Bordeaux 2005 (Fine French wines)

Bordeaux 2005 Vintage Most wine experts would describe the Bordeaux 2005 vintage as "a text-book harvest for all of Bordeaux. The sun shone almost permanently and the showers came exactly when and where required to add the final touch, and all this after a dry hot season, during which what little rain there was fell just before all the vital sequences of the vine's cycle.

Chateau Beaumont

Positioned on the left bank of the Garonne, between Saint-Julien and Margaux, Chateau Beaumont draws its finesse and delicate qualities from the deep gravel of the best soils in the Haut-Medoc.

General tasting notes: First tastings revealed very dark, fleshy Merlot with well-rounded tannins, very dark and fruity Cabernet Sauvignon and exceptional Petit Verdot, very bright in colour and well-structured.

Chateau Malmaison

Malmaison wine provides an outstanding accompaniment for lamb, fowl and small game (partridge or pheasant, for example).

General tasting notes: Very dark purple in color, showing aromas of mineral, dark chocolate and licorice. Full-bodied, with silky tannins and a fresh, clean finish. Layered and pretty. Very, very balanced. Close to the excellent 2000.

Chateau Valrose

Deep plum, dark chocolate and currant aromas follow through to a full body, with soft, velvety tannins. This is long and beautiful, with loads of fruit and texture; it is a very pretty wine.

General tasting notes: Medium to high acidity, green apple fruit with a nutty finish.

Chateau Sansonnet

The vineyards of Chateau Sansonnet lie on an exceptional terroir which is composed of an argilo-limestone on rocky subsoil which is only a spade's depth in some places. The small vineyard is 17 acres and the wine is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc.

SB-post wine review 13-Dec-09

Chateau Sansonnet is evidence that you can find value in Bordeaux. It comes from a retiring Bordeaux chateau, which has a fine vineyard and a great location just beside the expensive Trotte Vielle. Sansonnet is owned by the d'Aulan family, the former owners of Champagne Piper-Heidsieck. Money has been lavished here and it shows. Though very ripe with initial strawberry touches, blackcurrent, leather and hints of soft caramel build in the mid-palate, it still has some raw, tannic grip which could do with two or three more years aging or long decanting, but this is a fine wine at a repectable and justifiable price. It begs for long-roasted beef or duck.

General tasting notes: Dark chocolate and blackberry aromas follow through to a full body, with lots of juicy fruit, soft tannins and a long aftertaste of coffee and berry.

Chateau de Fieuzal (Grand Cru classe)

Chateau de Fieuzal are superb ambassadors of the Graves style. The wines are delicate when young, never over fruited or extracted and develop just beautifully into mineral driven, supple wines of a most inimitable mouth feel and finish.

SB-post wine review 12-Oct-09

The excellent vintage from Chateau de Fieuzal marks yet another rung gained on the quality ladder by Irish owner Lochlann Quinn, since he and his wife Brenda acquired the property in 2001. Wine critic Robert Parker gave it 90-point rating and it has all the signs of being a wine that will evolve and mature over the next decade. Right now it is in a dense, muscular phase, with firm tannins, perky raspberry notes and an odd but appealing blend of chocolate and orange peel. Overall it is balance and savoury leading to a mid-bodied, medium-length finish of some grip. Though it had at least another year or two to reach an early peak, if decanted now it absolutely begs for succulent game, rabbit or braised beef.

General tasting notes: The finest Fieuzal in many years, the deep ruby/purple-hued 2005 offers up scents of plums, cassis, figs, damp earth, blue fruits, tobacco leaf, smoke, and hints of truffles.

Chateau Lamothe-Guignard

The great sweet wines of Bordeaux, Sauternes, are among the most decadent, complex and simply enjoyable wines. Based on a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc that has been infected with the "noble rot", Botrytis Cinerea, Sauternes are rich, honied wines bursting with notes of vanilla, coconut, dried apricots and subtle spice tones.

General tasting notes: A light nose, with floral hints, as well as papaya, star fruit and honey. Fruit forward, with apricot, stewed pineapple and white pear, and accompanied by vanilla bean, cinnamon, clove and honey.