern in style. 93-95p.
Armailhac, Clerc Milon and Lynch Moussas (!) seemed like having surpassed all their previous achievements in 2005 vintage with incredibly well defined, full-bodied, harmonious and luscious wines. Delicacy wines! 93-94p.
Batailley presented a really splendid wine, crammed with goodies, fruity and harmonious. 92-93p.
Haut Bages Liberal offered simply numbers of sun-ripe dark berries, sappiness and lovely structure, while Les Forts de Latour was just as delightful and tasty. 90-91p. Carruaders de Lafite showed power and sappiness. 90p.
Petit Mouton was extremely accessible wine with soft fruit and round tannins. 88p.
OK wines: Croizet Bages (86p) and Pauillac (87p).
Cos d'Estournel. Almost black. It had very intense and deep aroma of black cherries, was very strong and full-bodied on the palate, with long and persistent aftertaste. Very modern style here, but the quality is indisputably high. 95-97p.
The delicious, hugely aromatic, well-structured and sophisticated Cos Labory and Les Ormes de Pez deserved without any doubt 92-93p. Lafon Rochet got also 92-93p, but had more robust approach, oak flavour and weight on the palate in expense of finesse.
Marbuzet was strong with earthy taste, and rock-solid structure. 88-89p.
OK wine: Pagodes de Cos. 87-88p.
Ausone. Tasted not at all bombastic, as I feared. It was a fantastic combination of power, refinement and elegance, with incredibly sweet dark berries and silky tannins. A wonderful effort! 98-100p.
Cheval Blanc. Was more full-bodied than usual and acted as an incredibly refined, incredibly well composed and subtle wine with sheer elegance. 25-30 years long life. 97-100p.
Tertre Roteboeuf. Black red, strong aroma of dark cherries and blueberries, stunningly luscious, silky tannins, refined and sophisticated up to finger nails. Agonisingly close to be like a legend. 96-98p.
Troplong Mondot. I don't remember having tasted so complete and amazing wine from this property before. Christine Valette has every reason to clap in her hands – the wine had powerful aroma of dark berries, cocoa and chocolate powder, was multidimensional, incredibly well balanced and with rock-solid structure. Long life! Wow! 96-98p.
Clos Fourtet. Seemed like the best vintage ever for this property. This wine had dark cherries in large quantities and great sweetness. On the palate, it exploded of perfectly ripe fruit, adequate tannin and amazingly fine structure, and simply was a marvellous wine. 93-95p.
Angelus, Beausejour, Beausejour Becot, La Confession, La Mondotte and Pavie Macquin impressed with big body, fine aromas of perfectly ripe berries, rock-solid structure, big depth and length on the palate. Well-deserved 92-93p to every one of these wines.
Belair, Canon, Dassault, Figeac, Franc Mayne, Grand Mayne, Pavie Decesse and La Serre were all delicious wines, filled with blueberries/dark cherries in the nose and on the palate, adequate oak, well balanced and well composed, full-bodied and with long aftertaste. 91-93p.
Berliquet, Chapelle d'Ausone, Corbin Michotte, La Couspade and Moulin St. Georges impressed with big fullness, delicious sweetness, beautiful balance and kind aftertaste. 90-91p.
Canon-La Gaffeliere was made of different kind; marked by oak and with much extract. 90-91p.
Pavie. A controversy with vengeance! It had too much of everything and the wine seemed over dimensioned. If fruit and tannin melt together in time to a beautiful, kind and tasty mixture, then this wine can be really amazing. 89-95+p?
Cap de Mourlin, Larcis Ducasse, Larmande, Magdelaine, Petit Cheval and Trottevieille bobbled all not only of oak, but also violets, cherries, strong backbone and elegance. Can even be better. Fine quality. 89-90p.
La Dominique, La Gaffeliere, Clos de l'Oratoire and La Tour Figeac, left all very positive impression with well-defined fruit, adequate tannin and strong structure. 88-89p.
Balestard La Tonnelle Fonbel and Rolland Maillet were well-made, elegant and tasty wines. 88p.
Lafleur. You hear angels sing! 2005 will be worthy rival to the unforgettable 2000 vintage, with silky "look" and depth it has. It was incredibly multidimensional and amazingly beautiful wine. A true legend. 98-100p.
Pétrus. Well, not quite as gracious as Lafleur, but there was an enormous concentration of everything, unbelievable nuance richness and extreme depth. Silky aftertaste. Early harvest paid off! Oh-la-la wine. 98-100p.
Vieux Chateau Certan. Black red. Unusually seductive and silky wine all the way. It had fantastic sweetness of fruit and breed. Will undoubtedly be a historic milestone for this property. 97-98p.
Le Pin produced fabulous wine, but hardly as silky and seductive as Vieux Chateau Certan. 95-97p.
Trotanoy. "Poor man's" Pétrus! It was fabulous all the way with all ingredients running at full speed. Long lived. 95-96p.
Hosanna. This wine looked like more concentrated and more nuanced version of Certan Marzelle. Simply amazing wine. 94-95p.
Certan de May was black red, incredibly intense, full-bodied, refined with much sweetness and tannin. 93-94p.
La Fleur Petrus had beautiful and nicely scented nose of sun-ripe dark berries and silky tannins on the palate. It was refined and elegant wine. 93-94p.
La Croix St.Georges was fresh, fat and crammed with perfectly ripe berries and ripe tannin. High quality wine and memorable one. 93-94p.
Bon Pasteur. This was a strong wine, which had big quantities of dark berries, tannin, and big depth. 93p.
Certan Marzelle. It had beautifully scented nose of black cherries and blueberries, full-bodied, splendidly balanced, refined and with pretty much tannin. Excellent wine. 93p.
Cantelauze, Clos L'Eglise, La Conseillante and La Pointe were a quartet of really elegant wines, incredibly perfumed, gracious and with great finesse. Yummy! 92-93p.
Latour-á Pomerol came up with refined and well-proportioned wine containing tasty fruit and ripe tannin. It has a beautiful future to look forward to. 92p.
Pensées de Lafleur was a delicious second wine of Lafleur, perfumed, luscious and weighty. 91-92p. Rouget also had delicious sweetness, plus power and sappiness. 91-92p.
Bourgneuf Vayron looked like powerhouse wine with large quantities of fruit and sweetness, but also more than a handful of tannin. It needs time to become soft and round. 91p.
Beauregard had very nice aromas of mocha, cacao, violets plus dark berries, and tasted nicely of cherries/strawberries. 89-90p.
Lafleur Gazin and Vray Croix de Gay tasted almost the same as Beauregard. 89p.
Gazin didn't have Beauregard's pretty "face" and was rather dry in the aftertaste. 89p.
La Cabanne, La Croix, La Croix de Gay, Nenin, Petit Village, Le Prieure and Providence showed quiet and light style, tasty fruit and fine length, and got 88p.
La Grave had oak and tannin in big quantities. 88p.
OK wine: Clinet. 87p.
De Chambrun. Black red. Lots of spicy dark berries, strong, robust and with splendid backbone, many nuances and big length. Excellent wine. 92-93p.
Bertineau St.Vincent, made by Michel Rolland, was quite marked by tannin, but well balanced, and had finely scented nose of ripe raspberries and blackcurrants. Needs time to develop into rounder wine. 88-89p.
Defi de Fontenil originates from a parcel with old Merlot vines in Fontenil's vineyard. It was aromatic and sappy, strong and powerful wine with rock-solid backbone. Splendid balance and depth. Brilliant wine. 92p. Fontenil was slightly lighter and more marked by oak. 91-92p.
Dalem with thick aroma of black cherries plus powerful and meaty palate, and Moulin Pey Labrie with distinct nose of dark cherries and delicious structure, were both fine quality wines. 89-90p.
Croix Mouton and Le Conseiller from Jean-Philippe Janouiex (de Chambrun and La Confession) were splendid wines with aromatic dark berries, luscious and nicely structured. 90p.
20 Mille from same vinmager is his new adventure and is 100% Merlot from 5 years old vines planted close to Croix Mouton's vineyard. As the name explains, there are 20.000 vines per ha. Strong and robust with fine tannins, splendid balance and long aftertaste. 90p.
Reignac had delicious and tasty blueberries/cherries, and fine length. 89-90p.
Grand Village showed fine aroma of black cherries, nice structure and harmonious taste. Fine effort. 89p.
Côtes de Bourg
Roc de Cambes came up with probably the best vintage, I've ever tasted from this property. It was a wine, which had amazingly aromatic fruit, fat but silky tannins, beautifully balanced, and which was incredibly tasty. Pure delicacy. 92-93p.
UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE, ALL WINES LISTED BELOW WERE TASTED IN COPENHAGEN ON THE 31ST AUGUST 2006
2005 ANGELUS: It did impress with big body, fine aromas of perfectly ripe berries, rock-solid structure, splendid balance, big depth and length on the palate. This was an impressive wine. 94-95p.
2005 LES ARUMS DE LAGRANGE (white wine): Aromatic and round wine, crisp, tasty and pleasant. It will do well at garden parties and as an aperitif. 87p.
2005 BASTOR LAMONTAGNE: This wine was surprisingly strong and powerful with really intense botrytis, big body, superb sweetness and superb length. Yummy! 93-94p.
2005 BEAUREGARD: Had very nice aromas of mocha, cacao, violets plus dark berries, and tasted nicely of cherries/strawberries. 90p.
2005 BEYCHEVELLE: Without doubt the best wine ever made by this property in modern times. All in it was just marvellously composed in sophisticated and silky "wrapping". This looked like a formidable wine work and what a delicacy and a stunning wine we have here! 95p.
2005 BRANAIRE: Black red. It looked like perfectly cut diamond with fat fruit and fat tannins, fabulous structure, wonderful balance and marvellous length on the palate. Sheer enjoyment! 95p.
2005 CAMENSAC: Dark red, delightful sweetness of fruit, full-bodied, very well knitted together and with fine length. This wine improved considerably since April 2006. 89-90p.
2005 CANTEMERLE: This wine impressed me a lot during primeur week in Bordeaux and did it again in Copenhagen five months later. It had beautiful nose of luscious blueberries and blackberries, ripe and sweet tannins, and great finesse. Was simply a delicious, delicate and seductive wine. 92p.
2005 CANON-LA-GAFFELIERE: Was marked by oak and with much extract. It appeared as full-bodied, and tight wine with long taste. It needs time to soften. 91p.
2005 CARMES HAUT BRION: Deep red. It was incredibly aromatic, strong structure, splendid balance with luscious black cherries and long aftertaste. Formidable wine. 93p.
2005 LA CLÉMENCE: Black red. It was strong wine, powerful and long on the palate, with gobs of perfectly ripe Merlot. 92p.
2005 CHASSE SPLEEN: Sappy and well-structured wine with fine tannin grip and delightful sweetness of fruit. Has gained some more depth and concentration since April 2006. 92p.
2005 CLOS DE L'ORATOIRE: This wine left very positive impression with well-defined fruit, adequate tannin and strong structure. 88-89p.
2005 DESTIEUX: From the owner of La Clemence. This wine was, strong, very concentrated with lot of ripe black cherries, well supported by strong but ripe tannin, with remarkable length and structure. 91p.
2005 DURFORT VIVENS: Black red wine with catchy nose of violets and dark berries, plus splendidly elegant and racy on the palate. Splendid appearance. 91-92p.
2005 DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER red: Almost black red. This wine showed catchy and aromatic nose of black cherries, delightful sweetness on the palate, pure elegance and finesse, roundness and great length. Yummy! 93+p.
2005 DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER white: A fresher and more approachable wine than 2002. Otherwise, it had same stunning richness and depth as 2002, and will be a long time runner too. 96+p.
2005 FERRIERE: Strong and robust wine with oak taste very present. Plenty of dark berries and well integrated strong tannin. It needs time to soften up. 88-89p.
2005 LES FIEFS DE LAGRANGE: Delicious, elegant and very charming. It was very enjoyable and tasty wine. 87p.
2005 GISCOURS: Very stylish wine, strong, powerful with luscious fruit. It was splendidly balanced with long lasting aftertaste. This wine and sister property du Tertre show you firmly, why Margaux commune was so successful in 2005 vintage. 93p.
2005 GRAND PUY LACOSTE: Strong wine with luscious berries, classic Pauillac style with superb depth, structure and length. Really well put together! It was simply formidable wine. 93p.
2005 LA GURGUE: It reminded a lot of 2005 Ferriere. Good future. 88-89p.
2005 HAUT BAGES LIBERAL: It offered simply numbers of sun-ripe dark berries, sappiness and lovely structure, and was beautifully balanced wine with breed and lingering aftertaste. 91p.
2005 HAUT BAILLY: Dark red. Modern style wine with medium weight, ripe berries, tight and closed. Give it time for potential is there. 90+p.
2005 LABEGORCE: This wine had all reasons to be proud of its performance. Was incredibly perfumed and incredibly tasty. 92p.
2005 LABEGORCE ZEDE: Round, tasty and nicely made wine with some earthy tones on the palate. 86p.
2005 LAGRANGE: Stunningly beautiful wine, intense and aromatic with delicious sweetness, exemplary structure and silky tannin. It was just to be delighted at this wine's irresistible "sex-appeal"! 93-94p.
2005 LEOVILLE POYFERRE: It was the one of the best Saint-Juliens I have tasted in this vintage. One of the top wines in 2005. Impeccably made with all ingredients your wine heart wish. 95-96p.
2005 PETIT VILLAGE: Aromatic but light. This wine was round and elegant with nice structure and luscious fruit. 88-89p.
2005 PHELAN SEGUR: Obviously the cask sample I tasted in April 2006 was really bad, for in Copenhagen it did completely opposite. It was delicious, hugely aromatic, well structured with robust approach and oak flavour. Will certainly improve. 90-91p.
2005 PICHON BARON: Dark red. Very concentrated wine with fat fruit and ripe tannin in close dance. It had semi modern style with fruit sweetness, power and strong structure, so in all this wine showed fine quality. 91p.
2005 LE PIN: Dark red. Has improved a good deal since tasting in April 2006. Rich, seductive with great fruit sweetness and silky tannins. Fabulous balance and delightfully sophisticated touch to this remarkable wine. 97p. Tasted twice - last time in April 2007.
2005 POUJEAUX: Fine quality with ripe berries, sweetness, pretty much oak, sappy and full-bodied palate, plus lovely length on the palate. It's improved since April 2006. 91-92p.
2005 PONTET CANET: Black red. It had lot of new oak and black cherries as well. Was a very powerful wine with stunning balance, multilayered structure and very long aftertaste, which came agonisingly close to 1. Cru quality! Breathtaking! 95-96p. Tasted again in October 2007 at the property (has already been bottled) and it was even better with fabulous texture, fantastic balance and exceptional richness. 97p.
2005 SMITH HAUT LAFITTE red: Black red, very tightly knitted, strong structure, ripe and luscious black berries in big quantities, well balanced with great length. It's quite marked by oak now. 92+p.
2005 SUDUIRAUT: This wine was very closed in April 2006 during primeur tasting, but in Copenhagen 5 months later it opened up considerably with stunning botrytis on the nose, full-bodied on the palate and rich with splendid balance. It will surely get better in 10 years time. 95p.
2005 DU TERTRE: Once again an impressive wine from this property. It was a wine in classic Margaux style with pure and classy elegance, finesse and aromatic touch, sophisticated and immensely attractive. 93-94p.
ADDITIONAL WINES TASTED DURING MY VISIT TO BORDEAUX IN OCTOBER 2007
2005 LE GAY: Thick, splendid sweetness of dark cherries, stunning structure and length. Strong and succulent wine. Brilliant effort for the vintage. 94p.
2005 MONTVIEL: Fat, well-integrated fruit and tannin, very tasty and with nice aftertaste. Very fine for the vintage. 6-12 years cellaring. 90p.
2005 VALANDRAUD: Black red. Fabulous intensity on the nose of black cherries, blueberries and blackberries. Great intensity and concentration of sweet, pefectly ripe berries, and impressive fatness and length. This wine is real treat for wine-lovers and will give a pure enjoyment for a long, long time. Exceptional effort from Jean-Luc Thunevin. 97p.
ADDITIONAL WINES TASTED BLIND IN COPENHAGEN IN MAY 2008
(DURING THE BERLIN TASTING IN COPENHAGEN - BORDEAUX, ITALY AND CHILE)
2005 LAFITE: Dark red. This wine was immense. The first thing I noticed was a simply fantastic nose of perfectly ripe blackcurrants with incredibly aromatic fireworks. This wine showed an enormous power, length and aftertaste, and was silky everywhere. There was pure elegance and pure sophisticated touch too. There was no doubt whatsoever in my mind that it was Bordeaux wine. We were presented for a true and majestic 1.Growth par excellence! I guessed that it was Margaux 2005, not knowing that the organizers chose to confuse participants a bit by putting three 1.Growths from Pauillac in the tasting. It turned out to be Lafite 2005!! 100p.
2005 LATOUR: Dark red colour. Incredibly refined on the nose/palate, sophisticated all they way, tight, wonderfully balanced with silky black cherries/blackcurrants and silky tannins. It had more than 30 seconds long lingering meaty finish. My first sniff and sip of the wine in glass 6 left me with no doubt – it was one of the big boys from Bordeaux. I was however in no doubt that the wine in question was Latour 2005. 99p.
2005 MOUTON ROTHSCHILD: Black red coloured wine, dusty blackcurrants on the nose and palate, very sophisticated, fabulous length and wonderful balance. Elegant, not especially concentrated but incredibly well-knitted. My initial impression was Bordeaux because of this wine's elegance and complexity and my guess was Lafite 2005. It turned out to be Mouton 2005 and I was impressed, that it tasted better than out of barrel in April 2006. 98p.
ADDITIONAL WINES TASTED IN COPENHAGEN IN JULY 2008
2005 LYNCH MOUSSAS: I was fond of this wine from the barrel but when in bottle it tasted lighter and less intense. It think it was filtrated prior to bottling. Still, you have here a vivid wine with nice aromatic fruit, round and pleasant, and which drinks well already now. 89p
2005 BATALLEY: More intense in terms of aroma, more concentrated and with better structure that Lynch Moussas. Not bad at all. 90p.
2005 BRANE CANTENAC: I was not impressed with this wine in April 2006 and it didn't impress me either in July 2008. Ok fruit but quite diluted and simple. Obviously, there was a big yield there and not careful selection of grapes for Grand Vin. Missed opportunity to make nice wine, that's for sure. 86p.
2005 LASCOMBES: I was incredibly impressed by this wine from the barrel in April 2006 and it hasn't lost anything of the goodies when in bottle. Incredibly aromatic, intense and tempting wine, which grabs your attention with the exquisite combination of power and elegance. Delicious treat! 95p.
2005 TROTTEVIEILLE: There were violets, cherries, strong backbone and elegance. Very balanced and very tasty. 92p.
2005 FIGEAC: I liked this wine very much with its silkiness. Very refined wine with aromatic dark fruit, elegant and round. Areally fine glass of wine. 92p
2005 PICHON BARON: I wrote in April 2006 that it was made in modern style and I still think it's modern styled wine. I expected more of this wine in terms of depth and length. It seemed to have a bit too hollow midpalate and it went down in the aftertaste far too quickly. 91p.
2005 MONTROSE: From the very first moment this wine offers you a self service board of splendidly aromatic fruit (blueberries, blackcurrants and black cherries), powerful yet impeccably harmonious attitude, stunning depth, many layers to dig in and very long aftertaste. This is pure class and what's very important you can taste terroir here and not the modern gimmicks. 97p.
2005 COS D'ESTOURNEL: Not really my cup of tea. Tasted very extracted, lot of oak and was quite dry on the palate. Depth is there, power is there but I'm afraid terroir isn't there! Did I caught this wine in bad moment? 90-92p for now.
2005 COUTET: I really like Coutet because it never seems to be overdone. It was a beautiful wine with aroma of acacia flower, pineapple and peach, incredibly elegant and gracious touch, splendid sweetness and acidity, refined and delicate on the palate and smooth finish. Despite being on the light side, there was no limit for how much you did adore this heartbreaker wine! It is well-suited for 12-18 years additional cellaring.
2005 LAFAURIE PEYRAGUEY: This is one of the most reliable properties in the district, which mix power and elegance in beautiful way. It seemed to follow in 2001 vintage's tracks with excellently botrytised fruit flavours of apricots, peaches, oranges/orange peel, lusciousness, refinement, super elegance and exquisite balance. Gorgeous wine for keeping in the next 15-20 years. 93+p.
ADDITIONAL WINE TASTED IN COPENHAGEN IN SEPTEMBER 2010
2005 BON PASTEUR: This was a strong wine, which had big quantities of dark berries, tannin, and big depth. Chocolate powder, black cherries. 94p.
2005 CANTEMERLE: A bit closed at the moment but still impressed with beautiful nose of blueberries and blackberries, ripe and sweet tannins, and great finesse. Delicious wine. 92p.
2005 FONTENIL: It was aromatic and sappy, strong and powerful wine with rock-solid backbone. Splendid balance and depth. Brilliant wine. 92p.
2005 LAFON ROCHET: Hugely aromatic wine with dark chocolate and cocoa on the nose, splendidly constructed, well-structured and with great balance. 93p.
2005 TALBOT: Maybe not as impressive as tasted in April 2006 during primeur week but still this property can be proud of its effort in 2005. Lot of stuffing, lot of berries, strong and powerful. Will improve over the next 10 years. 93p.