The 2005 vintage in Bordeaux will go down in history as one of the greatest vintages of all time. The conditions in the vineyard were perfect throughout the vine cycle – low rainfall, dry, warm, hot (but not excessive), and cool nights practically from the time of flowering to when the grapes were picked. Rather than just those conditions alone, what was important was that they took place at the precise right time. As a result, the balance of fruit, tannins and acidity is knife-edge perfect. The best wines have a future that will be decades long. Even humbler ones should not be rushed, with well-made Crus Bourgeois best when 10 years old and beyond. While the 2005 vintage belongs to the reds; the dry whites are also excellent; and, the sweet whites worthy of mid-term cellaring, the best of them beyond. The following wines were submitted directly by the chateaux and tasted on 24 October 2009 at The Wine Review/Great Bordeaux 2005 Tasting J10 stand at Wine for Asia Exhibition, Suntec Exhibition Centre, Singapore.
All the wines displayed a firm red, or firm red/ruby complexion.
Amiral de Beychevelle Saint-Julien to
Softly scented oak and with vanilla notes. Blue fruits with grip of crisp tannins. Lovely freshness. Medium-bodied and very balanced. Classic.
Chateau Beaumont Haut-Medoc to
Smoky blueberry fruit. Succulent fruit, ripe tannins and freshness. Very balanced, Medium-bodied red. Classic.
Chateau Beychevelle Saint-Julien
Scented oak with red/bluefruits, including cherries. Ripe, elegant fruit with equally fine, ripe tannins. So very balanced. Medium-plus. Lovely length. Classic.
Chateau Branaire-Ducru Saint-Julien
Fragrant oak and smoked blue/black fruits. Rich fruit and rich, ripe tannins. Lots of freshness. Medium-plus bodied.
Chateau Brane-Cantenac Margaux
Floral scented. Seductive, velvety blue fruits. The ripe fruit and exceptionally well-handed tannins make this immediately accessible but also with a great future. Medium-plus. Round. Very balanced and elegant
Chateau Cambon La Pelouse Haut-Médoc
Oak, cigar box and dried red fruits. Medium-plus bodied. A touch extracted. Fresh but also a bit austere on the finish.
Chateau Canon Saint-Emilion to
Scented oak and smoky blue fruits. Medium-plus-ish fruit and suave tannins. Lovely balance and freshness. Elegant.
Chateau Clos Fourtet Saint-Emilion
Scented oak. Rich black fruits and rich tannins. Firm but also with freshness. Medium-plus bodied. A touch dry on the finish.
Chateau Giscours Margaux 2005 to
Touch reductive. Ripe cherry/blueberry fruit with equally ripe tannins. Richness and freshness. Very balanced. Full-bodied.
Chateau La Lagune Haut-Médoc
Touch reductive but also fragrant oak on the nose. Fresh cherry fruit with fine tannins. Very balanced. A convincing return to form for this property.
Chateau La Louviere Pessac-Leognan
Ripe capsicums on the nose. Rich fruit and rich tannins. Structure very much in front. Needs to be looked at again in a year or two.
Chateau La Tour Figeac Saint-Emilion
A bit reductive. But good on palate. Smoky, oaked, rich black fruits with rich tannins. And freshness.
Chateau Laroze Saint-Emilion to
Touch of reduction. Black, slightly singed fruit. A touch straightforward. Medium-plus. A bit woody.
Chateau Leoville-Barton Saint-Julien
Fragrant oak and fruit. Rich tannins and rich fruit. Intense and persistent. Still bundled up. Very finely texture. Balanced. Full-bodied. Deserves all of six stars. One of the great wines of an already landmark vintage.
Chateau Leoville-Poyferre Saint-Julien
Scented oak. Lovely cherry fruit and equally impressive tannins. Fine, intense and long. Soft sweetness. Full-bodied.
Chateau Lynch-Bages Pauillac
Tight and rich. Tannic even. Rich blue/black fruit and tannins. Full-bodied.
Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere Pessac-Leognan
Touch of reduction. And whiff of port. Juicy dark cherry/fig fruit and rich tannins. A masculine wine. Full-bodied.
Chateau Petit-Village Pomerol to
Red/blue fruits with lots of freshness. Fine, elegant and harmonious. Medium-bodied. A new chapter for this historic estate in Pomerol.
Chateau Phelan Segur Saint-Estephe
Scented oak and ripe capsicums. Very engaging spiced fruit with suave tannins. Very balanced. Fine.
Chateau Pichon-Lalande Pauillac
Ripe, rich blue/black fruit with equally ripe, rich tannins. A firmer, richer Pichon Lalande than normal. Intense and with length. And freshness. Structure a bit in front at the moment.
Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron Pauillac
Very ripe, deep blue fruit held tight in a core of rich, ripe tannins and ultra freshness. Rich and powerful but very balanced. Greater than their already great 1990. Deserves all of six stars. Another great wine of an already landmark vintage.
Chateau Rauzan Segla Margaux
Floral. Ripe rich suave ripe red/blue fruits and tannins. Freshness. Harmonious. A great Rauzan and a great classic.
Chateau Senejac Haut-Médoc to
Oak – a touch sawdusty – capsicums red cherries. Fresh. Medium-plus-ish bodied. Structure in front for the moment.
Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafitte Pessac-Leognan
Reductive on the nose but lovely entry of ripe, succulent. ripe blue fruits with equally ripe tannins. A very particular earthy/minerally aspect. Lovely freshness.
Chateau du Tertre Margaux to
Slightly reductive. Red fruits and capsicums. Very fresh. Medium-plus-ish. Balanced. And fresh.
Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Leognan
Slghtly reductive. Rich, blackberry/spiced/minerally fruit. Impressive and very well-handled tannins too. Harmonious. Great freshness on the finish.
The colour of all three wines is pale green.
Chateau La Louviere
Whiff of sulphur . Citrussy/minerally. Great cut of freshness and tight grapefruit/limes. Very balanced. Racy and tingling.
Domaine de Chevalier to
Pomelo/nutmegs/soft vanilla. Spicy, minerally and a soft creaminess. Fine, elegant. Long.
Vanilla, young honey and nutmegs. Creamy and round.
The colour of all three wines is bright straw with a green tinge.
Whiff of sulphur. Pineapples and fragrant melons. Lightly spiced. Lovely freshness.
Whiff of sulphur. Ripe pineapples and mangoes. Creamier in texture than Doisy-Vedrines. With freshness on the finish.
Chateau Guiraud to
Whiff of sulphur. Odd. Wonky. Medium-ipe pineapples and ripe mangoes. Spiced. Rich.