Last month we were fortunate in having a second tasting of mature Bordeaux wines from the 2005 vintage. This vintage is regarded as the best so far this century – with prices to match.
The growing season in 2005 was exceptionally long, hot and dry, yet with just enough necessary moisture. There was no drought. Indeed there was a welcome rainfall on the Right Bank in mid-August, and in September. Harvesting took place during August and September under ideal conditions of warm sunny days and cool nights. Grapes were small and thick skinned.
The resulting wine is well structured, concentrated and naturally rich, with high but ripe tannins, fruit and fresh acidity.
Many wines were closed for a long time, taking years to be ready to drink, especially from the Left Bank. Indeed some of the best wines are only just now approachable. The better wines will be drinking well into the middle of the century.
Jancis Robinson has described the vintage as “consistently exciting”.
These are the wines we happily tasted.
Pavillon Rouge, the second wine of Château Margaux.Nearly equal Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and a tiny amount of Petit Verdot, from mainly young vines.
Château Rouget Pomerol: 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc. 50% new oak for 15-18 months.
Château Chasse Spleen Moulis-en-Médoc Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel: 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot. 40% new oak for 12-15 months.
Château Gruaud Larose St-Julien 2ème Cru Classé: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot. Some new oak for 18 months.
Château Duhart-Milon-Rothschild Pauillac 4ème Cru Classé: 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot. 50% new oak for 14-16 months. The average age of the vines is 30 years.
Château Cos d’Estournel Saint-Estèphe 2ème Cru Classé: 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc. 50% new oak for 14-16 months.
Château Ducru Beaucaillou St-Julien 2ème Cru Classé: 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot. 75% new oak for 18 months to two years.
Château Margaux Margaux Premier Cru Classé: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot. 100% new oak for two years.
Château Latour Pauillac Premier Cru Classé: this vintage is probably about 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance mainly Merlot, with a small percentage of Petit Verdot. 100% new oak for about two years.
Château Lafite-Rothschild Pauillac Premier Cru Classé: Nearly 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, just under 11% Merlot, and a fraction of Petit Verdot. 18 to 20 months in 100% new barrels.