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Bordeaux 2005 - Part II

by Tom Cannavan

Given that these are not finished wines, please bracket all scores by + or - 2 (so 93 = 91-95) and note that 96 is the highest score possible.

Graves and Pessac-Léognan



Pessac-Léognan Blanc


In general this is an intensely fruity and forward vintage, with some of the wines almost Marlborough-like in their pungency and vivid, herbaceous fruitiness. There is truly lovely acidity though, and wines that to me were striking, delicious and structured.

Château Brown (France) Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2005
Bright, elegant, Sauvignon-dominated nose that is crisp and gooseberry-fruited. Fine layering of yellow plum and peach notes, with lovely balance. 90/100

Château de Fieuzal (France) Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2005
Exceedingly delicate, aromatic nose, with orange blossom and peachy fruit. Floral notes give way to a ripe, rich, peach-filled palate with terrific length and balance. 93-94/100

Château Latour-Martillac (France) Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2005
Wears a heavy mantle of oak very nicely, with a fine citrus and mineral nose, and searing, concentrated palate. Terrific tangy personality here, that is quite forceful and vivid. 91/100

Château Malartic-Lagravière (France) Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2005
A very good effort this year, with beautifully ripe and limpid fruit with pristine stone fruit flavours and lovely finesse with fine acidity and gentle extraction. 92/100

Château Olivier (France) Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2005
Very fragrant, light perfume with sweet, white flower notes and lovely peachy fruit. Very clean and powerfully fruity on the palate. Real body and structure here, with a searing core of fruit extraction and acidity. A really big white wine this, and will need time. 92/100

Château Pape-Clément (France) Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2005
Fresh, appetising nose that is very appealing, with mealy and vanillin woody notes ate present, but very solid, concentrated pear-skin fruit. Lovely intensity here, with very ripe fruit, a fine orangy acidity and generous, mouthfilling texture. Very long and well defined. 92/100

Pessac-Léognan Rouge


There is no doubt that ripeness of fruit and tannins is not a problem this year, and nor is acidity - in general the wines display fine balance. One or two wines teeter on the brink of over-extraction, but the majority of wines display a winning combination of fruit ripeness and well-balanced tannins and acidity. The 2005 Pessac-Léognan reds seem particularly silky and supple.

Bahans de Chateau Haut-Brion (France) Pessac-Léognan 2005
Elegant, bright, but at the same time sensuous, sweetly earthy fruit with robust plummy aromas. The palate has beautiful purity, with excellent concentration and bright, focused cassis fruit married to a firm, refreshing structure. 92/100

Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion (France) Pessac-Léognan 2005
Beautiful fruit quality here, with a fantastic plummy opulence, ripe red berries and already a cedary background. The tannins are beautifully ripe, and lead a mouth-filling structure, where the sweet and chocolaty ripeness of fruit is exquisitely balanced. A truly impressive La Mission. 95-95/100

Chateau Haut-Brion (France) Pessac-Léognan 2005
I almost always prefer Haut-Brion to its sister wine, La Mission, whether young or old, good, bad or moderate vintage. La Mission is usually excellent, but somehow Haut-Brion just beguiles where La Mission merely seduces. But La Mission is so good in this vintage that I wondered how Haut-Brion would fare. I need not have worried: from the first sniff this wine is outstanding. It has a haunting fragrance that is cedary and elegantly mineral, with a beautiful sense of poise and precision. The fruit is fully ripe, plummy and lush, but everything is imbued with that minerality and layered complexity. Huge fruit and earthy minerality on the palate, where the big, structured tannins are integrated and managed beautifully along with lovely acidity, to give focus, length and a sense of lightness. One of the best wines of the vintage. 96/100

Château Brown (France) Pessac-Léognan 2005
Fine, coffee-tinged, quite meaty nose, with good black fruit. There is a density and richness of fruit on the palate, with polished, nicely gripping tannins and good balance. A good effort. 91/100

Château Carbonnieux (France) Pessac-Léognan 2005
Another inky, dark wine that flirts with over extraction, with a saturated colour and overall aromatic character, with cherry and plum skins to the fore. It has deliciously sweet fruit however, with supple tannins and a terrific balance into the finish. 92/100

Château La Garde (France) Graves 2005
Modest, quite meaty nose, with lighter colour than many. Medium bodied but with very nice, chunky fruit, this is approachable, with plenty of tannic heft but fine ripeness. 88/100

Château Haut-Bailly (France) Pessac-Léognan 2005
Dense, meaty, very soft, full fruit. Lovely weight and texture on the palate, with delicious earthiness and supple, rounded tannins supporting fine fruit and a spine of acidity that gives this structure, without over extraction. 92/100

Château La Louvière (France) Pessac-Léognan 2005
Rounded, more mellow, slightly meaty. There's a big, broad stripe of tannins with a lovely weight of earthy, plummy fruit. Another wine of impeccable balance. 91-92/100

Château Larrivet-Haut-Brion (France) Pessac-Léognan 2005
Earthier, more gamy, with less brightness to the fruit but a warming depth. Lovely stripe of vivid black fruit on the palate. Fine definition, with a slightly broader base than the Olivier, but a hugely concentrated core. 93/100

Château Latour-Martillac (France) Pessac-Léognan 2005
Another tight, mineral-flecked nose, with crisp, bright fruit. Quite silky on the palate, with weight and texture and a density of fruit, but no over-extraction. 91/100

Le Clementine de Chateau Pape Clement (France) Pessac-Léognan 2005
Lots of smoky, toasty and spicy aromas in Pape-Clement's second wine, with a deep well of mulberry and plum fruit. It is very refined on the palate, with the tannins displaying terrific grip and graves graininess. But the plummy, deep-set fruit and Dundee-cake richness persists, with plenty of spice. Lovely balance and acidity, and a very generous but well-defined finish. 90/100

Château Olivier (France) Pessac-Léognan 2005
Fine, dark, ripe Morello cherry fruit is very hard-edged and tight for the moment. Real concentration here, verging on inkiness, but a lovely juicy ripeness comes through on the palate with creamy tannins and great harmony. 93/100

Château Pape-Clément (France) Pessac-Léognan 2005
Much more cassis and clear, plump, ripe berry fruit, with a touch of chocolate and more of that smoky, mineral and lightly spicy refinement. On the palate it is beautifully cool and composed, with searing acidity cutting through big, smooth tannins that give plenty of roughening grip. The structure is excellent, the fruit all there, and this shows huge promise. 93-94/100

Château Poumey (France) Pessac-Léognan 2005
Toasty, smoky nose, with cassis and Morello cherry juiciness. Very rich and sweet on the palate, with a big, drying tannin overlay. Lip-smacking sweetness and acidity in the moderate finish. 89/100

Chateau Le Thil Comte Clary (France) Pessac-Léognan 2005
Some coffee and mellow, cedary overtones but good fruit and richness. Solid and sweet, with good length and style. Classy. 89/100

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