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All Cream, No Milk?


Posted: Mar 27, 2006 3:38am ET

I am in the process of tasting a range of Right Bank wines--from unknown names to stars--in a blind tasting this morning in my hotel, and the quality level is incredibly high. Everything seems to be starting at 89 to 91 points--very good to outstanding. They all have dark colors, intense fruit, ripe tannins and bright, pointed acidity. They are serious red wines. A great vintage in Bordeaux is when there is very little milk and mostly cream.

John Boccabella
Orinda CA —  March 27, 2006 12:48pm ET
James,

You have a very good writing style and obviously a great palate and knowledge of wines... It seems as though of late you've done the majority of your articles on Bordeaux tastings, etc. These are wines and vintages that none of us will ever taste. I feel as if you're writing for the 1% of people who have access to or can afford these wines. I believe I speak for alot of readers when I say I don't particularly care that you did a verticle Margaux tasting.... Speak to the common man!

I'm very interested in Italian wines - how about an article on good Brunello's under $50 ??? Or nice Bordeaux's under $30 ???
Karen Frazier
March 27, 2006 3:46pm ET
Is this looking like Bordeaux's first 100-pt vintage?
David A Zajac
March 27, 2006 4:55pm ET
I am a lover of Bordeaux wines and have purchased a boatload (at least for me) over the past 10 vintages...now the problem, at least for Bordeaux, I just don't need anymore! From 1995 through 2003 I have been an avid buyer and have purchased hundreds of bottles, but what good is having ten more cases of another vintage of the century when I already have hundreds of bottles waiting to be consumed by other vintages of the century? Does anyone else feel Bordeaux may be in for a rude awakening in 2005, especially in light of the ever increasing price of their wines? In talking to people in the trade, I get a sense they are nervous over the anticipated cost of these wines and just over how they will justify $150 second growths as well as $400 first growths on futures!
Steven Balavender
Tampa, Fl —  March 27, 2006 5:08pm ET
John, Brunello under $50 and Bordeaux under $30 I will second you on that one. Don't know if you saw this article James wrote just last month http://www.winespectator.com/Wine/Features/0,1197,3122,00.html but it has a decent amount of 01 Brunello's highly rate in the $50 range. Why do you say "These are wines and vintages that none of us will ever taste" I found some outstanding (90 rated or higher from James) 2000 Bordeaux that was piced $25 and under sitting on the shelves. Bought them by the case, sometimes without even tasting first. There was also recently an excellent article on highly rated "low" priced Barolo. Agreed however that I will probally never taste the $200+ over the top stuff.
James, a blog on Itialian wine tasting would be nice :)
John Bolan
March 27, 2006 8:49pm ET
Mr. Suckling,Did the 2003 year in Bordeaux generally fall short of your expectations by the time it hit the bottle? Some of the barrel tasting ratings such as the range on Pontet Canet were aggressive by historical standards (95 - 100), but then the bottle rating was a bit less - 94. I am glad that your tastings are blind and that you are not range bound, but do you think 2005 will be an easier year to read from the barrel?Thanks.I enjoy your writingsJohn
James Suckling
 —  March 31, 2006 7:27am ET
John Bolan. Barrel tastings are not a science. I am evaluating unfinished wines, which are samples from chateaus that they believe represent what may be in the bottle 1 to 2 years after the harvest. So a lot can happen to the wine while it is aging in their cellar. Also, some chateau may be more optimistic with their samples than others. And yes, I can make a mistake. That's the honest truth.I think that the 2005 samples I tasted over the last two weeks were good to evaluate. Some days the weather was not perfect for tasting but I was pleased tasting the wines. We will now see how they improve in the cellars of chataeus. And I am positive about tasting the wines in bottle.

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