Last Wednesday a small collection of friendly wine traders got together, thanks to Alistair’s organisation, to drink some 2005 Bordeaux. This followed on from two previous sessions with different themes Tuscan 2004’s & Barolo 2004’s.

The brief was to bring a bottle that released at under £50 a bottle. The venue was the Portland Restaurant. They did a good job in the private room. All the bottles had been double decanted in late afternoon.

My notes below are not as in depth as they might have been as frankly it was a fun crowd and we did a wonderful job of distracting each other. It was though very useful as an exercise:

Pavillon Blanc de Château Margaux – Our only white, and apparently the 5th or 6th bottle of this that had to be opened to get a “good one”. There was a warm vintage Sauvignon feel and a slightly sweaty edge, a character I quite like in these wines. Lanolin and cheesecloth too but the finish is not quite what I should be. 15/20

Lafon Rochet 2005, Saint Estephe – Soft and pretty supple but not lacking in a bit of grip and a slightly rustic edge, no criticism. Ready from now on for sure. 16.5/20

Clerc Milon 2005, Pauillac – Quite polished but not in a disjointed way. This was classy and a little glossy, another 2 years or so the oak on the nose should integrate. Good fruit there. 17/20

Grand Puy Lacoste 2005, Pauillac – More berried fruit and sweeter, more intense with a savoury and iron like side to it, more energy, very good, a step up and whilst good now this has more to give, really nice. 17.5-18.5/20

Lagrange 2005, Saint Julien – Smokey, quite sexy and easy to appreciate. Dark fruits. A good hedonistic glass of claret, will age but I am not convinced there is more complexity to come. 17/20

Malescot Saint Exupéry 2005, Margaux – Always just “Malescot”, It struck me that there was a little more extraction, a little more inkiness. There was a real youth to it, high acidity and high tannin too. Served blind I would have thought this a 2010 not a 2005. For that reason alone I wonder if it is totally balanced. 16.5/20 (this may be harsh).

Rauzan Ségla 2005, Margaux – I thought this was good, my notes just have a tick which is good news if rather unhelpful. Supple with good balance and not over-worked. 17/20

Domaine de Chevalier 2005, Pessac-Léognan – This really impressed me and along with the GPL might just have been the top two wines. There was a good combination of red and black fruits. This is serious with a good savoury edge and a very proper feel about it. Long and balanced. 17.5-18.5/20

Roc de Cambes 2005, Cotes de Bourg – A wine I know really well, mostly because I keep drinking it. Good freshness and not too much volume then that trademark “Mitjavile Mocha” note. Ready now but no rush. 17-17.5/20

Latour à Pomerol 2005, Pomerol – This was less good bottle than the really good one I had here. A real shame. Very muted. No score

Canon 2005, Saint Emilion – Very ripe, good richness too, nose very encouraging the palate was a little extracted and possibly a little drier than you might want. Time will tell, a keeper? 16.5-17.5(?)/20

We then had two “imposters” – Le Dome 2000 which had been opened but not drunk the previous night. I wondered it is might be an 2003 but I think that might have been more down to the air it would have seen. Colleagues were much closer. A wine with a long life ahead I think and a more savoury character. The second was Volnay 1er cru Champans 2012 from d’Angerville which I had brought on from a press Lunch for the d’Angerville’s 2014’s (blog to follow soon). I was a little unfair after so many richer reds because a lighter, arguably more elegant, wine will always show well and so it did.

So conclusions from the 2005’s – proper vintage, good balance in general, no overriding impression on tannin, acidity and alcohol. It was not a waste to have opened any of these but I would certainly say that 2005s need a good decant at this stage.

Good stuff…what next chaps?