Decanter panel confirms quality ‘truly great’ 2005 vintage

An expert panel has confirmed the quality of the 2005 vintage in Bordeaux’s Médoc region, concluding that it is ‘a truly great vintage’. In a special report in July’s issue of Decanter magazine, three of the UK’s best-known Bordeaux experts blind-tasted a range of wines from chateaux located on the Left Bank (all of which were listed in the 1855 classification).  

When it was initially released the vintage was already being heralded as excellent, though over time it became overshadowed by the global financial crisis, then by the outstanding twin vintages of 2009 and 2010. Some were also concerned that the wine seemed to be very tannic. Ten years on, wine critics are reassessing the vintage now that the wines have had a chance to mature. Are the wines living up to the initial hype? The answer from the Decanter panel is a resounding ‘Yes!’

One of the tasters, Stephen Brook, enthuses that the wines were nearly all ‘very good to terrific,’ pointing out that such a result ‘is extremely rare in a Bordeaux tasting’. Similarly, Jane Anson describes the wines as ‘thrilling and thoroughly recommendable’ whilst legendary taster Steven Spurrier characterises the 2005 vintage as ‘a classic vintage: the Médoc at its best’. Perhaps surprisingly, the top ‘Outstanding’ ratings went not to the First Growth wines, but to Léoville-Poyferré (a Second Growth) and the relatively obscure (and not investment-grade) Boyd-Cantenac (Third Growth) and Cos Labory (Fifth Growth). However, this is likely because the First Growths are longer-term wines which have ‘not yet evolved to reveal their full majesty’.

Yet, as respectable as they are, Decanter panel tastings do not move the market; Robert Parker’s voice alone has this power and he is due to give his reassessment of the 2005 vintage at the end of June. With Decanter adding its voice to those of other prominent critics, including Jancis Robinson MW and Neal Martin, proclaiming the beauty of the 2005s, it would now seem odd for Parker to do anything but give the vintage his stamp of approval. When one considers that Mouton Rothschild 2005 has grown in value by 25% in the last six months since Parker upgraded his score for the wine to 99+ points, now is a perfect window of opportunity for investors to fill-up on 2005s before the re-scorings move the prices of other wines skywards.