jamie goode's wine blog

Monday, April 10, 2006

There's a curious article in The Times newspaper today, occupying the whole of page 3, on Bordeaux 2005. There's a big picture of pickers at Haut Brion accompanying it. It's rare for wine to be given such prominent billing, so what's the story? Jane MacQuitty has decided that Bordeaux 2005 sucks, mostly. The message she brings is that it could have been a great vintage, but "some producers could not resist the temptation to meddle with their wines and, in doing so, they have caused another setback for Bordeaux and the French wine industry." I decribe it as a curious piece because every other report of the 2005 vintage has been glowing. She adds:

"Among the mistakes made by the meddlers are leaving juice in contact with grape skins for very long periods, resulting in over-extracted wines. In some cases skin and pips have been left in contact with the juice for more almost three weeks during the fermentation process. Producers have also tried to create a greater concentration of flavours by bleeding off juice, but in some places the result has become overbearing."

A perplexing piece indeed. What do you think?


At 1:23 PM, Blogger FiloBianco said...

Well, I have not tasted any of the 2005 but rarely I have seen critics going one way so much. It can't be that bad... I think it is much more difficult evaluating the ageing potential after so little time after harvest...

Thanks for listening


At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Shon said...

It sounds like she's more critical of what she thinks as the over-extracted style that is being produced. This is a criticism which is often levelled at Bordeaux chateaux who make wine deliberately for Parker's taste. I think that's the sub-text of her piece.

At 6:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jamie,

an interesting article by JMcW and I think she's simply makeing a critique of the "overextraction" school who, even in vintages which are ripe try to get too much - of everything - on the pursuit of the points (or at the behest of the flying winemaker/consultant oeneolgist)

I don't think she is haveing a downer on the vintage - she does think it's a remarkable year - but on the manufactured wines that will be produced.

Great blog btw - I might post the McW link on the UKWF?


At 9:22 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks for your comments. I'd add an addendum - I think it's an appallingly written piece, and it undermines JmcW's credibility. If you are going to get your wine writer to deliver a lead story, she needs to take the chance well - I think she failed badly here. Her's is a non-story; more of an opinion piece, and it shouldn't have been on page 3 of The Times.

At 1:56 PM, Anonymous pivu said...

Just politics, UK against Parker and the rest of the world. Continuing the story around 'Pavie' 03.

At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree it seemed a very disjointed piece, almost as though what might have been a good article had been meddled with by an over extracting subeditor.

At 3:17 PM, Anonymous JohnMc said...

I wonder about Jane MacQuitty sometimes. I recall that her view of the 2000 Bordeaux vintage was pretty negative, saying it was overhyped as the Millenium vintage etc. Suffice to say, 2000 turned out pretty well! While having some very valid points about the "Parkerisation" of wine, it is a continuing theme of hers and she seems to lose the ability to take overview on the situation sometimes. Cheers John

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous keith prothero said...

People whose opinions I respect,have been very positive about 2005,and I have no reason to doubt that this will be one of the top 20 vintages of this century,probably the best of this decade at the very least.
Hence I will be a buyer of EP2005 and JMcW opinion holds little weight with me-----------now if you had written the piece Jamie--------well !!!!!!

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Panos K said...

This is my first posting on this blog, and the topic is apt. In 2005 - after tasting Bordeaux from barrel last week and the week before - the problem of overextraction was limited. Really, as Jancis Robinson recently wrote (I was in her blind tasting group during en primeur week), it was a pleasure to taste most of the Bordeaux wines from barrel!

Perhaps late picked Merlot posed some problems for wines that were overly "worked" ... That was the imrpession I had with some "modern styled" Right Bankers, while tasting the 120+ wines of the Cercle de Rive Droite. But there were also some gems in that tasting, even at the AOC Bordeaux level.

At Cheval Blanc, Pierre Lurton told me that it was wiser to pick Merlot earlier than later in 2005 -and certainly not to extract too much through macerations and pumping overs. Jean-Claude Berrouet, winemaker at Petrus, was even more emphatic on that point - and his Petrus was really brilliant this vintage. "A red wine," he joked. Indeed, one could see through it - a far cry from some of the oil black thick wine blockbusters of today. Pavie is a good example, although I tasted it twice, both blind. The first time it was rather fresh, if evidently substantial. My notes were rather laudatory, the first time around, but the second time - among the Saint Emilion 1st growths - it looked and felt like 10W40 motor oil and showed some volatile acidity on the nose (tomatoes). Certainly a far cry from the more subtle, yet also very brooding in its own way, Petrus. Also, I submitted quotes to this story in Decanter (http://www.decanter.com/news/82851.html ) on 2005 in Bordeaux, also addressing alcohol levels.

Here also an earlier article on Bordeaux harvest times in 2005: http://www.wineint.com/story.asp?sectionCode=1&storyCode=2001.

Meantime, I would like to present a link to a great tasting I went to in Paris on March 27 this year at the three-star Michelin restaurant Le Cinq. Three branches of the omnipresent Lurton family hosted, along with winemaker Denis Dubourdieu - I also got a Decanter article out of his comment that non-filtering obsession is like pilots trying to land without air traffic control (http://www.decanter.com/news/82394.html).

Anyway, here is the link to the tasting, which included a trio of great Yquems (1975, 1988 and 2001) plus Cheval Blanc 1989 and some great Brane Cantenacs (2000, 1999, 1996, 1986 and 1983) La Louvieres (2000, 1998, 1989) and Couhins Lurton (1990 and 2001) among others.

Finally, my website includes posted notes on an early visit to Bordeaux, a sort of 2005 prelude:


For anyone interested, I can send you complete tasting notes from barrel samples tasted in Bordeaux, via e-mail.

In case you are wondering, I am an independent wine writer based in Strasbourg France and have been writing professionally about wine since 2000 for various magazines, including Decanter, Wine and Spirit, Wines and Vines, France Today, and others.


At 4:32 PM, Blogger Panos K said...

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