See Decanter's vintage guide for Sauternes and Barsac 2005
Sauternes and Barsac 2005
Everything came together beautifully in 2005, and in terms of power and elegance, the vintage may well become one of Sauternes’ most classic.
As with the rest of Bordeaux, the drought was the outstanding feature of the summer. 2005 was the second driest year since 1897 and between June and October, the fifth hottest. Interestingly, Sauternes’ other hot, dry years (2003, 1949, 1921, 1906 and 1899) have all proved great years for the appellation.
However, to start the necessary botrytis, you need moisture, and between the 8th and 12th September about 30mm of rain fell, more than for the entire months of August, July or May. This was followed by perfect anti-cyclonal conditions, with the classic morning fogs and afternoon sunshine. The harvest kicked-off late September, and while lack of rainfall during the growing season reduced yields, the reduction was not dramatic.
Top-class wines from both appellations, with all producers emphasising the purity of the botrytis and resulting must – key precursors to a great Sauternes vintage. The wines are rich, though less so than 2003, and lower pH gives them great freshness, hence balance and complexity. They are typically concentrated and opulent, and should age for decades.
Though the Barsac appellation actually lies within Sauternes, its wines are typically racier and lighter. The 2005 vintage is no exception, though they are noticeably weightier than usual.