A tale of two 2005 Bordeaux: La Vieille Cure and Fleur Cardinale.

Opened a couple of Right-bank 2005s that were justifiable, cost-wise, for me to test-drink for some science, right here in the global epicenter. Bottles were purchased at, and stored since, vintage release.

2005 Ch. La Vieille Cure, Fronsac

Enjoyed with roasted stuffed pork loin dinner.

Dark crimson, a little bloody opaque (should have stood up bottle for a few days to clear out sediment).
Menthol, cigar, meat, dry herbs, young Bdx bouquet.
Tannic, puckering acid, solid core of fruit, touch of broth, dry herbs and unobtrusive hints of oak. Dense but compact structured. Long finish.

At the very least, some prolonged cellaring can tame tannin into a more rounded experience.

A modern styled wine, although I can’t recall New World wines I’ve had that offer similar level of quality Bordeaux experiences at the same price point (~$20).

2005 Ch. Fleur Cardinale, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

Learning from last week’s 2005 La Vieille Cure, this was stood up for 4 days, then double-decanted at 6 hours before dinner. Able to dump out 1 inch of gunky liquid, but decanting didn’t do anything else to make this approachable.

Deep dark ruby red. Subdued olfactory, except for discernible menthol and fresh wood.

A big wine that was simply young, painfully. Ultra tannic, mouthfeel of nails/nuts/bolts/tree-bark on the approach. Tightly-knit structure that I noted (liked) with most 2005s during at-release tastings. High acidity, tons of ripe fruit and fresh oak. Notable alcohol content. Tongue-smacking lengthy finish.

I’m sensing that this wine will find a wide appeal with global wine consumers, especially after several cellar years as it begins to offer softer impressions with its international-winemaking mode.


I recall the frenzy to buy the latter. Winner’s Curse.

pretty labels!

La Vieille Cure was a favorite of mine back in those vintages, and it really does as well in many “lesser” vintages as in vintages like 2005.

I haven’t bought or drank one in awhile, it’s probably worth another look. I agree, you would struggle to find similar quality and character at the same price in the USA.

I always beat this drum, but the many great QPR Bordeaux like LVC are the kinds of wines you’d love to see on restaurant wine lists but almost never do. They could sell for $40-60 on the list, are drinkable on the young side, have character, go with food.

Thanks for the note. I have a bottle left, and will hold on to it.


I thought about noting that information in my TN. That hype at the old board which I will admit I fell for (hence, I’ve 5 more bottles) and, as I recall, it was based on the high Parker score bestowed on a relatively less-known producer. I’m not sure but I think that the high score still stands today.

Speaking of the labels, and I’m just being trivial here, LVC’s label to me screams out that it’s one rustic, old-school, wine. Oh well.

On the other hand, that simple one from Fleur Cardinale is more on line with is true style (at least for this vintage).

I’ve only had the 1990 (fairly recently @ about 3 - 4 years ago), 2000, 2003 and this 2005. Now that I think about it, in general, I’ve not been let down by any.

Agree and I’d also love to find this in restaurant lists.

Yw, Dan.

I have only had the '05 Le Vieille Cure. I drank a bottle in '18 and it was good but needed more cellar time.

On the Fleur Cardinale I have not had an '05 but the '04’s have been drinking well inn the last few years.

Very interesting. I’ve recently had both of these wines, and my experience was almost the opposite of yours. With the Fleur Cardinale I had low expectations. A bottle a few years ago had seemed very modern and showed a ton of oak. So, I was very pleasantly surprised by the bottle I had about two months ago. It was young but but quite good.

I had an '05 LVC two weeks ago and it was mediocre. I’d enjoyed this wine young and thought it had potential to age, but have been disappointed. My prior bottle was corked, and this may have been mildly corked as well. Notes on CT show many corked bottles of this vintage of this wine. The '09 has also been disappointing (ripe, flabby), but the '10 has seemed more promising.

Had almost the same experience with 05 and 09 LVC. Bought on release cause of high Parker scores. Lessons to be learned. Won’t buy again. Modern styled bordeaux. Not my cup of tea.

Thanks for the note Ramon. Have a few 05 LVCs somewhere/somehow. I save it for my Cali Cab friends [cheers.gif]. I agree that it seemed to present great value on release.


While completely different areas, I have always favored Fleur Cardinale, especially in cooler years like 2006, 08, 11, 12, 13…LVC remains great value, but not on par.

Those are the friends whom I’ll usually pour these, and few similar wines that I still have, to. Btw, I also have other friends who’ll like anything that I, the wine-geek, serve. [cheers.gif]

Thanks for the added info. Will look to try cooler-vintage Fleur Cardinal.

I would look for in order…2004, 2006, 2008. All still young, and show St. Emilion vs. the growing season in warmer vintages that get all the press. 2007 was a bit awkward, so only tried an initial bottle and haven’t gone back.

I had a bottle of the 2004 LVC at Marseille in NYC off their list. I think it was maybe $60ish. Normally I wouldn’t have done that but it had some bottle age on it, so I figured it wasn’t egregious. The wine was good but quite tannic, even with decanting. I hope that restaurant is still around but I’d fear for its type; regional French is a luxury that our new normal is unlikely to tolerate.

I’ve dined at Marseille a couple of times many, many, many years ago and even up until recently, whenever I walked by, I’ll declare that it is the primary, if not the busiest, French bistro in the Hell’s_Kitchen/BroadwayShows neighborhood. Given their prominence in popularity and with a seeming lock on their proprietary cuisine in one of the city’s busiest tourist dining space, I’d bet that they’ll be back in the groove of things when the air clears. It’s a spacious restaurant by NYC standard and I figure that they can find a way to navigate social distancing restrictions that will be imposed.

I just hope that they’ll have more definitive phone responses the next time I call to ask about pricing/restrictions on their byo-wine policy.