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Bordeaux 2005 - Part V

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.

Sauternes and Barsac



A thoroughly nice set of wines, displaying good, but quite moderate levels of Botrytis, but making up for this with great concentration and intensity, ripe fruit and scintillating balance with lovely citrus acidity. A very nice Sauternes year this with wines ranging from moderate to full sweetness, but generally all well-balanced.

Sauternes and Barsac


Château Bastor Lamontagne (France) Sauternes 2005
Fairly muted nose at this stage, but very good fruit in the mouth, with a lovely racy pear character and big, luscious mouthfeel with bright orangy acidity. Botrytis is only moderate, but plenty of concentration. 89-90/100

Château Clos Haut Peyraguey (France) Sauternes 2005
Gentle nose with some leaf tea and honeyed nuances and very nice fruit. The palate is poised and charming, though the Botrytis is modest. It is silky and elegant, with lovely fruit and balance and a cleansing tangerine acidity. 91-92/100

Château Coutet (France) Barsac 2005
Nutty, lightly marzipanny, with plenty of barley sugar and peachy, rich Botrytis fruit. Mouthfilling and luscious, this has plenty of concentration and sweetness, and a spicy edge. Crisp, lemony acidity, in a very nice Coutet. 92-93/100

Château de Fargues (France) Sauternes 2005
Lots of honey and nutty, quite complex notes with little tea-leaf and herbal influences. Palate has beautiful clarity and delicious balance, with good weight, plenty of Botrytis and a good depth of fruit and flavour. This is long too, and a very good wine. 92/100

Château Guiraud (France) Sauternes 2005
Some herbal and gently spicy notes. Quite complex, with a tea-like quality and a nutty, peach kernel fruit. Lots of marmalade orange Botrytis and unctuous fruit on the palate. Less precision than some, and a less scintillating balance, but very good indeed. 90/100

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey (France) Sauternes 2005
Very restrained nose, with moderate Botrytis onto a palate with fine acidity, but a very light style of wine with elegance at the expense of richness and lushness. 90-91/100

Château Latrezotte (France) "Sauternes de ma Fille" 2005
Very ripe, slightly rotted orange fruit quality, some fig and passionfruit aromas. Thick textured and has plenty of sweetness, some honey and good acid balance. Not as fine as some. 89-90/100

Château Rabaud Promis (France) Sauternes 2005
Spicy, nutty, some gingerbread qualities on the nose. Real poise on the palate: full and richly textured, with a luscious, honeyed character coming through, with nectarine juiciness and ripeness and nice acidity too. Fine. 92/100

Château Rayne-Vigneau (France) Sauternes 2005
Much lighter nose, with lots of sherbetty, lemony notes, pear fruit and not such obvious Botrytis character. Sweet and focused on the palate, this has really good sweetness and focus, but it is a clean, melon and ripe pear style, with racy acidity. Lovely stuff if not the weight and unctuousness of some. 91-92/100

Chateau Rieussec (France) Sauternes 2005
As usual, a brilliant performance. Rieussec is all mellow honey and rounded, deeply ripe and concentrated fruit. The palate displays lovely botrytis, with a mouth-filling presence and terrific orangy verve and sharpness. Lovely structure here and real length. 95/100

Chateau Siglas Rabaud (France) Sauternes 2005
Great effort from Siglas Rabaud this vintage, with lovely rounded, gently honeyed apricot fruit. Not as open as some at this stage, but brilliantly racy oranges and lemons fruit, mouth-wateringly fresh yet with real sweetness and richness, and with a limpid clarity through its length. 93/100

Chateau Suduiraut (France) Sauternes 2005
Vying with Rieussec for Sauternes top wine in my opinion (I didn't manage to taste Yquem), this has one of the most attractive noses and one that is already showing more complexity than any others. Barley sugar and toffeed sweetness, with a marmalade lusciousness and fat, waxy fruit. Very ripe and fruity, the palate has striking botrytis with honey and more marmalade qualities coating the palate, and a beautiful core of acidity. Great length here too. 95/100

Chateau La Tour Blanche (France) Sauternes 2005
Lovely lightness and elegance here, with finely wrought honey and bright orchard fruits and lemon. It really is beautifully poised, with medium body but real sweetness and unctuous fruit, yet a lightness and finesse because of the delicate balance. "Gossamer" is the word that came to mind as I tasted this so I wrote it down, realising that it was a tad pretentious, but in many ways it sums up this wine, and the best of this Sauternes vintage perfectly. 93-94/100

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