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En primeur second day: 2005 comparisons persist

On the second day of en primeur, reactions continue to be overwhelmingly positive – though the 2009 vintage still faces a formidable rival in the great 2005.

While the verdict from Decanter’s team continues to be a variant of ‘outstanding’ at every tasting, there is some slight hesitation as to the ageability of some of the wines.

Robert Gorjak, for example, after the major Cru Bourgeois tasting at Chateau de Malleret in the Medoc, said the vintage ‘definitely lives up to expectations. Freshness and balance are the keywords, and great definition of fruit.’

Though he found only the smallest handful of wines that were overripe, many are almost drinkable now, he said. 2005 was a ‘finer’ vintage and 09 is ‘not quite so tight’, with the implication that ‘they will age but perhaps not as much’.

At the same time, Peter Sissek of Spanish icon Pingus, who also makes wines in Bordeaux, told Decanter blogger Stephen Brook the ‘beauty of the vintage’ was that colour and fruit were natural and not extracted.

‘I suspect the best wines will prove to be the ones that don’t have enormous tannins and extraction. It’s a vintage that resembles 1982, only most wines are much better made.’

James Lawther MW, who reports on the right bank, told decanter.com, ‘The emphasis on fruit puts it in the modern era,’ echoing Steven Spurrier’s words of Monday. ‘The wines have fruit and perfume but it’s still Bordeaux.’

Lawther singled out Vieux Chateau Certan, Petrus, Lafleur, L’Evangile, La Conseillante, L’Eglise Clinet, Trotanoy for five-star awards. His highlight was the ‘sublime’ Lafleur at 19.5 points.

He considers the wines ‘structured for long ageing, but appealing early on. They are a pleasure to drink now.’

He too compared the vintage to 1982, ‘but with all the refinements – no heavy yields and all the sophistication of 21st century winemaking.

‘This is definitely a vintage that can take its place alongside 2000 and 2005: it will go down as one of the great Bordeaux vintages.’

Responding to comments on Facebook and elsewhere that the Right Bank, in particular St Emilion, is ‘variable’ in quality, Lawther said said it was naive not to expect more variation in style and quality in such a big region.

‘St Emilion is 5,500ha, Pomerol is 800ha. Of course you are going to find wines in St Emilion that perform less well.’

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Written by Adam Lechmere in Bordeaux

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