I just had lunch with Fabien Teitgen, who is the technical director of Smith Haut-Lafitte, the well-known white and red wine producer in Pessac-Léognan. Fabien is a hip dude and a very good vineyard guy and winemaker. He is understated and relaxed yet serious about his winemaking. He is a good example of the young generation here, who are making excellent wines.
Check out my video of him over lunch at the simple restaurant at Les Sources de Caudalie, where I am staying and tasting. I asked him why both the whites and the reds are so exceptional in 2005. It simply gets down to having perfectly ripe grapes and a long growing season to pick the grapes at the right time.
Often in Bordeaux, the best vintages for reds are not necessarily the best for dry whites. But I think that 2005 is one of those few exceptions. The top whites I have had so far in my tastings are very structured, with beautifully ripe and rich fruit and a wonderful balance of acidity. They are like top white Burgundies. They are like outstanding reds masquerading as whites. The 2005 Smith Haut-Lafitte is seriously good – perhaps its best ever.
The reds, as I have written already, show wonderful perfumes, complex and complete, while their palates are concentrated with very ripe tannins, rich alcohol and a fresh acidity. I wrote yesterday that they have the richness of the superripe 2003s and the balance of the 2000s. Overall, the vintage looks like it is better than 2000, because so many wines from the smallest name to the grandest are outstanding. They are a joy to taste. It is a vintage when the quality of the wines from the lesser terroirs is very, very close to the quality of the wines from the big names
I am, at the moment, leaning toward characterizing the vintage as more of a Merlot year, but the Cabs, both Franc and Sauvignon, are excellent, too. The Pomerols are amazing, but so are all the other wines in the lesser appellations of Bordeaux, which rely on Merlot. But it’s early days. I have hundreds of more wines to taste, so stay tuned.
Guus Hateboer — Netherlands — December 4, 2007 3:14pm ET
Jon Burdick — December 4, 2007 7:02pm ET
Totv — La Quinta, CA — December 4, 2007 7:05pm ET
Joseph Romualdi — Canada — December 4, 2007 8:46pm ET
Albert Jochems — The Netherlands — December 5, 2007 3:23am ET
Gil Schwarz — Las — December 9, 2007 1:03am ET
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