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PalQ Apr 26th, 2006 09:51 AM

Bordeaux Nouveau - Extraordinaire!
 
It's near unanimous - the reviews of the 2005 Bordeaux wine production and many sample tastings by esteemed nezes (sp?) (noses) say it's an exceptionally great vintage. Reasons given are the tremendous 2005 growing season, which was long and dry with days hot but not too hot and nights cool, which let the grapes ripen with well balanced acid, sugar and tannin. What makes the 2005 crop of Bordeaux is that they are extraordinary across the board from small vintners to prestigious wine chateaux - all 2005 Bordeaus seem spectacular in the words of nearly all experts.
One wine wag says that there are many so-called vintages of the century but this is the real deal -"it's the single greatest vintage I've ever tasted out of the barrels. (No flavorings with oak wood chips yet.)
For a long article on this go to the NYTimes 4/26/06 Food section

StCirq Apr 26th, 2006 10:32 AM

And here's a detailed report from a friend who owns a local wine store:

Many of you already know that I went to Bordeaux in early April to the Union of Grand Cru Tasting to make my own assessment of the 2005 vintage. After tasting 331 wines of the 2005 vintage in five days, I have formed a few observations that I'm ready to share with you. In the weeks to come many Châteaux will announce pricing. With critics worldwide breathless about this vintage, many prices will be crazy. There will also be some great wines at reasonable prices. After a general assessment, I'll give my opinions on where to look for these values.

First of all, 2005 is truly a great vintage. There are many fabulous wines in 2005 that shouldn't be missed. However, it was clear that the vintage was not altogether uniform in quality, not necessarily due to climatic conditions. Many wine writers have and will continue to trumpet the growing conditions that were responsible for the opportunity to create wines with the "highest alcohols, acidities and dry extracts on record." I agree that 2005 is a very special year that was filled with marvelous potential. However too many growers, even when blessed with such wonderful raw material, still "overworked" the wines in their cellars. I saw far too many wines that were overly micro-oxidized and over-oaked, robbing them of their uniqueness and obliterating their "terroir." What a pity these growers didn't have enough confidence in themselves or the fruit they grew to let nature run its course in such a wonderful vintage. After all, why drink a Bordeaux if doesn't speak of the ground it was grown in. Lord knows there are cheaper alternatives for cabernet, merlot and cabernet franc out there.

The following notes are my observations based on tasting wines presented by the châteaux as "representative" of what their final blend will be. They were not finished and will not be bottled for many months. Please take note that 2005 is a vintage for the cellar. These wines are both opulent and structured at the same time.

There are many fine wines to chose from in all appellations, top to bottom. For me the wines of the left bank particularly excelled as well as the wines of Pomerol. I was pleasantly surprised by the wines from Graves, both red and white, which were especially tasty and should be more reasonably priced (compared to other appellations). I would pay particular attention to "second wines" of many châteaux; in a great vintage like this the difference in quality of the "seconds" is small compared to the top wines, but the difference in price will be great. The worldwide market for the top wines of this vintage will be overheated and many wines will be very expensive. For those of you with a sweet tooth, the top wines from Sauternes in 2005 were fabulous.

I'll start with the first growths...For me, clearly, Latour and Margaux were near perfect, followed by Lafite and Haut Brion. Mouton finished a distant fifth. Heading from north to south, St. Estèphe had a very strong showing with Montrose, Calon Ségur, and Les Ormes de Pez at the top. The "value" wine from this appellation could very well be Cos-Labory. I was shocked how good it was. On the other hand, I was surprised that Cos d'Estournel didn't show particularly brilliantly the morning I tasted it.

In Pauillac, Pichon Lalande, Pontet Canet, Haut-Batailley, Les Forts de Latour, Réserve de la Comtesse, Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Lynch Bages and Croizet-Bages are ones to watch.

In Saint-Julien, Léoville-las Cases, Léoville Barton, Clos du Marquis, Gruaud Larose, Ducru-Beaucaillou, La Croix Beaucaillou, Beychevelle and Talbot stood out.

The high points in Margaux were Palmer, Pavillon Rouge (second wine of Château Margaux), Brane-Cantenac, Cantenac-Brown, Giscours, Kirwan, Monbrisson, Dauzac, and Du Tertre. I would proceed carefully in this appellation; there were many excellent wines but also many wines that were very "worked". Select carefully.

In the rest of the Médoc (a place to keep your eye on for value) starting with Moulis-en-Médoc, Chasse Spleen was very impressive followed by Maucaillou and Pouyeaux. In the Listrac-Medoc, Fonréaud, Fourcas-Hosten and Forcas-Dupré are all of interest. Lastly, in the Haut Médoc, Citran, Beaumont, Camensac, La Lagune, Malecasse, Greysac, Lamarque and Latour-Carnet are all note worthy.

The areas that I believe will be central places to look to find delicious reds and also whites (across the board) at reasonable prices are Graves and Pessac Léognan. Starting with Graves, both Cantegrive and Rahoul made very pretty wines. In Pessac Léognan my favorites were La Misson-Haut- Brion, Pape Clement, Bahans Haut Brion, Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Bouscaut, Fieuzal, La Chapelle de la Mission-Haut-Brion, Carbonnieux, Latour-Martillac and Haut-Bergey.

On to the right bank... In Pomerol the 2005 vintage was very strong overall. Vieux Château Certan was killer, with L'Evangile and La Conseillante close behind. Just behind them Nenin, Clinet, La Pointe, Petit Village, Le Gay, La Croix de Gay and Grand Beauséjour all showed extremely well. Finally there is a long list of very special wines that, if well priced, will be worth serious consideration. These wines include, Beauregard, Haut Clauquet, Moulinet, Plince, Pomeaux, Prieurs de la Commanderie, Saint Pierre, De Sales, Le Bon Pasteur and Vieux Château Ferron.

In Saint Emilion, Cheval Blanc and Faugères were outstanding, while Ausone didn't move me. Angelus, La Tour Figeac, Belair, Beauséjour, Beauséjour Bécot, Troplong Mondot, Clos Fourtet, L'Arrosée, Grand Mayne, Pavie Macquin, Dassault and Fonplégarde were among my favorites. Proceed carefully in this appellation as many of the wines from the smaller châteaux were very "worked" and dull.

The 2005 Sauternes are not to be missed. I love these wines and this is among the best vintages I've tasted. Y'quem, as would be expected, was sublime. Rieussec, Raymond Lafond, Defarges and Suduiraut are right behind and just behind them are Doisy-Daëne, Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Guiraud and Latour Blanche.

Thank you very much for reading. Stay tuned for more information.



PalQ Apr 26th, 2006 11:10 AM

Very interesting even though i'm not a wine aficinado. the NYT article did say that though 2005 prices will be sky high as high as the consumer will take, even for the above mentioned lesser well produced product which will be lumped also in the great 2005 vintage, that older Bordeaux wines may plunge a bit in price as a result, resulting in true Bordeau wine bargains. The year 2000 the article says was the last vintage good enough to write home about.

PalQ Apr 27th, 2006 07:18 AM

In any case the article says that the 2005 Bordeaus will not hit store shelves until at least 2007 and perhaps not until 2008!

bobludlow Apr 27th, 2006 07:29 AM

It isn't all cut and dried. 2004 bordeaux prices may very well plunge - the pre-sell campaign was unsuccessful and retailers will be forced by the negociants to accept quantities of '04 if they want the much more desirable '05s - leading to markdowns as they move the '04s.

But the extremely high prices of '05 bordeaux will make previous great vintages ('03 and '00 being the most recent) look comparatively cheap...and may lead to those wines selling faster and eventually going for higher prices. Quality bordeaux usually takes 10+ years to achieve its potential so the older vintages should be worth more - they are drinkable today.

ekscrunchy Apr 27th, 2006 07:51 AM

St. Cirq, A thank you for posting this from your friend. Is this a woman in Northern California? Does she have a web site where we can read regular postings like this? Very interesting and exciting!!

PalQ Apr 27th, 2006 07:54 AM

Eric Asimov, who writes on wine for the NYTimes has a blog that covers such topics: nytimes.com/thepour.

letour Apr 28th, 2006 10:03 AM

Excellent information! Had missed it.
Thanks!

Are any of you purer French wine drinkers? I tend to really prefer French wines over most any other, although I've enjoyed some Italian reds and am okay with some Spanish reds. It's probably that I've just trained my palate, but the French Bordeaux, and particularly the wines of Pauillac, are my favorites...

A votre sante!

StCirq Apr 28th, 2006 10:27 AM

ekscrunchy:

No, it's a man in Arlington, VA. You can sign up for the newsletter on the website:

http://www.arrowine.com/

ekscrunchy Apr 28th, 2006 12:01 PM

Thanks very much! If you want to read more, I think that there is an extensive report on www.chowhound.com (I am almost sure that is where I read it) written in the past few weeks by another person who was tasting in Bordeaux recently. You could do a search there...

I will check out the web site.....very exciting news!

mjs Apr 29th, 2006 08:26 AM

I am not sure I will be buying much 2005 bordeaux after buying 98 right banks, 2000 and 2003 reds, 2001 and 2003 sauternes. Futures for 2005 are just starting to come out and some of these prices
are rather high. Rieussec is one example of this.
The 2005 vintage is also considered to be quite tannic and will require considerable cellaring.
Many of these wines may require decades of time to mature and I am not sure I want to drink them with a bib and straw. May not be the best vintage for those of us over 40 to purchase.


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