2005 Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux Tasting

Drake Hotel, Chicago, Illinois
Tasted Tuesday, January 22, 2008 by Vino Me with 1,987 views

Introduction

I attended a free trade tasting of the 2005 Bordeaux vintage on Monday, January 21st. I walked through and tasted the wines with fellow Chicago Wine Mafia member Anwar. The crowds were not nearly as large as I had expected them to be. I did not have to wait for any of the pours. They separated those attending into 2 groups and we were in the first group. This worked to our benefit since some wines like the Troplong Mondot ran out shortly after the second group arrived. Before I post my tasting notes, here are some general impressions and thoughts about the vintage. My opinons are based not only on this tasting but also on previous tastings of another 25 or so lower end red Bordeaux (about 100 wines in all).

The quality of 2005 is excellent. In appellations like St. Emilion, Pomerol and Margaux, the hype surrounding the vintage is warranted and these wines on average outperformed their counterparts from the recent outstanding vintages of 1998, 2000 and 2003. Of cousre there are exceptions to this rule. The quality of 2005 is best demonstrated by the middle and lower tier wineries at the UGC tasting. The upper tier wines performed equally well in 2000 and 2005. In the Left Bank appellations of St. Julien, Pauillac and St. Estephe, it is apparent to me that although the overall quality is fine, the wines are below the quality of 2000 and in many cases even behind 2003. In Sauternes, 2005 was clearly not as good as 2001 which remains the greatest vintage in the last 15 years in the region (and perhaps longer). In my opinion, 2005 Sauternes is on par with 2003. Both outstanding vintages.

The red wines are characterized by extremely dry textures, huge tannins which are most pronounced in Left Bank wines and for the most part are simply not that enjoyable to drink now. As would be expected. The most open and forward of the wines seem to come from St. Emilion and also Pomerol to a slightly lesser degree. All of the wines possessed dark opaque colors which resulted in a roomful of some of the most purple teeth I have seen.

I concentrated my tasting on St. Emilion, Pomerol and Margaux based on the experts opinions and was not disappointed. All of these wines are obviously young and in need of aging so for the most part I did not bother to reiterate that point in my notes. Here are my notes grouped by appellation:

Flight 1 - Pessac-Léognan (6 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Haut-Bailly 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc. This had a tart edge with cigar box/tobacco notes. Firm tannins and a dry texture. 89 points

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  • 2005 Château Haut-Bergey 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot. An impressive wine. I wish I had tried the 2000 vintage to compare it to this wine. Moderately tannic at this stage. Notes of black cherry and cassis. Not as dry as many of the other wines at the UGC. Round texture. 90-91 points.

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  • 2005 Château La Louvière 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petite Verdot. Far superior to the 2003 vintage at this stage with the potential to surpass the 1990 as well with time. Notes of crushed grap skins, plum and currant. Medium bodied with a round finish. Moderate tannins and approachable at this time. 90+ points.

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  • 2005 Château Malartic-Lagravière 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petite Verdot. This is the finest Malartic-Lagraviere made in the last 9 years and perhaps longer (I have not tried the 1995 or 1996). Medium bodied with a viscous texture. Soft fruit structure with ripe plum and red currant. 90-91 points.

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  • 2005 Château Pape Clément 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was better than the 1999 vintage which is the only other Pape Clement I have had. It gave the Smith haut Lafite a run for its money in the race for the best 2005 Pessac-Léognan. Wonderful fruit structure for a wine so young. Supple tannins. Round red fruit notes with cassis and boysenberry. 92-94 points.

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  • 2005 Château Smith Haut Lafitte 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petite Verdot. The class of Pessac-Léognan year in and year out. This wine outshined the 2000(VM92), 2001(VM90) and 2003(VM93) vintages and is another example of how fine 2005 can be. Medium to full bodied with a solid but approachable tannic structure now. This has not closed down yet. Smokey red and black fruit with tobacco leaf notes. 94 points.

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Flight 2 - St. Émilion (15 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Angélus 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc. This is an outstanding wine but I was not as impressed as others were. I felt the 2000 Angelus is a better wine. This had fine tannins and was actually on the elegant side. Notes of leather and cassis. Lipsmackingly dry with a huge finish. 94+ points.

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  • 2005 Château Beau-Séjour Bécot 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    70% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. This was the best Beau-Sejour Becot I have ever had. Slightly edging out the 2003 and a good 2-3 points better than either the 1998 or 2000. Dark opaque color. Rather upfront style which allowed a good amount of fruit to show. Intense and slightly acidic but outstanding nonetheless. 92-93 points.

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  • 2005 Château Canon 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. This wine is the equal of the 2000 Canon. Purple red color. Notes of black currant, leather, tar and cedar. A medium to full bodied wine with firm tannins. 91-92 points.

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  • 2005 Château Canon-la-Gaffelière 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Unfortunately, I have never tried the 2000 vintage but this wine is bettet than either the 1995 or 2003 vintages and is the best wine from this estate that I have ever tried. It pack a puch upfront that gets your attention. Full bodied with firm tannins. Plenty of red and black fruit, wet earth and toasted oak notes. 94 points.

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  • 2005 Château Figeac 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    35% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Merlot. A rather low % of Merlot for a right bank wine. More evidence of how good 2005 is. This wine simply blows away the 2003 version by 8 points in my opinion. Notes of plum and crushed grape skins. Medium to full bodied with a fine texture. Moderate tannins in comparison to other 2005's. Long finish. 92 points.

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  • 2005 Clos Fourtet 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. First time I have had a wine from this estate. Medium bodied. Rather open for such a young wine. Notes of cassis, cherry and oak. A big finish with some alcohol present. Without the alcohol this wine would have scored higher. 90-91+ points.

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  • 2005 Château Franc-Mayne 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    I did not ask the blend on this wine. I liked this slightly better than the 200 vintage but they were fairly close. Medium to full bodied. Moderately tannic with notes of cocoa, grape skins and plum. 90 points.

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  • 2005 Château Grand Mayne 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is the equal of both the 2000 and 2003 vintages. Unlike most St. Emilion wines at this tasting, this wine had a sweet edge to it. Medium bodied and open now. Notes of blackberry and red fruit. 90-91 points.

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  • 2005 Château La Couspaude 86 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. One of the few wines from St. Emilion that actually underperformed in comparison to the 2000 and 2003 vintages. This wine was very tight. Aromas of tobacco and briar on the nose. Overly acidic and super bitter. Seemed more out of balance than you would expect. Notes of leather, licorice and black cherry. Very dry finish. 86 points.

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  • 2005 Château La Dominique 85 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    I did not write down the cepage here. This was another wine which underperformed in 2005. Too much alcohol on the nose. Probably the most closed down of the wines from this appellation. Super dry structure and showing very little fruit. Some mocha notes. Bitter finish. Hopefully this will come along. 85+ points.

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  • 2005 Château La Gaffelière 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The finest La Gaffeliere I have ever tried. Superior to the 1998 or 2000. Although it showed younger and tighter than many other St. Emilion's, it also possessed great character and complexity. Notes of cigar box and pencil lead. Medium to long dry finish. 91-92+ points.

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  • 2005 Château La Tour Figeac 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. The only other wine I have tried from this estate was the 2001 which I rated about the same as this wine. Considering that 2001 was only an average to good year, I would have expected more in 2005. Nonetheless this is a fine wine. Firm tannins. Angular and sharp structure at the present time. Medium to full bodied with notes of coffee, tar and berries. 91-92 points.

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  • 2005 Château Larcis Ducasse 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    78% Merlot and 22% Cabernet Franc. This has gotten some very good reviews and they are well earned. This had a sloid core of fruit including blueberry and cherry. An earthy style with firm tannins. Well built and full bodied. This will be a long term ager. Not sure it is worth the $140+ price tag though. 94+ points.

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  • 2005 Château Pavie Macquin 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    80% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. My favortie St. Emilion of the tasting. The only other Pavie Macquin that I've had was the 1990 and the 2005 wil be far superior (given time of course). An intense wine with great complexity and potential. Rather upfront at present. Notes of tar, crushed grape skins and plum. Full bodied. 95-96 points.

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  • 2005 Château Troplong Mondot 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. This competed for top St. Emilion with the Pavie Macquin but fell just short in my opinion. I liked this a couple points better than the 2003 vintage. Sweet tannins. This had an impressive soft texture for such a young wine. Notes of creamy red fruit and rich plum. Silky finish. 94-95 points.

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Flight 3 - Pomerol (7 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Beauregard 85 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. Overly bitter. Tart red fruit and on the simple side. One of the least impressive bordeaux at this tasting. 85-86 points.

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  • 2005 Château Clinet 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Far better than the 2001 vintage which is to be expected. Very approachable. A nose of pencil shavings. Notes of saddle leather, berry and lightly toasted oak. Supple tannins. 92+ points.

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  • 2005 Château Gazin Pomerol 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. I liked this better than many others who tried this. A rustic wine filled with cigar box, tar and smokey red fruit. Bigger tannins than just about any other Pomerol at this event which hid much of the fruit. Medium to full bodied. The tannins will need lots of time. This was better than the 2003. 92 points.

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  • 2005 Château La Cabanne 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    Like many of the wines being poured, this was a step up from the 2003 vintage. Fruitier than most Pomerols here. Medium bodied. Lower tannic structure. The fruit had a semi sweet character with notes of plum and berry. 89-90 points.

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  • 2005 Château La Conseillante 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. This was one right bank wine which did not surpass what they did in 2003 in my opinion (perhaps because the 2003 was so good). Blackish purple color. Dry texture with notes of underbrush, herbs, tea and red fruit. Medium bodied. 92-93 points.

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  • 2005 Château La Pointe 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. I tried this late in the tasting but still enjoyed it. Smokey red fruit notes with leather and cassis. Light to medium bodied in comparison but well made. 89-91 points.

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  • 2005 Château Petit Village 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. A very open wine with a soft texture. Fine tannins which did not overpower at this event. Notes of cherry, elderberry and tar. Better than the 2003 by a couple points. 91 points.

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Flight 4 - Moulis en Médoc (1 Note)

  • 2005 Château Chasse-Spleen 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Moulis en Médoc

    I did not get the cepage on this wine. First time I have had a wine from this estate. Medium bodied. Notes of plum, berries and juniper. Moderate tannins. 88-90 points.

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Flight 5 - Haut-Médoc (1 Note)

  • 2005 Château Cantemerle 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc

    60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. A very good wine. Far better than the 2003 which was disappointing but not as good as the 2000. Open now. A grapey character with ripe fruit. Lower tannins and medium bodied. 89-91 points.

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Flight 6 - Margaux (13 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Brane-Cantenac 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc. Right up there with both the 2000 and 2003 vintages. Aromas of underbrush and sage. Sweet red fruit with ripe plum and red currant mostly. medium bodied. 91-92 points.

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  • 2005 Château Cantenac Brown 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot. One of the estates from Margaux that surpassed their efforts in 2000 and 2003. Loaded with fruit which was impressive for its age. Sweet and silky with candied cherries and red licorice. 92 points.

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  • 2005 Château d'Angludet 87 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 6% Petite Verdot. Lacking in fruit due to the powerful tannins. What showed itself was some brambly red fruit and cassis. 86-88 points.

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  • 2005 Château Dauzac 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    62% Cabernet Sauvignon and 38% Merlot. I enjoy the wines from this estate which are made in an old world style. This was on par with the 1998 and 2003 (I did not try the 2000). Like many of the Margaux wines this has sweet red fruit at present. Rond texture and medium bodied. Notes of boysenberry and plum. Lush finish. 90-92 points.

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  • 2005 Château Desmirail 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot. Firm tannins. Notes of tar, black currant and creme de cassis. Some tartness on the finish. 89 points.

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  • 2005 Château du Tertre 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. Solid purple color. Tobacco leaf aromas on the nose. A good amount of fruit. Notes of gravel and red berries. Medium bodied. Moderate tannins. A well balanced wine considering its age. One of the best modern du Tertre's with only the 2000 being its equal. 92 points.

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  • 2005 Château Durfort-Vivens 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    Expressive fruit in this wine. Round character and excellent mouthfeel. Notes of berry and charcoal. Solid tannins. Somewhat dry on the finish. 89-90 points.

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  • 2005 Château Ferrière 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot. This wine was just a step behind the 2000. Ripe round fruit with a solid earthy core. Notes of cherry and tea. Firm tannins. 90-92 points.

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  • 2005 Château Giscours 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petite Verdot. Medium bodied. I expected more. A very good wine though with notes of crushed grape skins, toasted oak and chocolate. Better than 2003 but not 2000. 90-91 points.

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  • 2005 Château Kirwan 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Petite Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc. The best Kirwan I have tried although I have only had the 2003 and the 1983 twice. I tasted this twice from different bottles. The first bottle was rather closed and only showing some spice and graphite notes. The 2nd bottle was better and more open. In addition to the spice and graphite, it had much more red fruit. Firm tannins. Dry texture and a supple finish. 91-93 points.

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  • 2005 Château Lascombes 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 3% Petite Verdot. This wine blew away the 2003 that I had on release. Wow! Very impressive. A complex wine which was showing very well. Notes of smoke, tar, leather, red berries and currants. Ripe tannins in the medium to full bodied wine. Round finish. One of the few wines which was enjoyable to drink now. 94-95 points.

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  • 2005 Château Rauzan-Gassies 87 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petite Verdot. Not surprisingly this perrenially underperforming 2nd growth estate underperformed at this tasting. An upfront wine which did not follow through. Short finish with notes of briary black fruit and vanilla. 87 points.

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  • 2005 Château Rauzan-Ségla 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 5% Petite Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Another 2nd growth Margaux estate that did not do as well as it should have. This was a very good wine but I expected more. On the nose it had some brambly underbrush and cigar box. Dry with some tartness. Notes of cherry and raw meat. I liked the 2003 better. 89-90 points.

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Flight 7 - St. Julien (6 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Branaire-Ducru 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petite Verdot. One of many St. Julien estates that did not do as well as 2000. Opaque blackish purple color. Graphite nose. Tightly wound and very dry. A viscous texture with most fruit hidden by the tannins. 89+ points.

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  • 2005 Château Gruaud Larose 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petite Verdot. Not as good as the 2000 but slightly better than the 2003. An earthy style which I have always enjoyed. Flavors of tobacco leaf, dried mushroom and black fruit. Medium bodied with some oak on the finish. One of the more open St. Juliens now. 92-93 points.

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  • 2005 Château Lagrange (St. Julien) 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Petite Verdot. I lied the 2003 vintage of this wine so much that the 2005 would be hard pressed to match it but it came close. Another very open wine at this tasting. Softer tannins than many of the 2005's. Round with notes of ripe cherry and plum. Long finish. 93+ points.

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  • 2005 Château Léoville Barton 97 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc. The finest Leoville Barton I have tried (although I have still not opened any of my 2000 or 2003's). Dark blackish purple color. Very fragrant wine. Full bodied and intense. This showed a lot of elegance despite its youth. Notes of red currant, flowers and charred oak. Firm tannins. This is going to be a beauty. 96-97+ points.

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  • 2005 Château Léoville Poyferré 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petite Verdot. I was less impressed than many others. Soft tannins in this light to medium bodied wine. It had a soapy character which seemed out of place. Lacking in fruit because of the tannins and rustic in style. A far cry from the fabulous 2000. Parhaps a slightly off bottle? 90-91+ points.

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  • 2005 Château Talbot 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 4% Petite Verdot. This was one of the more closed St. Julien's. Notes of tobacco, charred oak and some green fruit. Light to medium bodied. Not as good as the 2000 or 2003. 88 points.

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Flight 8 - Pauillac (6 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Clerc Milon 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 1% Carmenere and 1% Petite Verdot. The only wine at this tasting with any Carmenere in it (albeit only 1%). This was only a shadow of of the fine 2003. Blackish red color. Notes of chocolate and bitter red fruit. Very backward now. Lipsmackingly dry tannins. 89+ points.

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  • 2005 Château Croizet-Bages 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Aromas of road tar and mint. Medium bodied. Good mouthfeel with notes of leather and beef blood. Dry finish. 88-90 points.

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  • 2005 Château Haut-Bages Libéral 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    This is primarily Cabernet Sauvignon. Smoke and underbrush on the nose. Modern style and open at the present time. Rather grapey with plenty of fruit. Some pleasing tartness on the finish. 90-91 points.

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  • 2005 Château Lynch-Bages 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petite Verdot. A very fine wine but both the 2000 and 2003 wines were better. Soft tannins in comparison ot other 2005's. Lead pencil shavings on the nose. Dry texture with notes of charcoal and berries. 93 points.

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  • 2005 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. I preferred both the 2000 and 2003 vintages to this wine. Softer than many of the St. Julien's. An earthy wine with notes of berry and black currant. Medium bodied. 92-93 points.

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  • 2005 Château Pontet-Canet 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petite Verdot. This was the only Pauillac estate which clearly surpassed what they di in 2000 and 2003. Very fine effort. Well made and complex wine. An old world nose. Sweet tannins and a viscous texture. Plenty of ripe red fruit that will hold up well in the long haul. Long finish. 94+ points.

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Flight 9 - St. Estèphe (4 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Cos Labory 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. Dark bruised red color. Notes of black fruit, raspberry and raw meat. Finish was sharp. The top St. Estephe at this tasting but that is not saying too much. 91 points.

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  • 2005 Château Lafon-Rochet 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    49% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Cabernet Franc. One of the few Left Bank wines that has Merlot making up the largest part of the blend. Not nearly as good as the 2000 but the equal of 2003. Tight wine with brambly fruit among notes of tobacco and licorice. Harsh tannins. 88-90 points.

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  • 2005 Château Les Ormes de Pez 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    First time I have had this wine as far as I recall. Open. Rather grapey with currant and boysenberry notes. Light to medium bodied. Smokey finish. 88 points.

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  • 2005 Château Phélan Ségur 86 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    49% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc. Graphite on the nose. Super dry texture. Not much fruit showing. Notes of leather and raw meat. Same score I gave the 2003. 86 points.

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Flight 10 - Sauternes and Barsac (9 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Bastor-Lamontagne 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    This had sweet and spicy nose. Notes of pear and mango. Medium bodied. Shorter finish than some of the other Sauternes at this tasting. About the same score as the 2001 and 2003 vintages. 90-92 points.

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  • 2005 Château Climens 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac

    This was the cream of the Sauternes crop at this event. Spicy botrytis filled nose. Intense and rich. Ripe tropical fruit and prickly pear notes. 95-96 points.

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  • 2005 Château Coutet 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac

    Better than the 2003 vintage but not as good as the 2001 because it lacked the complexity of the 2001. Sweet with very little botrytis that I could tell. Notes of guava and pineapple. 90 points.

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  • 2005 Château de Fargues 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    After the Climens this was one of the best Sauternes. Saucy with ripefruit. Notes of pear nectar. Good mouthfeel and juicy finish. 93 points.

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  • 2005 Château Doisy-Daëne 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    One of the few 2005 Sauternes that I thought outperformed the 2001 vintage. Wonderful spice with apricot, marmalade and orange blossum notes. 93-94 points.

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  • 2005 Château Guiraud 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    This was not as impressive to me as to many others. I liked the 1997 and 2003 vintages better. Good botrytis. Notes of spicey pear but a simple finish. 90 points.

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  • 2005 Château La Tour Blanche Sauternes 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    This was 1-2 points behind both the 2001 and 2003 vintages. Plenty of fruit including mango and pear. Not as spicy or exotic as the 2001 or 2003. 92 points.

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  • 2005 Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    This was actually the lowest scoring Lafaurie- Peyraguey I have ever tried. Though outstanding, it is outclassed by the 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2003 in my opinion. Light yellow in color. Sweetness needs more botrytis for counterbalance. Tropical notes. Low spice on the finish. 91-92

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  • 2005 Château Suduiraut 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    About the 10th Suduiraut I have had. This came in toward the upper end of the spectrum but again was not close to the magnificent 2001 vintage. Plenty of butrytis. Medium bodied. Tropical fruit with pineapple. Good spice. 93-94 points.

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Closing

VM

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