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.
Ten Best Wines
Very tough to narrow this down to 10. There are others wines that scored as high a mark as some included here, but this is a personal list of my 10 best wines - the ones I'd most like to
have in my cellar.
Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion 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. 95-96/100
Chateau Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan 2005
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 big, structured tannins are integrated and managed beautifully along with lovely acidity, to give focus, length and a sense of lightness. 96/100
Chateau Margaux (France) Margaux 2005
A real density at this stage that is pretty impenetrable at first (more so than Latour) and such a massive framework behind the nose of tannins and fruit and searing acidity, yet there is finesse and a real
sense of purity and focus. This is for the long haul, but is spectacular. 96/100
Chateau Palmer (France) Margaux 2005
Spicy, tightly wound and meaty on the nose, with lovely fragrance and a superb density and plushness of fruit. The palate has beautiful purity, with a really fine, silky texture and terrifically plush and mouth-filling fruit. Huge structure ere too, with chocolaty, ripe tannins and a backbone of acidity, yet that opulence and already harmonious, integrated fruit makes this a real star of Margaux. 96/100.
Chateau Lafite (France) Pauillac 2005
There's a dimension of meaty, meat-stock aromas on the nose that is a little unusual, but is probably just the stage of this wines development given it will not complete its barrel maturation for over a year. It has a terrifically muscular density whilst retaining an edge of minerality, and layers of plush plum and cherry fruit with a cedary edge emerge. The palate has huge presence: sheer concentration and structure, with focused, supple tannins dominating, but real breeding and harmony, with the definition of the black fruit character and acidity and silky texture combining beautifully. 96/100
Chateau Latour (France) Pauillac 2005
Chateau Ausone Saint-Emilion 2005
Fantastically deep and plush, with a masculine character on the nose that is meaty and extracted, with a tarry depth of black fruit. A massive, brooding presence is obvious here, with the palate coated in ripe, thick black fruit and a certain core of minerality. Amazing power and concentration here with liquorice, spice and tobacco notes. A very big-scaled wine and quite monolithic at this stage, but the breeding will surely come out. 96/100
Fantastic opulence layered on here, with a thick cocoa-dusted sweet black fruit character, really intense fruit and immediate impression of depth and svelte quality. The palate also has a lovely fruit quality, with a succulence and
glossy, plush depth. Very fine, with terrific minerality at the core and beautiful length. 96/100
Valandruad (France) Saint-Emilion 2005
Super-intense Morello cherry fruit with a fantastic richness and black fruit extraction. Real concentration here, with intense earthy minerality too. The fruit is highly focused - like a funnel of very ripe, sweet-edged dark fruit
running through the core of the wine, with plenty of savoury grip and an edge of acidity. Very good length, and seems well balanced despite the extraction. 95/100
Château Cheval Blanc (France) Saint-Emilion 2005
The nose is darker, denser and less expressive that Le Petit Cheval at this stage, with a layering of chocolate and a dark, juicy plum richness. There is a depth of spicy, tobacco-tinged warmth. Beautiful fruit on the palate, with terrific elegance.
Though marginally more concentrated than the Petit Cheval, it is elegantly structured and lithe, with slightly more polished tannins, and so it is seems lighter, though more elegant at this stage. Beautiful wine. 95/100
Château Gazin (France) Pomerol 2005
Chocolaty richness with a sensuous, velvety appeal of ripe, dark fruit and coffee notes. Very fine structure on the palate, with lovely mouthfilling density and a massive, sweet and ripe fruit quality married to chocolaty tannins and excellent freshening acidity. Fine length too, in a very impressive Gazin. 94-95/100