Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux 2005 Vintage Tasting

Los Angeles and San Francisco
Tasted Friday, January 18, 2008 - Saturday, January 19, 2008 by Richard Jennings with 985 views

Introduction

One hundred Chateaux were on hand for this UGC tasting, up from 85 to 90 over the past few years. Below are my TNs on the 110 wines I tasted.

This is a unique event for giving one a deep overall sense of the vintage in a great region. I spent nearly three and a half hours at the L.A. tasting, and a little over two hours at the San Francisco one. The temperature of the room (and wines) in San Francisco was much colder than in Los Angeles, and the glasses in Los Angeles had a larger bowl. The wines I had a chance to re-taste in San Francisco nearly all had shown better in Los Angeles. I also had a chance to taste several of these at a K&L dinner at the Clift Hotel the preceding Sunday. There the wines were double decanted and nearly all showed better than they did at the walk-around tasting (not surprisingly). If I had the benefit of sitting with a lot of these bottles over an evening, or going back to them after a day or two, I have no doubt many would rate higher scores than I’ve indicated below. In sum, a very impressive, very strong vintage, if not as superlative and powerful as the 2000s were at this stage.

Merlot seems to have done particularly well in this vintage, and the Right Bank produced a number of gorgeous wines, along with several over-amped, extracted oaky ones. I was a little underwhelmed by the white Bordeaux, and have heard from some who have had a chance to try them that ’06 is a better vintage for Bordeaux blanc. Along with St. Emilion and Pomerol, St. Julian and Pauillac appear to be stars of this vintage. And the Sauternes were quite good, rich and with long finishes, if lacking some of the acidity one expects from the very top years.

David Launay, Managing Director of Gruaud Larose
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Flight 1 - Graves/Pessac-Léognan (25 Notes)

Flight 2 - St. Émilion (19 Notes)

Comte Stephan von Neipperg
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  • 2005 Château Angélus 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; sexy lavender and rich blackberry nose; balanced palate of ripe plum, sweet tannins, and a cedar note, very structured and needs probably 10 years to open; medium-plus finish (60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc)

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  • 2005 Château Balestard La Tonnelle 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet; big port and kirsch-like nose; tight blackberry, blueberry fruit, but lacks complexity; short medium finish (50% new oak, 50% in one-year-old oak)

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  • 2005 Château Beau-Séjour Bécot 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; chocolaty, berry nose; tasty, plush, berry and chocolate palate with well integrated oak; medium-plus finish

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  • 2005 Château Berliquet 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; intriguing berry, caramel and floral nose; black fruit, plum and berry palate but a little disjointed; medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Canon 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; big blackberry, blueberry nose; very tasty, blackberry, plum palate, drinking fine right now; medium finish 91+ pts. (80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc)

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  • 2005 Château Canon-la-Gaffelière 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; nice blackberry, berry, vanilla and herbal nose; tasty, balanced, blackberry, berry palate; medium-plus finish 93+ pts.

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  • 2005 Château Dassault 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; blackberry and berry nose; tasty, berry, tart blackberry palate with slight menthol quality; medium finish (85% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon)

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  • 2005 Château Figeac 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; tobacco nose; elegant black fruit, tobacco and graphite palate; medium-plus finish

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  • 2005 Château Franc-Mayne 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; cassis, raspberry and cedar nose; cassis, plum, and cedar palate on what should be an interesting ager; medium-plus finish (90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc)

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  • 2005 Château Grand Mayne 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; appealing berry and ripe plum nose; ripe plum and black fruit with high acidity; medium-plus finish 90+ pts. (75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon)

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  • 2005 Château La Couspaude 81 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; oaky, caramel nose; oaky palate, disjointed; short-medium finish

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  • 2005 Château La Dominique 82 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; caramel, oaky, sweet berry nose; eucalyptus and oak palate, tannic, feels pushed too hard; medium finish

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  • 2005 Château La Gaffelière 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark black red violet color; focused plum and raspberry nose; nice plum, black fruit and charcoal palate; medium finish 91+ pts.

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  • 2005 Château La Tour Figeac 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; berry and herbal nose; nice black fruit, graphite and charcoal palate; medium finish 90+ pts. (75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc)

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  • 2005 Château Larcis Ducasse 87 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; big kirsch nose; kirsch, ripe plum palate, lacking acidity; short medium finish (82% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc)

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  • 2005 Château Larmande 84 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; caramel and coffee nose; ripe red fruit, lacks acidity; short medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Pavie Macquin 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; kirsch and caramel nose; plush, over-the-top, kirsch palate; medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Troplong Mondot 96 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Deep red violet color; lovely deep cherry, cassis and vanilla nose; rich, concentrated but not overly extracted cassis palate with structure and cedar notes; long finish (definitely an ager) (90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon)

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  • 2005 Clos Fourtet 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; building, appealing, cassis and blackberry nose; tasty, balanced berry and cassis palate; medium finish 91+ pts. (80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon)

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Flight 3 - Pomerol (7 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Beauregard 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; coffee and oak nose; okay black fruit, but thinner than others; short medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Clinet 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; lovely plum and cassis nose; tasty, plush plum and cassis palate; medium-plus finish 90+ pts.

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  • 2005 Château Gazin Pomerol 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark black violet color; espresso and plum nose; tasty black fruit and charcoal palate; medium finish (85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc)

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  • 2005 Château La Cabanne 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; intriguing tobacco, herbal nose; tasty, plush plum palate; medium finish (92% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc)

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  • 2005 Château La Conseillante 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; sexy berry, boysenberry, plum and caramel nose; great, young yet, but deep berry palate with sweet tannins; long finish 95+ pts. (85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc)

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  • 2005 Château La Pointe 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; deep berry and kirsch nose; tasty, berry and plush, deep plum palate with minerality; medium-plus finish 92+ pts. (75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon)

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  • 2005 Château Petit Village 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; espresso nose; espresso, chocolate, very oaked and extracted; medium-plus finish (75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc; 70% in new oak)

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Flight 4 - Moulis en Médoc (2 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Chasse-Spleen 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Moulis en Médoc

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; appealing berry and cassis nose; tasty, structured cassis and berry palate with depth and a menthol note; medium-plus finish (55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot)

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  • 2005 Château Poujeaux 84 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Moulis en Médoc

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; tobacco and eucalyptus nose; cedary cassis and eucalyptus palate; short medium finish

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Flight 5 - Listrac-Médoc (3 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Clarke 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Listrac-Médoc

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; refined cherry, cassis nose; tasty and approachable cherry, cassis palate with sweet tannins and good acidity; medium finish (70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon)

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  • 2005 Château Fonréaud 81 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Listrac-Médoc

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; light cassis nose; narrow, chunky, more black fruit palate and tannins; short medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Fourcas Hosten 83 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Listrac-Médoc

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; eucalyptus, menthol nose; tannic and tight on palate; short medium finish

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Flight 6 - Haut-Médoc (5 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Beaumont 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; intriguing black fruit and tobacco nose; tasty black fruit and graphite palate; medium finish (51% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot)

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  • 2005 Château Belgrave 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc

    (1/18/2008)

    Very dark red violet color; enticing cassis and cedar nose; tasty, solid and rounded cassis and cedar palate; medium finish 90+ pts. (52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot)

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  • 2005 Château de Camensac 87 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; cedary nose; tart cherry, plum palate with good body; medium finish (now a joint venture of Gruaud-Larose and Chasse-Spleen, this is the venture’s first vintage)

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  • 2005 Château Cantemerle 83 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; cedar and herbal nose; tight, if not pinched, tart cassis palate, a little disjointed; short medium finish (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot)

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  • 2005 Château La Lagune 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; cedar and tobacco nose; tasty, traditional style Bordeaux, cedar and cassis palate, should age respectably; medium finish (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot)

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Flight 7 - Médoc (2 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Greysac 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; big tart plum and oak nose; nice, plummy, black fruit palate, very drinkable now, but a little simple; medium finish (60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon)

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  • 2005 Château La Tour de By 84 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc

    (1/18/2008)

    Very dark red violet color; cedar and tobacco nose; tobacco, tart cassis and tannin on palate, may improve with age; medium finish

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Flight 8 - Margaux (15 Notes)

Corinne Conroy, Communications Director for Brane-Cantenac
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  • 2005 Château Brane-Cantenac 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; focused red fruit and cassis nose; tasty cassis, plush palate, but lacks acidity; medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Cantenac Brown 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; big black fruit and caramel nose; one-note black fruit and fig palate; medium finish

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  • 2005 Château d'Angludet 80 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; tight tobacco nose; very tight and tannic; short medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Dauzac 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; lovely cherry, cassis and berry nose; very nice, structured berry and cassis palate; medium finish 91+ pts. (62% Cabernet Sauvignon; 38% Merlot)

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  • 2005 Château Desmirail 86 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Very dark red violet color; cedar, tobacco and herbal nose; a little tight, tart plum palate, needs time; short medium finish

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  • 2005 Château du Tertre 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; nice cherry nose; tasty cherry and cassis palate with a little menthol and eucalyptus; medium finish 90+ pts. (50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc)

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  • 2005 Château Durfort-Vivens 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; cassis and menthol nose; rich cassis and plum palate, quite tasty; medium finish (65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc)

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  • 2005 Château Ferrière 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; cedar and mint nose; solid, herbal, cedar and tart cassis palate, an ager; medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Giscours 84 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; cassis and slightly herbal nose; very tannic, quite obscuring the fruit; medium-plus finish

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  • 2005 Château Kirwan 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Deep scarlet color; lovely herbal, cassis nose; cassis, tobacco palate with structure; medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Labégorce 86 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; high notes of cassis and berry on nose, with menthol; narrow tart cassis and menthol palate; medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Lascombes 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; oaky, caramel nose; soft accessible cassis palate with menthol; medium-plus finish

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  • 2005 Château Marquis de Terme 87 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; big cassis and cherry nose; cassis and possible TCA on palate; medium finish 87? pts.

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  • 2005 Château Rauzan-Gassies 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; berry and caramel nose; plush plum and red fruit with menthol note, could use more acidity though; medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Rauzan-Ségla 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; herbal, coffee and caramel nose; coffee and black fruit palate; medium finish 90+ pts.

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Flight 9 - St. Julien (8 Notes)

Lilian Barton-Sartorius
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  • 2005 Château Beychevelle 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; solid cassis and tobacco nose; tasty, rich cassis palate with graphite; medium-plus finish (47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc)

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  • 2005 Château Branaire-Ducru 85 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; nice, rich raspberry and plum nose; tight, tart plum palate; short medium cliff finish 85+ pts.

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  • 2005 Château Gruaud Larose 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; cassis nose with depth; plush, lovely, cassis and tart plum palate with a menthol note; medium-plus finish (62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec)

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  • 2005 Château Lagrange (St. Julien) 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; nice, herbal cassis nose; approachable plum and cassis palate, but lacks complexity; medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Langoa Barton 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; lovely blackberry liqueur and caramel nose; good rich palate of tangy cassis, berry and graphite; medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Léoville Barton 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark black red violet color; cassis and sandalwood nose; rich, velvety, with tart red fruit and plum, structured; medium-plus finish

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  • 2005 Château Léoville Poyferré 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; charcoal, smoke and blackberry nose; tasty, plush, lovely palate with a touch of vanilla oak; medium finish 91+ pts. (65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot)

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  • 2005 Château Talbot 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; herbal, tobacco nose; tobacco and black fruit with a strong herbal quality; medium finish

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Flight 10 - Pauillac (8 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Clerc Milon 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; nice, earthy mocha nose; tasty, mocha and black fruit palate; medium finish (best Clerc Milon I’ve ever had) (48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Carmenère)

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  • 2005 Château Croizet-Bages 84 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; herbaceous, olive nose; herbaceous red fruit palate; short medium finish

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  • 2005 Château d'Armailhac 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (1/18/2008)

    Very dark red violet color; herbal, black fruit nose; good, tart black fruit and plum palate; medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Grand-Puy Ducasse 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; tight, ripe plum nose; tasty plum and berry palate with elegance; medium finish 91+ pts.

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  • 2005 Château Haut-Bages Libéral 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; ripe plum and berry nose; good rich fruit, plum, with plush mouthfeel and good acidity; medium-plus finish (a good buy) (75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot; 40% in new oak)

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  • 2005 Château Lynch-Bages 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (1/18/2008)

    Medium red violet color; cassis and tobacco nose; tasty but lean cassis and plum palate, solid tannins, but lacks complexity; medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; entrancing cassis nose with a touch of cedar; young and tight but good cassis, tart berry palate with depth; medium-plus finish

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  • 2005 Château Pontet-Canet 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; sexy, ripe berry and kirsch nose; ripe, plush plum and berry palate, a little extracted; medium-plus finish (65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot)

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Flight 11 - St. Estèphe (4 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Cos Labory 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; rich cassis and plum nose; okay plum and tart cassis palate; short-medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Lafon-Rochet 87 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; nice herbal and tobacco nose; simple red fruit, cassis palate with a touch of menthol; short-medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Les Ormes de Pez 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; blackberry, cassis and caramel nose; black fruit and graphite palate with solid tannins; medium finish

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  • 2005 Château Phélan Ségur 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    (1/18/2008)

    Dark red violet color; toasty oak, pain grillé nose; tasty, plush but tart cassis, red plum palate with the Cab Franc showing; medium finish (49% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc)

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Flight 12 - Barsac and Sauternes (11 Notes)

Closing

Serry at Los Angeles UCG '05 Bordeaux tasting
imageCraig and Larry at 1/19/08 UGC '05 Bordeaux tasting in San Francisco
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