The perfect weather conditions in 2005 produced wines of intensely focused fruit, sparkling acidity, fine tannins and a brilliant freshness that make even the most powerful of wines seemingly elegant. The following are some of my notes from the barrels. I use a 3 Star system for barrel samples and it goes like this: 1 Star means good wine, I definitely like it and would buy it; 2 Stars means exceptional/great wine that I would love to own; 3 Stars means this wine will go down as one of the classics of all time. Margaux: Of all the great wines in 2005 I think this is wine of the vintage. 2005 is very floral with a fine perfume of perfectly ripe grapes. It is a big intense wine, so much power and richness, incredible mouth feel as well as mouth-coating sweet fruit and perfect tannins. The wine is huge and harmonious and at the same time elegant. Best I’ve ever tasted. 3 Stars *** Pavillion Rouge: Also the best I’ve ever tasted, this would be an outstanding first wine in many vintages, just a little bit lighter and less powerful than the first wine. Buy this one. 2 Stars ** Latour: Very intense, tight and complex. Deep old-vine aromas, deep black grapes, earth, leather and dark chocolate flavors. The firm structure and bristling acidity all combine to make this big wine elegant and fresh. The goal it seems was to make a legendary wine of pureness and power without over extraction to insure longevity while retaining the fine elegance and great freshness that is the essence of Bordeaux wine. This Latour captures all of it. 3 Stars *** Les Forts de Latour: The mantra for this vintage may be: “A truly great vintage for top Bordeaux 2nd wines.” It is here where it starts, Les Forts would be a fine Latour, the difference is the soft lush fruit, which is more forward and make this wine taste great even now. 2.5 Stars Ducru-Beaucaillou: Fine and floral aromas of perfectly ripe grapes on the nose continue all the way thru this incredibly elegant wine. Sweet-grapey, lush finish! Wow great wine!! 2.5 Stars for now, and could move to 3. Léoville-Las-Cases: Incredible strike of powerful red fruit and roses, a powerful core of masculine tight red fruit has a beautiful sweet middle that will eventually open up and blossom into greatness. As always patience is the requirement. 2.5 Stars ** and could be 3. The second wine, Clos du Marquis, is off the charts and by far the best I’ve ever tasted! A beautiful thickness of red fruits and sweet tannins. 2 Stars ** for sure and could move up. Léoville-Barton: As usual in a great vintage, Anthony and Lilian Barton have made a huge wine loaded with everything! Incredible amounts of intense black-purple fruit of boysenberry and blackberry exploding in all directions! The wine has a lot of integrating to do, but the key is that the tannins are round and under control. 2.5 Stars and could be 3. Langoa-Barton: Bright blood red fruit, intense flavors of cranberry and raspberry, well focused and strong. This wine continues to be one of Bordeaux’s greatest buys. 2 Stars ** Palmer: An attack of powerful, spicy cabernet sauvignon hits you right off in the nose as well as violets and roses, followed by deep blackberry fruit and framboise on the palate. The tannins are big but sweet and lead to a dark chocolate/raspberry torte finish. Flashy! 2.5 Stars Vieux-Château-Certan: The epitome of elegance is featured here. Beautiful, perfectly extracted in the grapey fruit. You can actually see thru this wine, incredible purity in the mouth, finely focused with a great clean finish. Perfect wine! 3 Stars *** Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions or advice on the wines of Bordeaux at ex 2723 or Ralph@klwines.com. Cheers and Go Giants! —Ralph Sands
René Collard is a cult Champagne producer in France who is becoming increasingly popular here in the U.S. He is also immensely popular in the U.K. Hence, his sparkling wines have been referred to as English in style. Composed almost entirely of pinot meunier, they are aged in oak and are reminiscent of a Champagne style popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Collard is quite literally the banner holder for history in a bottle. He also produces his wines ONLY in the finest vintages. The Collard wines are getting very popular here at K&L for both their unique style and quality. The 1990 Cuvée Reservee Millesime ($49.99) is the only cuvée that Collard produced in the 1990s. Made of 90% pinot meunier and 10% chardonnay, with no malolactic fermentation used and fermentation done entirely in oak. The classic Collard nose is there. Mushrooms, a slight hint of sherry and spicebox aromas distinguish this wine from any other that we sell. On the palate, truffles, melons, cognac and a touch of vanilla, which will come out more as this wine ages. These Champagnes do age magnificently! I was fortunate to have the marvelous 1969 with Gary. Our newest arrival from Collard (one that has been out of stock for some time) is the 1985 Cuvée Speciale Brut Rosé ($69.99). The Rosé is composed entirely of pinot meunier with 88% of it vinified as a white wine and 12% vinified as a still red. It is the only Rosé that Collard produced in the 1980s (along with his 1985 Cuvée Reservée Millesime). One of the most striking things is the color of the wine: a deep blood orange. It has a marvelous nose of cherries, yeast, toasted nuts and bread dough. In the mouth, strawberry liqueur, light yeast, sherry and mandarin orange notes. Simply unique and delicious! A perfect match with duck or roasted game hen. Although this Champagne is outstanding now, it should cellar quite well for the next four years or so. —Scott Beckerley
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