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Last week I attended the claret tasting at the Institute of Masters of Wine in London, an annual event which always looks at the vintage from four years before, so this year it was naturally the turn of the 2005 vintage. Strange, then, to find two interlopers in amongst all the other wines, which included Mouton, Lafite, Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion, Margaux, Cheval-Blanc and Petrus (so not a bad tasting to travel down to London for, even if it does mean a 4:20am alarm to do so).

I spotted the Figeac, which had been pulled from the line-up and was on a separate table, but it was only through the diligence of another that I spotted that the Rauzan-Gassies was the 2006. As to why these two estates chose not to conform top the theme of the tasting, I simply don’t know. Perhaps (although very few of the other wines seemed awkward or closed down) they felt their 2005s not to be showing well at the moment?

Chateau Rauzan-Gassies 2006: Bright fruit and toasty oak here. Polished, slightly plump in style, but with appealing aromatics, smoky charcoal. The palate has less substance than a number of other wines especially at the second growth level (although to be fair this was tasted in a room full of other wines from the superb 2005 vintage), with a slightly juicy, loose-knit element to it. A ripe, gentle substance, slightly fleshy texture, and a good tannic core, this certainly shows the good results of recent efforts at Gassies, although it still lags behind its peers. Good grippy finish though. 15+/20

Chateau Figeac 2000: A very elegant nose, curranty, defined, stylish and rich, with a beautiful smoky, green peppercorn element to it alongside the crunchy dark fruit. The palate is surprisingly stark in terms of texture, not fleshy, but certainly full of character backed up by an appealing structure. Attractive iron and bloody meat flavours. This wine, although still showing a lot of structure, with good grip in the finish, already exhibits some very appealing and mature aromatic qualities, but there is more elegance and harmony due on the palate I think. The wise will leave this alone for a while yet…although it certainly gives pleasure now. 17.5+/20

I will publish my notes on the other wines tasted, all from the 2005 vintage, next week.

4 Responses to “Non-conformists”

  1. Sir. Wonderful notes, thank you. I am finding your Bordeaux notes remarkably useful, and look forward to reading more on the 2005s.

  2. Thank you anonymous. My 2005 notes went online today, I hope they are useful to you.

  3. Chris – interesting the Figeac was pulled, but I do find this wine is almost a-typical of modern Bordeaux and is more “intellectual” than some other wines when young. Personally I love the stuff and can imagine that such a young Figeac would not show well in such a young tasting.


  4. Good point Paul, although they did show the previous vintage in last year’s 2004 Bordeaux tasting. Perhaps they weren’t happy specifically with where the 2005 was at the time of this tasting?