I pulled a lot of wine from off-site storage this week, hence the notes on a lot of mature wine (with more to come).
I purchased a case of this on futures because I fell in love the the RMP-slagged 99 rendition after trying it at a big Stacole Bordeaux show (he even gave a tasting note I posted on Squires a backhand swipe after I said I thought Neal Martin nailed the quality of the wine - those were the days!) - FWIW, whenever I popped a 99 blind with Bordeaux fiends they would do backflips.
I popped a loner from the case just after release to see, and it was as full of acid, tannin and fruit as the early reports on the vintage suggested. Lots of great raw materials, but completely unassembled.
I didn’t expect to bury the case deep enough that bottle #2 would come out 12-13 years later, but lots of things changed, most notably for the purposes of this note, my tastes. This was the last case of Bordeaux I ever expect to buy. I have scattered wines from 08, 09 and 10, and a little closeout 12 Calon-Segur, but as great as the wine region is intellectually, they speak to my heart less often than other wines from around France and the world that are frequently more affordable (minus Burgundy).
That said, this is a spectacular wine with a long, long life ahead. Perfect fill, perfect cork. Dark color. Just a hint of ruby around the rim. If this is any indicator, 05 Bordeaux is moving ahead more slowly than 05 Burgundy, which is saying a lot.
Youthful nose. Only slightly evolved. Raspberry, blackcurrant, cassis, black plum. Not oaky at all in the nose. Where many Right Bank wines live off flamboyance, this has a vinous purity.
Texture-wise there is ferocious grip. The tannins are tongue-coating and the wine’s acidity is very intense (good!). The vintage was touted for having a lot of everything structural, and you can see reflected here for sure.
Behind the structure there’s beautiful purity of dark fruit, though it feels a little pent-up by the wine’s relative youth. There’s a stony, minerally note under the fruit which was what I found so compelling in the 99 - a wine that evolved more quickly, but calls back to this vintage.
Blind, unless someone is deeply experienced with Bordeaux and 05, I’m hard-pressed to believe anyone would guess the age. Hard to believe a Merlot-based wine could have this kind of brooding, forbidding structure. The wine is like a mountain range planted to dark fruit trees.