On Monday 15th June the WING group met to taste 2005 Red Bordeaux, guided by Kim and Laurie.

This is one of the most highly praised – and highly priced – of all Bordeaux vintages. Incredibly perfect weather conditions produced wines famous for structure, style, local typicity with a long prospect of pleasure. Ten years on seems a good time to reappraise the wines.

The weather perfection consisted in: high daytime temperatures throughout the season (but not as scorching as 2003); relatively cool nighttime temperatures, preserving acidity and freshness; low rainfall – about 60% of average – producing clean small-berried fruit; small amounts of amazingly timed rain staving off drought, but helping the fruit-set, the Véraison, and both right- and left-bank final ripening; and finally, long lived autumn fair weather over the harvest itself.

Here are my notes (prices are for 2005 wines available now):

Château Moulinet-Lasserre (Pomerol)   –   Wine Society  £27.59
M 70%,  CF 20%,  Malbec 10%    –  18 months in oak, 25% new
Dark colour, with  a herby and plummy Merlot nose – becoming more Cherry with time. Palate too starts plum and plum skins but gets more cherry, spice and chocolate with time. Quite pliant with some moreish structure. Enjoyable.

Château Cantmerle (5eme Cru Classé – Haut Medoc)   –   BBR  £33
CS 61%,  M 31%,  CF 2%,  PV 6%  –  12 months in oak, 50% new
Quieter nose with black fruit, cedar and a liverish note. A drying, slightly young, palate lifted and made refreshing by a good acid structure. Later the nose develops a more mushroom hints and there suggestion of something floral, at the same time black fruit re-appears on the palate with a herby twist and a drying plum-stone finish. Clearly better after a while and still seeming young. Probably needs 3 years and – judging by its “day after” performance – will then be excellent.

Bouquet de Monbrison (2nd Wine of Ch Monbrison Margaux CBS)   –   Laithwaites £23.50
CS 40%,  M 37%,  CF 23%,     –       12 months in oak, 50% new
Quiet nose with some herbal hints developing. Rather a pretty palate with the soft Merlot side to the fore. Reasonable poised but rather light and increasingly simple seeming…

Château d’Angludet (CBE Margaux)   –   F&R £34
CS 60%,  M 20%,  CF 6%,  PV 4%    –  12 months in oak, 25% new
Plum fruit with a creamy element with increasing aromatic profile, later still turning rather pungent . Palate is Cabernet tilted: black fruit, herbal notes and a grainy tannic warmth. Later the fruit seems more compote sharp, and increasingly muddy. A bit disappointing and not improving.

Château Le Crock (CB Saint-Estèphe)   –   Wine Society £23
CS 60%,  M 25%,  CF 10%,  PV 5%    –    18 months in oak, 33% new
Impressive nose woth pungency and florality – like fading lilies with a hint of cardamom. Big palate with blackcurrant lifted by dazzling acidity. Later very Cabernet: black fruit, cedar and tannin; big and enjoyable and very good value!

Château Batailley (5eme Cru Classé – Puillac)    –    BBR  £44
CS 70%,  M 25%,  CF 3%,  PV 2%    –    16 months in oak, 55% new
Ripe fruit and other aromas in a complex nose and, although some youthful hints a pleasurable and integrated wine. The palate has a long line of fruity acidity and firm tannins support rather than dominate. A good wine which it’s easier to enjoy that write critical comment. Good now but some suggestion of more complexity to come.

The tasting, for me, led to some general observations. The Classed Growths seemed to have more to come, although very good now. The Margaux were disappointing, one too light and one too heavy and neither showing the delicacy one might hope for from this commune. The Pomerol seemed to improve as did the classed growths. But the most immediately impressive and best value was the Saint-Estèphe, in accord with many comments on wines from there. There’s little hurry with these wines though… plenty of time to enjoy them.

Until next time…