Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux: Review of 2005 Vintage

Conrad Centennial Singapore
Tasted Sunday, June 1, 2008 by Alex H with 640 views

Introduction

Finally! The much-anticipated 2005 Bordeaux vintage is here! And what better way to welcome this much-touted legendary vintage than to go for the UGC review tasting of 70 chateaus! Usually Monday blues are to be dreaded but this is one Monday that I had eagerly looked forward to and hope to have more often. So many good wines so little time…we started in the afternoon with the wild rush to taste more than 70 over 2005 bordeaux wines from 2nd Growths to Appellation Controllees. Everyone came with a strategy and mine was to limit the afternoon tasting to a max of 30 wines with spitting. As opposed to tasting by order of prestige / price of the chateau, I had chosen to go with tasting by regional appellation. Therefore, allowing for a clearer perspective of the quality of the various communes.
Due to the quantity of wines drunk, a range of score has been given to moderate the influence of the alcohol.
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Flight 1 - The Blancs (4 Notes)

Flight 2 - The Rouge (22 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Canon-la-Gaffelière 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    Sweet cherries, blackberries and chocolate. Questionable finish…undecided. Some bitterness with low intensity finish. Really captured my attention at the start till mid but sort of confused me nearing the finish… maybe time will tell. 84 to 90+ pts.

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  • 2005 Château La Gaffelière 84 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    Violets, sweet dark fruits and some chinese herbs …powdery tannins with a bone dry finish. The nose was good but the palate didn’t quite match up.81 to 86pts.

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  • 2005 Château Angélus 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    Sweet cherries, mushrooms and coffee cinammon…nutmegs too…cocoa beans on the finish…v elegant…extremely drinkable now. Some worries were voiced over the acidity…but to me…this is just great drinking now! I love it. So so so elegant and pure. 88 to 93+ pts.

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  • 2005 Château Smith Haut Lafitte 85 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    Stink bomb…roasted coffeee with bitter mocha ..a bit raw and meaty. 83+ to 87+ pts.

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  • 2005 Château Pape Clément 87 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    Another stink bomb with dirty leather and coffee oak…bitter tannins on the finish.84 to 90pts.

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  • 2005 Château Haut-Bailly 84 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    Raspberry with underlying fart. Nice ripe cherries on the palate. Friendly and very gay wine.82+ to 86+pts.

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  • 2005 Château Gazin Pomerol 86 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    Brambles, dark fruits…WOW!!! Very layered…lots of spices..Powdery tannins and a lil dangerous on the alcohol. 84 to 88 pts.

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  • 2005 Château Clinet 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    Lightly perfumed with violets, coffee and blackberries. Very balanced…very light and gentle…like the bridegroom carrying the bride over the threshold…it brings you gently from start to finish…of some Chinese herb bitterness dashed with fruits. I am feeling it. Can’t believe its so ready to drink now. 88 to 91pts.

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  • 2005 Château Léoville Poyferré 85 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    Oaky and greenish with some dark blueberries. Alcohol showing. 82 to 87pts.

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  • 2005 Château Léoville Barton 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    Very interesting intensely sharp nose with good freshness. This is for keepers. 85+ to 91+pts.

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  • 2005 Château Branaire-Ducru 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    Dense violet nose…Full bodied with some chin chow action…dark blackberries.86 to 91+pts.

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  • 2005 Château Pontet-Canet 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Raspberry, some oak…sweet raspberry and strawberries on the palate. Beautiful length and energy. 85+ to 90+pts.

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  • 2005 Château Lynch-Bages 84 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Stinky rotten vegetables with good fruits. A little bitter lemon seeds on the finish. 81+ to 86+pts.

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  • 2005 Château Clerc Milon 83 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Bitter tannins reminiscent of fruit seeds. 80+ to 86pts.

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  • 2005 Château Lascombes 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    Deep dark brooding fruits. More berries than cherries. Definitely a parker wine but on reflection, this did stand out. 87 to 92pts.

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  • 2005 Château Giscours 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    Very surprised by this chateau given that not much attention has been given by the critics…probably because there are too many good 05 wines to compete with. But..I really felt this wine…I could feel the effort of trying to throw a serious challenge to the big boys….Lascombes being one of them. Deep, dark and luscious. I like the intensity of the fruits, acidity and tannins. Some might say its trying to hard.. but I can feel this underdog (well ..it’s a 3rd growth so maybe a Great Dane underdog) in the game of big name chateaus. 87 to 92+ pts.

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  • 2005 Château Brane-Cantenac 84 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    82+ to 86+pts.

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  • 2005 Château Malescot St. Exupéry

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    Had just a sip of this because they were out of it…but from what little I had…I didn’t feel the 97pts given by both WS and RP. Maybe I should re-taste to give it a fairer chance. However, a few frens that had tasted this.. didn’t feel it too. ???pts

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  • 2005 Château Siran 83 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    Brambly with violets. Good fruits. 82 to 85pts.

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  • 2005 Château La Tour Carnet 83 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc

    Decent with good fruit, acid and tannins….just not great. 80 to 85pts.

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  • 2005 Château La Lagune 83 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc

    80 to 85pts.

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  • 2005 Château Durfort-Vivens 84 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    Tasted at the UGC 2005 review and didn’t like it at all…with very harsh tannins dominating. However, on re-tasting this after bottle-decanting overnight…this turned out much much better. The hard tannins were now smooth and velvety with lots of milk chocolate nuances intermixed with crushed dark morello cherries. The elegance pairs well with both the risotto and penne (even though it was a cream based sauce). I am glad I re-tasted because this just shows how prodigious the 05 bordeaux vintage is going to be given some time in the cellar. I definitely look forward to re-tasting all the 05s in 5 years time!

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Flight 3 - Sauternes

Given such a wonderful vintage, its no wonder that the sauternes are rich, bold and full-bodied sweet dessert wines. Yummilicious but hard to judge now as all of them are so rich! Too cloying and sweet to tell how each will develop. Will definitely be buying a few keepers to taste in anohter 10 years at least.

Closing

In general, the quality of the 2005 vintage is undisputedly good to great (as echoed by many wine critics – both European and American palates). As can be seen from WADA scores below, this is a fact that cannot be denied. The whole group of us that attended – including myself & DBF, Paul & his fiancee, Uncle L and small L, the bourgogne maestro- William and Gao, all did not find a single wine that was appalling (or at least none were bad enough to warrant any loud cries of agony). In the 3 hours of tasting, the common thread of discussion centred mostly on which wine was better or needed some time to display its greatness. Surprisingly, I found the tannins of more than half of the 2005 wines tasted to be very agreeable now and a majority having no problem displaying purity and intensity of fruits. I personally preferred Margaux and St Julien for their brighter and denser fruits to complement the thick powerful tannins of the vintage. Actually, the right banks (Pomerol and St-Emillion) presented extremely good drinking now…which lessens my intrigue to prefer them. As for the night’s wines… although we couldn’t do the planned tasting sequence…I think it still went pretty well with some surprisingly good wines from lesser-known chateaus.

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