My Bordeaux 2005 tasting notes

2005 Château Roquetaillade La GrangeWell, I'm fresh back from my Bordeaux 2005 tasting, which was held in my kitchen.

Now that I've arrived in the bedroom and I reach for my laptop with the hand opposite to the one that's cradling my glass of Graves white wine, 2005 in Bordeaux has really sunk in as being one of the finest vintages I can recall.

Alright, I admit I don't have a firm grip on what most of recent vintages in Bordeaux were like. What, you're expecting Jancis Robinson here? While I do find her one of the most demystifying wine writers as I indicated here, I am choosing to be even more down-to-earth. So click her link in the sidebar to read her full report or continue reading this post if you want a more basic approach to the current Bordeaux yields, the topic that is continually capturing the wine world at the moment.


Here's the deal. I wanted to partake in all this new amazing vintage talk, but in a way that would benefit me and others like me, who are of simple means. I wanted to know if the affordable 2005 Bordeaux bottles that are coming out now (only whites for the time-being) have noticeably improved. So to best compare the current offering to previous vintages, I took a 2004 and a 2005 of the same bottle and tasted it blind. Here are the results of my investigation.

  • Tasting things blind really require blind tasting glasses -- the kind that are made of black glass and shield any perception of colour. Because I don't have any, I could immediately differentiate the current vintage from the old one. The 2005 was obviously more lightly pigmented than the 2004, which had a gold tinge to it. I didn't need to taste anything to tell the vintages apart.

  • When I turned out the lights and started over again, I made more headway:
    • The bouquet on one was of lemongrass; on the other, it was softer and more reminiscent of white flowers

    • On the palate, the first one possessed a silky texture and notes of litchi -- it was very balanced and refreshing; the second one was less so and instead had a weightiness to it that was marked by thoroughly ripened and slightly spicy fruits

    • As for a finish, the first one excelled: it was what I consider perfect for a lively Sémillon-Sauvignon blend, harmonious and delicious with traces of vanilla lingering amid the citrus flavours you'd expect. Yes, the first glass I had been tasting throughout was the 2005. It was remarkable and at $15, this 2005 Château Roquetaillade La Grange (clickable, above) is highly recommended.

  • Finally, this tasting made me realize how ageing impacts a wine and how that affects comparison, especially for white wine which are generally "drink now". Comparing a new vintage to previous years in side-by-side tastings can never be a perfect gauge unless you are referring to tasting notes made when those previous vintages were new. When you base your comparison on how a wine tastes during the same period in a wine's life, you more accurately assess the value of a particular year and, in this case, best determine how formidable 2005 in Bordeaux is.

Okay Jancis you win. 2005 is your year. See you and your notes next April.


Tim Jacobs said...


I'm glad to see that you're intrepidly posting away. I loved the Bordeaux kitchen tasting: keep up the fine wine writing; it helps those of us in the wine-blogging doldrums out.

By the way, you have excellent taste--Chateau Roquetaillade LaGrange is a lovely wine, red or white, and a supreme value in my books. The 2000 vintage (red) is a true gem. I had the white 2004, I think, last summer with my in-laws and it was also a real hit.


Mike said...

Hi Marcus,

Two colleagues and I from the International Wine Review have also tasted lots of wines from around the world in my kitchen. But late last October we decided to do the real thing and went to Bordeaux to taste the 2005 Cru Bourgeois in the Médoc. It was a great decision. With the help of the producer's Alliance de crus bourgeois du Médoc we managed to taste blind (not in the dark) more than 100 wines from 2005 vintage. Our overall impression--very favorable and the results of our tastings will be published at the end of February in the International Wine Review's Issue #10. Our tastings of other affordable Bordeaux are also on www.i-winereview.com

How does 2005 compare to other vintages? We liked several of the 2004, 2003 and 2001 from top cru bourgeois producers like Chateau Chasse Spleen.

Thanks for the tip about Chateau Roquetalade La Grange.