A wine writer often depends on the kindness of generous friends to do his job effectively. While it is true that we travel to wine regions (some of us, incessantly) to taste new vintages, it isn’t easy to form a definitive opinion at such an early stage.
The uncertainty is particularly keen in Bordeaux, where one frequently tastes cask samples selected by a winemaker and unfinished wines. But there are also opportunities to taste wines a bit later in their life.
The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux organises tastings of young wines in cities throughout the world as are they are about to ship to the market. The Institute of Masters of Wine also hold tastings in London and California four years after the vintage. Even at this point, however, the wines are very youthful.
The happy few will taste older vintages with the auction houses, but forums for tasting a full retrospective of mature Bordeaux are few indeed. For this, one must rely on passionate collectors to offer bottles carefully stored in their cellars.
One such collector is the indefatigable Mark Taylor of Atlanta, Georgia, who has for years arranged tastings there for his fellow wine lovers and select visitors from out of town.
See the top-scoring wines from this Bordeaux 2005 retrospective
The following wines all scored 93 points or above