Monday, November 10, 2008

Three 2005 Bordeauxs

When the critics started going nuts for the 2005 Bordeaux vintage, I thought to myself, "Well, that's it. I ain't getting none of that stuff." Sure enough, when the bottles started to arrive in the U.S., they were either snatched up lickety-split or priced well beyond my extremely modest means. Then the monthly mailing from importer Kermit Lynch came through the mail, offering three 2005s at reasonable prices. This is my only chance to get some 2005 in my cellar, I thought. So I bought a mixed case, four of each.

I had to wait out the summer before the case arrived; the distributors didn't want to risk cooking the case. Recently I tried one of each in quick succession; the rest will be put away for a rainy day. Verdict: a good investment, particular the one Haut-Medoc, Chateau Aney.

I didn't know a thing about Aney before drinking this satisfying, understated, medium-bodied Bordeaux. Created in 1850, the Chateau Aney was given "Cru Bourgois" classification in 1932. The 2005, a comfortable 13% alcohol, has a lovely nose of red current, dark cherry, grass, brush and mild tobacco. On the palate, it was well-structured with mild-to-medium tannins, and flavors of cherry, dust, raspberry, rhubarb and more underbrush. I'm sure this is what Lynch thinks a Bordeaux should be. I agree with him.

The other two were a Chateau de Bellevue from St. Emilion and a Chateau Belles-Graves from Pomerol. I liked them less well, but that's my usual bias regarding these often overripe regions. But they're still good wines with potential. The Bellevue is organic and hand-picked and aged in new French oak. It comes in at 13.5% and is inky purple with a deep, dark cherry and plum, spicy nose. It's full-flavored, with the plum joined by blueberries, purple grapes, subtle spice and a tarry bottom.

Belles-Graves is a Lalande de Pomerol. It has a happy, harmonic nose of brush, blackberry, current and dark red fruit. The medium-bodied mouthful has black spice at its center, with fresh and baked red fruit all around it. Some tar, some dill. Not heavy-handed at all (it's only 12.5%).

Can't wait to revisit them in 10 years.

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