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Fri Mar 31, 2006 10:28 am



WTN: Tasting of 40 right bank wines from the 2005 vintage

by AlexR » Sun Apr 09, 2006 5:42 am

I was invited to a tasting of 2005 Right Bank wines at Château La Dauphine in Fronsac on Monday morning:

The wines were not tasted blind.

C = color (please note that at this early stage, colors are similar, and this is not such an important factor)
N = nose
T = taste
R = rating (broad rating on day of tasting)

Reignac, Bx. Sup.
I made a point of tasting this wine because I have found previous vintages hopelessly extracted and overoaked.
In all fairness, this was not the case in 2005:
C: very very dark
N: rich but not too much oak at this stage
T: lots of berry fruit but by no means sickly extraction. Nevertheless somewhat hollow. Textured tannin. The oak cme through a great deal, but not criminally. Judgement reserved.
R: good

Marjosse, Bx. Sup.
This estate is owned by Pierre Lurton
C: excellent
N: attractive, open black cherry, pure, morish, not big
T: solid, chewey, good grip, very good finish.
R: very good

Girolate (Vignobles Despagne), Bx. Sup.
C: dark blackish red
N: bit dusty with smell reminiscent of fermentation, but nevertheless a good fruity core. Deep cherry.
T: big volume but hard with a somewhat empty framework. Lacking smoothness and richness. Nose better than palate. Massive but more the result of winemaking than terroir. Dry; Raisiny.
R: good.

Château de Carignan, Cuvée Prima, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux
C: very very deep
N: excellent, pure, dusty with fermentation odors. Good concentration.
T: sinewey. Heaps of cherry. Good acidity. Maybe a little too much of a "confectionery" side. Nevertheless very appealing.
R: very good.

Château Hostens Picant, Cuvée Lucullus, Bx. Côtes de Francs
C: fine
N: understated, unassuming
T: berry fruit, "wine gums", dry,
R: so-so

Bel Air Royère, Côtes de Blaye
C: fine
N: very sweet berry fruit
T: Big but hollow. Winemaking seems to have overcompensated in the acidity department. Tannins too rough. Oak overdone. Lacks freshness.
R: so-so.

D'Aiguilhe Querre, Castillon
C: lovely deep, deep color
N: fine sweetish bouquet but lacking depth. Strawberry
T: is this typical of Bordeaux? Only the aftertaste gives this wine's origins away. Sweetness on palate. Good volume. Granular aftertaste that is not the best part of this wine. Modern style wine that draws its character as much from winemaking as its terroir. Nevertheless:
R: Good to very good

Ampélia, Castillon
C: good, not quite so over the top as some of the previous wines
N: sweet, chocolatey, closed
T: a little flabby but sweet on the palate with acidity on the finish and dry tannin
R: good

Veyrey, Castillon
C: very good
N: pure and rustic, with black fruit
T: Rich but lively, redcurrant, lovely acidity, less artificial than some of the other wines. Strong textured tannin. Dryness on the end could be a worrying sign.
R: good to very good

Joanin Bécot, Castillon
C: deep, a little cloudy
N: not well-focused
T: unresolved. Dry, Not a good time to be tasting this wine.
R so-so

La Dauphine, Fronsac
C: deep but somewhat cloudy
N: fruity and a little biscuity with hints of stawberry, coffee, and vanilla
T: tightly-wound cherry core. Lovely acidity. Tannin comes to the fore as taste develops on the palate, but this in not too hard. In short, this wine goes from a soft easygoing entry to something fairly characteful and even unyielding - at this early stage. Broad based.
R: very good - a wine to watch out for (QPR)

Villars, Fronsac
C: blackish, lacks lustre
N: sweet and simple. Meaty. Straightforward.
T: lovely, mouthfilling. Coats the palate. Only a short aftertste keeps this from being in the finest category. Straightforward. Lighter in body than many of the other wines. Elegant and easy to digest.
R: very good

Moulin Pey Labrie, Fronsac
C: blackish
N: pure, brambly, sweet, black fruit and raspberry. Slightly musky. Open
T: heavy mouth feel but somewhat disjointed. Big and full on the atatck. Character reflecting its terroir. Healthy acidity and textured tannin.
R: good

Moulin Haut Laroque, Fronsac
C: very dark, but brilliant
N: pure, demure, feminine
T: good cherry flavours but a bit amorphous and short
R: good

La Vieille Cure, Fronsac
C: good
N: mineral, but too understated. Hints of candied fruit.
T: Lacking a bit of acidity and character. Biscuity. Cherry cough syrup. Easy-going except for tannins on the end. Unbalanced?
R: good

"Ambrosie" de Château Croix des Moines, Lalande de Pomerol
C: lovely dark color
N: closed-in. Sweet and deep. Forthright. Raspberry liqueur.
T: doesn't rise much above average, but OK. Merlot in a minor key. Too much oak?
R: good.

La Rivière, Fronsac
C: good, more brilliant than most
N: typical of its appellation. Drietd fruit aromas. Brambly and sweet, with toasty oak.
T: good and mouthfilling on the palate. Spherical going into toughish tannin. Will age soften the tannin?
R: good

Viaud, Lalande de Pomerol
C: dark and brooding
N: simple, pure, wildberry aromas
T: attractive palate that gives rise to the hope that this may be as attractive as the nose over time and that the various parts of the taste profile will come together. Fruity. Oaky, but this is well integtated. Elegant and morish.
R: very good

Grand Ormeau, Lalande de Pomerol
C: very deep
N: cranberry, sweet, beguilijng. Not as overoaked as in previous vintages. Fine.
T: Pure, but maybe a bit flabby. Puckery acidity neverthless comes through on the aftertaste. Sightly out of balance, but time may correct this:
R: good to very good

Perron La Fleur, Lalande de Pomerol
C: good
N: strong fermentation aromas.
T: poor showing at this time. Needs to be reviewed at a later date
R: not rated at this time

Fleur de Bouard, Lalande de Pomerol
C: purplish black
N: bit biscuity and perfumed. Closed-in but promising,. Good fruit. Oak is in control.
T: sappy and rich with a long, oaky aftertaste. Too much (toasty) oak. Overwhelming. Too monolithic on finish.
R: good.

La Sergue, Lalande de Pomerol
C: deep but maybe more brilliant than most. Excellent.
N: mossy, smells of the terroir. Little jammy - but damned good jam! Raspberry. Some residual fermentation stink at this time.
T: natural, rich cherry fruit that has been expertly captured. Serous. Long austere aftertaste. Average mouth feel but develops into an excellent aftertaste.
C: very good

Jean de Gué (Aubert), Lalande de Pomerol
C: good, deep
N: pure. Medium-fruitiness. Biscuity.
T: tight mouth-puckering tannins. Characterful. Dry, very oaky finish. More representative of its appellation than elegant.
R. good

La Gravière, Lalande de Pomerol
C: fine
N: OK, but nothing special. Perfumed aromas in the background
T: Mouthfilling, big, but finishes short and dry. Overly extracted. Needs plenty of time to get its act together.
R: good

Roc de Calon, Cuvée Prestige, Montagne St. Emilion
C: fine
N: toasty oak more than fruit at this stage
T: round, simple, and meaty with oaky, overdone finish
R: so-so

du Courlat, Lussac St. Emilion
C: fine
N: fresh, floral, pure
T: round, friendly,. Rich. Well-made. The terroir speaks here. Oak not too strong.
R: good to very good.

Faizeau, cuvée vieilles vignes, Montagne St. Emilion
C: lovely
N: sweet, pure cherry aromas
T: strightforaward but simple. Not impressive, but saved by the aftertaste. Too much oak..Lacks balance.
R: so-so

Viexu Château Palon, Montagne St Emilion
C: good
N lovely, lovely nose. Great synergy between fruit and oak. Much better than its appellation would lead one to believe. Ethereal.
T: Good texture, volume, and fruit. Tiny bit hot and oaky on finish, but this is not bothersome. A real crowd pleaser. A modern style, but successful. Surely good value for money.
R: very good

Château Trianon, St. Emilion (jointly owned and managed by Dominique Hébrard, son of the former manager and part owner of Cheval Blanc).
C: fine
N: pure, lovely berry fruit. The oak is discreet.
T: lovely, smooth mouth feel and good convergence of tannin and acid that do away with the easy-going initial impression on the palate. Toasty oak (too much) on finish. Good effort, and this is obviously a carefully crafted wine. But it should be left to express itself more naturally.
R: good

Roylland, Saint Emilion
C: fine
N: good natural berry aromas. Lovely, pure, just bursting with juicy fruit.
T: bit flabby. Plush, sensual. Good looking woman in a short skirt. Develops very nicely, but is there too much oak on the finish?
R: very good.

Jean Voisin, Saint Emilion
C: good
N: subdued but fresh.
T: mouthfilling but diluted. Big but follow. Too bad, because there are good aspects to this wine. It is nevertheless somewhat out of balance
R: so-so to good.

Rochebelle, Saint-Emilion
I had been wanting to taste this wine for some time, having heard very good things about it.
C: fine
N: slightly spirity, strong bouquet with ripe berry aromas
T: mouthfilling blackcurrant earthy twang. Tremendous grip. Concentrated. Needs time. A fine vin de terroir.
R: very good.

La Gomerie, Saint-Emilion
C: fine
N: low profile, spirity, low-key.
T: likeable, but not great. Tasty. Will the lashings of oak integrate in the future? No way this deserves cult status.
R: good

Sanctus du Château de Bienfaisance
C: superb, with purple rim
N: subtle and elegant
T: smooth, silky with generous warm aftertaste, but overly oaky and extracted. Big wine, but too much.
R: good

Péby Faugères
C: fine
N: lovely, subtle bouquet not dissimilar to Rochebelle. Pure.
T: Suave, morish, blackberry (bit hot and spirity, but not exaggeratedly so).
R: very good

Clos des Jacobins, St. Emilion Grand Cru Classé
C: very dense
N: typical of its appellation. Mineral and fruity (prune). Tad spirity.
T: lovely, rich Merlot. Very classic. A little dry on the aftertaste, may this impression may disappear with age. Too much oak, but not beyond the pale.
R: very good

Chavin, St. Emilion Grand Cru Classé
C: very dark
N: fine, brambly (black fruit & berries)
T: rich trademark chocolate on the palate. Toasty oak. Heavy mouth feel. Hot, oaky, and dry on the finish. How will this age?
R: good to very good

Ripeau, St. Emilion Grand Cru Classé
C: fine
N: pure, floral rather than fruity. Elegant, but too understated at this stage.
T: melts in the mouth, only the finish is not up to all other aspects of this wine. Good grip. Will age welle.
R: good to very good.

La Clémence, Pomerol
C: brilliant
N: lilting berry fruit. Very fine.
T: very refreshing, easy-to-drink. Both flowers and fruit on the palate. Excellent oak ageing. Long aftertaste
R: very good

C: especially deep
N: subtle, blackberry jelly
T: chunky, OK, but lacks finesse
R: good.

That makes 40 wines. Not a bad morning's work, eh?
However, there were three times as many as that which went untasted.
At that tasting alone - and there are tasings going on all over the place this week!

Best regards,
Alex R.
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Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:07 pm


Helsinki, Finland

Re: Tasting of 40 right bank wines from the 2005 vintage

by Otto » Sun Apr 09, 2006 8:25 am

Quite a tasting, thanks for taking the time to write notes! I recently had a Ripeau 1959 which was quite nice. I was surprised it was alive at all, but as you write that it will age well do they have a history for making wines which go the long haul thought not priced as such?

I do hope you will report on the other tastings going on.

I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.

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