2005 Left Bank Claret

12th Feb 2015 6:30pm to 8:30pm

2005 Left Bank Médocs

A perfect growing season of warm and very dry weather, followed by ideal harvest conditions.

A great claret vintage? Yes.  From small, concentrated, thick skinned grapes, high in sugar and high in tannin. If many wines remain particularly tannic, this is more from stylistic winemaking choices than from the very high quality primary matter in the fruit – for it was easy to ‘overegg the pudding’! But after tasting them again in bottle at four years of age, I wrote about the successfully conceived majority: “The grape tannins are caressingly fine in texture and charged with an abundance of flavour and aroma, making for grand scale wines that, at best, are the most complete wines for a generation.” Stephen Brook described these as having an ‘exquisite balance’ because, for all their concentration, the sensitively made wines retain a classical Bordeaux feel, namely a sense of moderation, a lack of excess, and a surprising freshness given the hot, dry season.

These are the sorts of claret that are to my taste, and the line up I have chosen here is of wines I particularly liked both in cask and, subsequently, in bottle. The very top 2005’s are now way beyond the price most of us want to / can afford to pay for a bottle, even on a special occasion, but those we will taste on this occasion represent very fine claret at still relatively accessible prices, running from around £35 to £105 a bottle.

A quality range from Cru Bourgeois to ‘Super Second’ and equivalent, a cross section of the top communes, plus a line up of names that regularly represent real value for money in the Bordeaux context, should give us a very satisfying early insight into these special wines.  

 

Ch. Belgrave; Haut-Médoc

Ch. Chasse-Spleen: Moulis

Ch. d'Angludet; Margaux

Ch. Brane-Cantenac; Margaux

Ch. Lagrange; St Julien

Ch. Beychevelle; St Julien

Ch. Calon-Ségur; St.Estèphe

Ch. Duhart-Milon; Pauillac

Ch. Lynch-Bages; Pauillac

Ch. Pichon-Lalande; Pauillac

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10 Wines, with cheese ...... £98.00

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