I went to the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting on Friday in Santa Monica, Calif. And I was excited to see how the 2005 Bordeaux would be showing a month after I tasted them in Bordeaux in December for a massive report in the magazine. Of course, I wasn’t going to be tasting anything even nearly close to 900 wines I tasted over a two-week period in blind tastings in the region.
I just wanted to taste a couple dozen wines and get an impression of what was going on. Moreover, a standup tasting with dozens of young wines and hundreds or people is hardly the right environment to make a final judgment about a particular wine. So I picked out a few of the wines I remembered as favorites in my December tasting and gave them a look.
Two of the best wines in the room were La Conseillante and Léoville-Barton. Check out the videos.
They had the ripe and creamy tannins of the vintage, as well as the beautiful, complex fruit. And they were fresh and lively from the beautiful acidity underneath. They were classy wines ... very, very classy.
Some of the wines were slightly warm, so they tasted a little disjointed. Moreover, they had been jet freighted from France just a few weeks before, which some wine producers said added to their slightly dazed character. Nonetheless, I thought the wines showed their fabulous quality, whether from Pomerol or Pauillac.
This said, the wines were a little more closed than I remember them being in Bordeaux, which is normal for a great vintage. They start closing down about six to eight months after bottling and come back about five years. For instance, many of the top 2000s are now doing that. They are coming out of their hibernation. Check out my 2000 first growth dinner blog from last week.
As I said, the wines in the SanMo tastings showed a little less fruit, and the tannins were more obvious than my tastings in Bordeaux. I think the wines would have been better served decanted to give them a little air. For example, I remarked on the video on Barton that the wine was like a monster in a cage. It had loads of fruit but the tannins were holding it back on Friday. Still, it was clearly a great wine.
These wines really do have a lot of tannins. Oh yes. The top wines are packed to the cork with them but they are enveloped in a rich and flamboyant fruit with bright and fresh acidity underneath. The 2005s are built for aging, but they are still beautiful young. When you taste them now, it’s sort of like looking at a beautiful son or daughter when they are toddlers and knowing that they are going to grow up into handsome adults. How satisfying!
Some of my favorites in Friday’s tasting included: Gazin, (best in years!), Conseillante (best since the 1950s?), Larcis-Ducasse (best ever?), Canon-La-Gaffelière (decadent), Rauzan Segla (best ever), Figeac (1982 again), Pavie Macquin (best ever), Léoville-Barton (2003 again but finer), Haut-Bailly (best ever?) and Pontet Canet (best ever).
It was exciting to taste the 2005s again, especially on American soil. But it’s interesting to think about all the pleasure they are going to give people around the world, and for a very long time.
Whoever bought some 2005s is going to be totally satisfied.