I had a winemaker in Bordeaux ask me today if I felt that the expensive prices for 2005 were my fault? I laughed. But I was slightly annoyed too.
“Don’t shoot the messenger,” I told him.
I tasted the wines. I rated them. And that’s it. I didn’t make the prices. I didn’t force people to buy the wines. My job is to taste the wines and give my honest judgment on them.
So, here it is. The 2005s I tasted today, as a followup to my March barrel tastings, were beautiful. And I can’t say otherwise. I tasted Rauzan-Segla, Cos-d’Estournel, Ducru-Beaucaillou, Léoville-Barton, Langoa-Barton and Léoville Las Cases, and they were all superb quality. The Ducru was the most impressive today, but a number of the others had just been fined and racked into other barrels. So it was not the perfect moment to taste them. But the 2005s are very special indeed. They are great, great wines. And nobody will be disappointed, even if they paid crazy prices.
The weather today was much better than the last four days. It was very hot, in the mid-80s, with a fresh breeze. Most estates were picking today or planning to start tomorrow. They've lost their nerve because the weather is supposed to go very bad this weekend and rot is starting to break out with the warm and slightly humid weather.
“The wind is coming from the east,” said Bruno Borie, the owner of Ducru, as we tasted his glorious 2005. “It’s because there is a high pressure in central Europe and low in the Atlantic. it was like that in 2003. We still don’t know which pressure system will win. Every six hours it is changing...the worst for us is the lack of precision in the weather forecasts. It is so hard. We are always nervous.”
As for the expected quality, I have heard everything so far from “close to 2005” to “more like 2004.” My feeling is that some people could make excellent wines, but the rest are going to make good to mediocre ones – maybe like 1996. But we have to wait and see.
I had an interesting conversation at lunch, which I have heard before, concerning people who didn’t buy 2005 because it was too expensive, particularly with the first growths like Latour, Margaux and Lafte. Producers in Bordeaux believe that those who didn’t buy in 2005 will come back and buy in another vintage. 2005 was the exception. “You can’t say that people will forsake Bordeaux forever after the high prices for 2005,’ said one merchant. ‘People will come back in another vintage.”
I guess they are right. Bordeaux is unique, and if 2006 is very good but not great and prices are much more reasonable, most people will return to the top wines. 2006 Latour or Margaux at $150 a bottle would be interesting. Right? Or wrong?
Guus Hateboer — Netherlands — September 20, 2006 3:37pm ET
Brad Coelho — New York City — September 20, 2006 5:24pm ET
Anthony Clapcich — September 22, 2006 7:30am ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions