One point that all Bordeaux wine producers have been emphasizing to me is that the great 2005 vintage is a year when all the appellations show their distinct style, or character. The reds from St.-Estèphe have racy tannins and spicy character. Those from Pauillac show power and perfumes of currants and licorice while St.-Juliens show luscious aromas of crushed fruit, silky tannins and balance. The Margauxs are feminine and refined with complex bouquets and ultra-fine tannins. Well. You get the idea. Right?
And it certainly seems true.
What is also being said, at least for the Médoc, is that this is a Margaux vintage. And I have to agree wholeheartedly. I have never in my career tasted a range of young reds from Margaux like this. And I even had the opportunity to taste such legendary Margaux vintages from barrel as 1983 and 1989, among others. There are so many spectacular reds there from crus bourgeois to first growth. They nearly all have spellbinding aromas with crushed fruit, spice and perfumes. They are dense and powerful yet refined and classy. They are wonderful young wines. (And it’s about time because the appellation has underachieved for years!)
Of course, the best of the lot is Margaux, which could very well end up being the wine of the vintage. However, there are numerous other reds that are captivating. Some estates have made their best red ever. Here are my top wines of the Margaux district in alphabetical order: Malescot-St.-Exupéry, Margaux, Rauzan-Ségla, and Palmer. Following close behind were: Boyd-Cantenac, Dauzac, Giscours, Kirwan, Lascombes, Marquis-d'Alesme-Becker, Monbrison, and Pouget. Reds from the latter four are the best barrel samples I have ever tasted from those places.
I think John Kolasa, manager of Rauzan-Ségla, summed it up nicely to me on how it all happened in 2005:
“You would have to really get it wrong, not to make something outstanding in 2005. The weather was idea. We had less illness, great growing. We had no problems.
"You could pick when you wanted to. One could take one’s time and go into each plot one by one and when you felt like it. We only worked seven hours a day, and the picking was over three weeks and normally it’s two weeks. You had to know each plot. You had to love your vineyard, eat some grapes, and know the best time to pick.
"It was a vintage of complete freedom. You could think what you were doing and do your best.”
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