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Opening cru bourgeois 2005 wines – Ask Decanter

Is now the time to enjoy these wines?

Steve Garrett, by email, asks: When 2005 was touted as the best Bordeaux vintage since 1963, I ferreted away as many bottles as I could afford from trips to France. Not first to third growths, but the lower levels of the ladder: cru bourgeois châteaux such as Caronne Ste-Gemme, Meyney and Le Boscq.

I have dipped an occasional toe in the water with the odd bottle, but mainly resisted the temptation to dive in. Should I now take the plunge? Are these modest Bordeaux wines still in need of time, peaking or past their best?

Jane Anson, a Decanter contributing editor and our Bordeaux correspondent, replies: You definitely picked a brilliant vintage for long-ageing wines, and even at cru bourgeois level these should still be tasting excellent and not past their prime.

This wouldn’t be true, by the way, in the smaller appellations like the Côtes, where wines are almost always better to be drunk in the first 10 years after bottling, even in great vintages such as 2005.

I would, however, definitely start opening and enjoying them now, as they should be at their peak. Good Bordeaux can always surprise you with how long it can age, especially Cabernet-dominant wines from the Left Bank as you have here, but you’ll get great pleasure from these wines now.

This question first appeared in the June 2020 issue of Decanter magazine. Look out for Jane Anson’s feature on the new cru bourgeois 2020 ranking in the September 2020 issue of Decanter.

See also:

Anson – New cru bourgeois ranking: Will it hold up?

Bordeaux first growths: How does the 2000 vintage taste now?

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