Stylistically, Latour Haut Brion is fragrant and supple; profoundly so in 2005. It may be the high percentage of Cabernet Franc (41%) which makes this wine stand out. It has an ethereal presence which is delicate yet complex. Drink 2011 - 2022+.
Beginning in 2006, this vineyard became part of La Mission-Haut-Brion's second wine, so 2005 willbe the final vintage of La Tour Haut-Brion. That's a shame as many superb, under-the-radar wineswere produced under this moniker in the forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, and early eighties. The 2005 is a 2,000-case blend of 41% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot, and 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, a relatively high amount of Cabernet Sauvignon for a Pessac-Leognan property. It offers classic notes of scorched earth, asphalt, smoky black cherries, and roasted herbs. Medium-bodied and tannic, it is an excellent, but not inspirational claret that should be at its finest between 2013-2025.
The very last vintage (starting in 2006 this vineyard became part of the second wine of La Mission-La Chapelle), this dense ruby/purple-colored, well-textured, broodingly backward 2005 is a 2,000-case blend of 41% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot, and 27% Cabernet Sauvignon. Displaying notes of scorched earth, smoke, and asphalt, medium body, and elevated tannin, it needs 7-8 years to reveal its full potential. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.
Dark ruby/purple-colored with a smoky, barbecue spice, mulberry, and black currant-scented nose, this strong effort reveals more body, density, and length than usual. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2020.
32% M, 27% CS, 41% CF. Particularly blackish crimson. Extraordinary depth of colour. High-toned, very Cabernet nose but with great luscious ripeness too - much riper than I ever remember La Tour tasting at this time of year. Full and opulent - and almost odd because of its lack of customary rigour. It does have a backbone but the tannins are so fine. Almost delicate! Drink 2015-30
Black in color. Intense yet subtle aromas of currant, raspberry and flowers. Full-bodied, with big, silky tannins. Racy.
Stretching from the rather unglamorous southern suburbs of Bordeaux, for 50 km along the left bank of the river Garonne, lies Graves. Named for its gravelly soil, a relic of Ice Age glaciers, this is the birthplace of claret, despatched from the Middle Ages onwards from the nearby quayside to England in vast quantities. It can feel as though Bordeaux is just about red wines, but some sensational white wines are produced in this area from a blend of sauvignon blanc, Semillon and, occasionally, muscadelle grapes, often fermented and aged in barrel. In particular, Domaine de Chevalier is renowned for its superbly complex whites, which continue to develop in bottle over decades. A premium appellation, Pessac-Leognan, was created in 1987 for the most prestigious terroirs within Graves. These are soils with exceptional drainage, made up of gravel terraces built up in layers over many millennia, and consequently thrive in mediocre vintages but are less likely to perform well in hotter years. These wines were appraised and graded in their own classification system in 1953 and updated in 1959, but, like the 1855 classification system, this should be regarded with caution and the wines must absolutely be assessed on their own current merits.