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Bordeaux 2005 - Part VI

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.

There are potentially rich pickings amongst the minor appellations this year in my opinion: where the owners/winemakers haven't been overly ambitious and extracted too much from the grapes, there are wines that deliver a lot of fruit, style and structure for what should be modest prices. Look for most of these wines to appear in the £8 - £15 per bottle range. The selection also includes a few "garagiste" style wines, where prices will be higher.

Lalande de Pomerol

Bonnes Rives (France) Lalande de Pomerol 2005
Very fine black fruit character. Quite closed and controlled, with a nice glossy richness. Palate has plenty of bright, focused fruit, though this has less flesh and less elegance, it has lovely balance. 89/100

La Fleur de Bouard (France) Lalande de Pomerol 2005
Inky, very high extract, with plenty of bite and black plum and blueberry fruit. Lots of acidity and dark, dry tannin gives the impressions this lacks flesh. A bit overdone on extraction. 89/100

La Plus de Bouard (France) Lalande de Pomerol 2005
(All merlot cuvée) More weight, more plumpness and more charm, but really huge extraction again and a very grippy plumskin dryness on the palate. Lots of depth and impressive structure, but too much? 91/100


Le Defi de Fontenil (France) Fronsac "Lot 5"
The "defiant" wine, because Michel Rolland covered the ground in plastic sheeting to prevent excess rain seeping though, which incurred the wrath of the AOC, so it is not allowed Appellation Côntrollée, status and, because of that, cannot be vintage dated. This then is a Vin de Table "Lot 05" rather than 2005. It has a huge, creamy nose, with plenty of ripe, juicy red fruits. Palate has a richness and depth of red fruits that become quite silky and really floods the mouth. Lovely quality of tannins, with a certain dryness and inkiness that is perhaps too much, but the sweetness of fruit comes through. Not quite my style, but very impressive. 91/100

Chateau Fontenil (France) Fronsac 2005
From the same vineyards, but made according to AOC rules. Lovely plumy, rich, rounded red fruit character, with a certain plump lusciousness. There is lovely fruit on the palate. A real bite of delicious black plum skins adds acidity and ripe, dark, glossy tannins. Fine quality here and I might prefer this version personally. 90-91/100

Chateau Haut-Mazeris (France) Fronsac 2005
Jean-Luc Thunevin (Valandruad) is consultant here There's a lovely freshness about this on the nose, with a fine raspberry fruit quality running through to the palate and lovely fruit quality and crispness to the tannins. 90/100

Chateau Richelieu (Fronsac) 2005
Slightly paint-boxy note, reminds me of a decent Cru Beaujolais weirdly enough, but mineral and plumskin qualities start to grip and the richness is there. Balanced in the end. 89/100

Le Favorite de Chateau Richelieu (Fronsac) 2005
Slightly more intense, with plenty of meaty, rich, smooth tannic presence and very good length. Good fruit sweetness comes though and there is acidity to balance a very big structure. Promising. 90/100

Chateau Rouselle (Fronsac) 2205
Ripe, full, very dense but a certain elegance. Needs time for wood to soften massively dense fruit and tannin structure on the palate. 88/100

Canon Fronsac

Chateau Haut-Mazeris (France) Canon-Fronsac 2005
From part of the same vineyard as Haut-Mazeris Fronsac, that just crosses into the Canon-Fronsac appellation. These are 100-year-old vines and the nose has a much more plush, chocolaty depth with a plummy fruit quality. Big, warm and mouthfilling, with solid tannins and fruit but fine balance, this is impressive. 91-92/100

Chateau Vrai Canon Bouché (France) Canon-Fronsac 2005
Very bright, dry, a touch paint-boxy aromatics. The sweetness of the fruit comes through on the palate, with a nice grippy depth of blue/black fruit, cherry skin acidity and good tannins without swamping the fruit. 88/100


Château Chasse-Spleen (France) Moulis 2005
Lovely rounded, charming nose with a touch of spice and plenty of plummy stuffing. Cool and elegant palate, with big, ripe tannins but the fruit to match and excellent balance and length. A fine effort this. 91/100

Château Poujeaux (France) Moulis 2005
Big blackcurranty nose with a touch of raspberry brightness and cedar. Slightly dry on the palate, but perhaps will come round as there is a nice elegance and violetty blackness to the fruit. 89/100

Médoc & Haut-Médoc

Chateau Les Grands Chénes (Médoc) 2005
Earthy nose, with a robust, chunky fruit character. Good fruit on the palate with a soft, warming edge that is very approachable. Quite grainy, roughening tannins and no great length, but a likeable, honest wine. 88/100

Chateau Greysac (Médoc) 2005
Clean, cherryish and bright fruit character that is creamy and open. Nicely structured palate, with a certain creaminess and approachability. This Greysac has charm, if not huge complexity. 87-88/100

Chateau Preuillac (Médoc) 2005
Beautiful fruit purity, extremely racy, tight and focused, with compact, sweet fruit on the palate and coffeeish oak fills out the finish. Stylish and well made. 89/100

Chateau La Tour de By (Médoc) 2005
A certain liquoricy, blue-black dry extract quality, with deep blueberry fruit. The palate is deep-set and big-scaled, with damson and blackberry bittersweetness, tangy acidity and lots of lip-smacking tannin and plum skin fruit. Big, chunky, and delicious. 89-90/100

Chateau Bel-Ormes Tronquoy de Lalande (Haut-Médoc) 2005
Very light raspberry fruit, with quite a bubblegummy character. Very paintboxy palate, with a paintbox dryness. 85/100

Chateau Bernadotte (Haut-Médoc) 2005
Nice meaty, slightly animal quality to the nose, with solid berry fruit. Appealing fruitiness on the palate, with robust but quite elegant and nicely-weighted tannins and good balance if only moderate length. 88/100

Château Camensac (France) Haut-Médoc 2005
Creamy, ripe and rich, there is lovely generous fruit here that is plush and plummy. Big tannins are rather swamping the palate, but cherry and ripe plum notes do come through and I've a hunch this will make for very nice drinking. 89/100

Château Cantemerle (France) Haut-Médoc 5th Growth 2005
Some creamy, dense, savoury notes here with a touch more spice and cedar. Good fruit on the palate, if a touch paint-boxy and drying. There is good acidity and structure here, but seems a touch inky. 89-90/100

Château Citran (France) Haut-Médoc 2005
More subdued but has attractive black fruit. Quite modest on the palate, but harmonious and well made with crisp tannins. Very nice drinking. 87-88/100

Château Coufran (France) Haut-Médoc 2005
Solid, vinous, with nice purity of fruit. A certain earthiness and warmth. The palate has a broad stripe of drying tannins, but there is a nice purity of black fruit that continues, and really the balance here is extremely good. A very good Coufran. 89-90/100

Château La Lagune (France) Haut-Médoc 3rd Growth 2005
Immediately very harmonious and "complete" on the nose, with good fruit, a cedary complexity and a little spice, pepper and smokiness. The palate has beautifully sweet fruit and real ripeness. Dry, lip-smacking tannins and good acidity supports, but the sweetness and fullness persists. 92/100

Château La Tour Carnet (France) Haut-Médoc 2005
Really quite chocolaty on the nose, with a solid, plush layering of fruit that is plummy and dense. There's a roughening background of plum-skin tannins on the palate, but the violetty, dark ripeness of fruit pushes on through in a fairly chunky, but delightful wine. 90/100

Château Malescasse (France) Haut-Médoc 2005
Slightly more subdued nose, with a rounded, svelte fruitiness, but maybe not the expressive qualities of some. Very dry tannins and a touch dusty on the palate, but the fruit is very solid and concentrated. 89/100 but could become more harmonious.

Other Appellations

Chateau L'Isle Fort (France) Bordeaux Superieur 2005
Lovely harmony and real fruit depth here, with vivid, ripe cherry notes and a chocolaty depth on the palate. excellent concentration and impressive for the Appellation. 88/100

Chateau Gree Laroque (France) Bordeaux Superieur 2005
Pleasant, slightly herbal nose with good fruit. Fill extraction on the palate, with some plum and cherry fruit and lots of tobacco in the background. A touch dry and maybe a tad over-worked, but lots going on. 87-88/100

Chateau Le Pin Beausoleil (France) Bordeaux Superieur 2005
Inky, slightly dank and schisty nose. Meaty on the palate, with a full-flavoured richness and density. Definitely flirting with over-extraction, but impressive for the Appellation again. 88/100

Chateau Les Grands Maréchaux (France) Premières Côtes de Blaye 2005
Much more restrained nose. Dense, meaty, very inky dark extraction, plumskin roughness and tannic dryness. Too much. 86/100

Chateau Gigault (France) Premières Côtes de Blaye 2005
Bright, crisp cherry and schisty notes. Rather tough and impenetrable tannins at present, with a rather inky character and lack of charm. 86/100

Chateau Perenne (France) Premières Côtes de Blaye 2005
Very saturated colour and fine cherry-fruited nose, with emerging dark, dense, plummier aromas. Very good concentration. The tannins are dry and powerful, but there is a nice broad base to the fruitiness of this wine and fresh acidity. 88-89/100

Chateau Hostens Picant (France) Sainte-Foy Bordeaux 2005
A touch of charm about this wine, with a nice bold fruitiness, a touch of blueberry and liquorice grip, and decent balance. 86/100

Chateau Hostens Picant (France) "Lucullus" Sainte-Foy Bordeaux 2005
Huge, dark, solid black fruit and meatiness. Palate has a big rustic tannic structure with welter-weight extraction that is rather palate stripping. Would be interesting to re-taste in a year or two, but for now: 86/100

Château Clos Chaumont (France) Premières Côtes de Bordeaux 2005
Kirsch-like bright cherry fruit, slightly plummy depth showing through. Very big and dry on the palate - fine fruit, but the extraction is troublesome. Trying too hard for this terroir? 89/100

Chateau Beauséjour (France) Montagne St-Emilion 2005
Much more charming, sweet fruit on the nose and a palate that is meaty and earthy, with a certain plushness and ripeness of tannins, but a racy structure. 90/100

Domaine de l'A (France) Cotes de Castillon 2005
Rounded, sweet, and quite charming, yet massive, drying tannic presence on the palate with a lot of earthy, robust fruit and spice. Nicely roughening tannins add a rustic chewiness, but this has length and balance. Impressive. 90/100

Chateau La Prade (France) Cotes de Francs 2005
A certain richness and ripeness, with lots of black fruit that is very expressive. Lovely background structure here a fine quality of fruit. 88-89/100

Chateau Puygueraud (France) Cotes de Francs 2005
Another nice nose here, with good fruit quality immediately expressive and open. The ripeness of fruit persists nicely onto the palate, where the tannins are rather big and dry, but the fruit seems adequate and this is well balanced. 88-89/100

White and sweet wine

Chateau Fombrauge (France) Bordeaux Blanc 2005
From the Saint-Emilion Cru Classé of Chateau Frombauge, this white Bordeaux has plenty of oak already and a buttery, toasty, rich character but plenty of ripe fruit. Quite ripe and fruity, but lots of cool, white apple fruit and acidity. Good balance. 88/100

Chateau La Tour Carnet (France) Bordeaux Blanc 2005
Very ripe, full, quite attractive fudge-like aromas before a crisp apple-fruited palate. This is really quite elegant, with good acidity and a freshness, but hints of depth and length. 87/100

Le Sublime de Chateau Fombrauge (France) Bordeaux Blanc 2005
This cuvée has concentrated, ripe pear fruit with some elegant, creamy oak evident. There's a touch of toast on the palate too, with good fruit and a real sweetness of concentration, possibly even just off-dry. Clean finish. 87-88/100

Chateau Haut Mouleyre (France) Bordeaux Blanc 2005
Pear drops and crisp, ripe white fruits. Nice texture in the mouth, with a real essence of pear fruit and sufficient acidity. A very nice everyday wine. 85/100

Domaine des Songes (France) Côtes de Bergerac 2005
Sweet, toffeed, slightly subdued nose. Full, luscious palate, with sticky, overripe pear and peachy fruit that is thick textured. Just enough acidity again, with a pithy note right on the finish. Easy but delicious sweet drinking. 86/100

Chateau Perenne (France) Premières Côtes de Blaye Blanc 2005
Mealy, rounded oatmeal nose, with a juicy Sauvignon Blanc character coming though hinting at tropicality. Lots of lemon and mineral acidity on the palate. Stylish and crisply made. 87/100

La Magie du Chateau Haut Mouleyre (France) Cadillac 2005
Overripe fig and guava fruit, some rich honey notes and a touch of orange. On the palate plenty of sweetness, with a luscious texture and weight. Unctuous, delicious and weighty, with just enough acidity to keep it in check, this will drink well but probably drink early. 88-89/100

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