Archives for posts with tag: 2005 Claret

On Monday 7th August Rob treated the WING Tutored Tasting Group to some samples of 2005 Red Bordeaux. We broached some wines from this celebrated vintage just over two years ago (see post of June 19th 2015 for report and an outline of the vintage), but felt then the wines weren’t ready. So an opportunity to review the vintage again, in the form of wines scoring 87-89 points, seemed timely…

Here are my notes:

CHÂTEAU LA GARDE (Pessac-Leognan)     [Merlot 62%, Cab Sauv 31%, Cab Franc 5%, Petit Verdot 2%]
Pungent, aromatic herbs on the nose red fruit and grainy later. Palate is full with strong tannins, an acidic line and red fruit rather recessed… Several unintegrated components – showing the wine to be young still (?!)…

A more developed nose of damsons, red currant and a toasted wood hint… Well evolved but with a fresh fruit acid line and some depth. Tannins are fine, giving a pleasurable “open” structured wine – a little simple by the highest standards

CHÂTEAU FONRÉAUD (Listrac-Medoc) [M43 CS53 PV4]
Pungent nose with a vegetal base. Palate has a firm structure, with “hot” tannins and a strong but simple black fruit acidity, all giving length length and warmth. Still young by this tasting needing 3(?) more years integration ….

This seemed the most evolved wine, surprising as it has the highest level of Cabernet Sauvignon. Nose of forest floor, herb and lighter floral perfumes more evident than the heavier stewed blackberry fruit. Palate has that fruit again but wrapped with a dark berry fruit acid, supple tanins and a consistent long grip… Rather good and making me want to eat – I think my favourite!

The nose is slightly dusty with notes of plum fruit, some woody tones and a herby hint. Smooth on the palate, soft berry fruit with spicy hints – there is  a leafy note and warm tannin, a little grainy leading to the typical “chocolate” impression. Rather good but not quite soaring.

CHÂTEAU DE CARLES (Fronsac) [M90 CF5 Mal5]
The nose is dark fruit, with a vegetal line. Smooth on the palate, with sweet blackberry fruit supported by good acidity and herby hints again. The tannins seem a little simple and not quite mature. Quite good balance but not quite integrated or expressive… yet?

Another interesting tasting with most (but not all) wines showing signs of maturity and pleasure, but at least two needing a few more years. The star, IMO showing the potential evolution of the vintage, being the Pauillac. A few of those in the cellar would be a good thing…

Thank you for showing the wine, and for your generosity, Rob.

Until soon…


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…

“The more you look, the more you discover” – so says the latest, and most expensive ever, Bordeaux wine promotion. A tautology for many things in life, and certainly all wine, you might think. For Bordeaux (always a marginal area and with so many variables: in soil; grapes; winemaking; weather and – most of all – time) is seems especially apt!
So –  6 members of the WING group went to Hart’s in Nottingham for a sampling of 8 Bordeaux wines followed by supper on November 20th.

The supper – it almost goes without saying – was excellent – a stunning and imaginative Root Vegetable terrine with Truffle Mayonnaise, paired with a very Sauvignon-weighted 2012 Tour des Gendres, Cuvée du Conti, Bergerac Blanc. Then Roast Pheasant with Bubble and Squeak, Game Chips and bread sauce washed down with a supple 2008 Chateau Coucheroy, Pessac Leognan and finally Prune and Armagnac Ice Cream &  Langue du Chat Biscuits. It was all fabulous, but the serious work was previous to that, when we tried 8 x 2005 Left Bank Clarets.

This was perhaps my 7th or 8th time at such event – and although they are always interesting and enjoyable, this was perhaps the most anticipated so far. I, like many, had bought some 2005 clarets on the grounds of the early vintage reports, and so far had found them under-developed. Now at 9 years old, here was a glorious opportunity to see how some of the wines were doing.

Here are my observations:

1 2005 Cantemerle, Haut Medoc
This was a classic claret colour. An immediate fruit nose – damsons – quickly subsides to give a vaguely medicinal note, that turns with time into fenugreek!? Palate is firmly structured with a spirit fruit line and lightish tannins overbalanced by solid acidity. Definitely too young, an impression still apparent some time later with food.

2 2005 Latour Carnet, Haut Medoc
Slightly darker colour. More persistent darker fruit nose, a sweet hint then sweet oak and some spice. Softer warm blackcurrant fruit, then some spice, earthy tannins just about balanced – high acidity cries out for food – just coming into balance… With food, and some time, the wine seems better – for food this may only need a year or two.

3 2005 Gloria St Julien
Similar colour to (1). Quiet nose, then some grainy, almost coffee notes. Palate is tough with warm but earthy tannins swamping the otherwise pleasant plum fruit. A grainy – almost bitter note on the finish. Seems very young, and even with food the toughness sticks out. Needs some time – but will the fruit last? My least favourite of the night.

4 2005 Sarget de Gruaud Larose, St Julien
This is the second wine of the prestigious and long-lived Chateau Gruaud Larose. A personal favourite of mine since some friends gave me a (fabulous) bottle of the 1986 when it was 23 years old! This wine needs no such longevity and is supple and approachable now. The lightest colour yet, the nose has nutty and vegetal tones – then plums and herbs. The tannins are more supple and already in balance with the fruit. The sweetness and forwardness of the fruit makes this very drinkable now. In fact, with the main course the wine is a little too light, if anything, to cope with the many sweet elements in the food.


5 2005 Pédesclaux, Pauillac
This is rather dark, and has cedar wood, medicinal – almost Germolene – heavy nose, with herbs and olives appearing too. Palate has a supple sharp fruit character but with firm but fine tannins a little unintegrated. Very promising and not to far off – again the food helped and it offset the sweet trimmings well.

6 2005 Baron de Brane, Margaux
Another second wine, and again a more forward resolution of flavours. Darker than the other second wine (4), but lighter than (5). Sweetish nose with floral hints, quite a balanced palate with fruit showing – raspberry and soft plum – with a lively acid line and a mere hint of spice towards the finish. Relatively simple, but enjoyable now and with enough body to cope with the food. The best of all right now!

7 2005 Vincent, Margaux
Similar colour, quiet nose with suggestions, no more, of plum skin and spirit. Quiet but elegant palate with sour plums and fine tannins, nearing balance and very promising but a little sharp and un-integrated now. More resolved a half hour later with the food.

8 2005 Phélan Ségur, St Estèphe
Similar colour, with a nutty, pungent, draino first nose – with a lily and meaty element underneath. Palate is shot through with strong, tannic line right through to the finish. The tannins are showing signs of softening and even now worked better with the food. A very promising wine, I think, but needing 5 years?!

A fabulously interesting tasting. With the second wines being much more forward, as you might expect – they are almost surely made that way. I found myself writing a lot about the quality and evolution of the tannins – a sure sign the wines are young. However the grand vins are all showing signs of coming onto song with varying intervals left to go, and only the Gloria looking unpromising. If I had to choose which wines I’d drink now or keep for 5 years the answers would have to be Baron de Brane and Phélan Ségur, respectively.

Thanks to Tim Hart and team for a memorable evening.

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