Over the past month or so it has been a great pleasure to revisit a really great vintage in Sauternes. 2005 was known for its exceedingly dry summer, as this was the fifth hottest vintage since 1897. A good deal of rainfall in September helped ease the botrytis which later led to morning fog and ideal conditions at harvest. The resultant wines were ones that showed good finesse and ripeness from the abundant botrytis. These are wines that have less unctuous character than 2003 but they show better finesse and minerality. I might see the 2010 as showing somewhat similarly which also has great tension and verve but also excellent richness.
While I did not try the 2005 Chateau D’YQuem, the star of the vintage is the 2005 Chateau Climens (WWB, 100) which is up there with the best wine of thousands that I have reviewed over the past year. Words make it hard to describe how good this wine is but I can say that this wine deftly walks the tight rope between its unctuous character, beautiful terroir, its insanely good aromatic and flavor range and its vibrant mineral backbone. Quite a surprise was the 2005 Chateau Suduiraut (WWB, 97) which is massive, dense and layered with marvelous richness and acidity. This is a show-stopping Sauternes that you don’t want to miss. 2005 is shaping to be a great vintage to purchase at this stage, and you shouldn’t be afraid to open these wines now. Cheers!
2005 Chateau Doisy-Vedrines- The 2015 Doisy-Vedrines is a terrific effort from this great vintage. Quite powerful and focused, with an impressive mouthfeel, the wine delivers loads of beeswax, quince, vanilla creme brûlée and butterscotch flavors that mingle with the good sense of minerality. Medium to full-bodied, while this may not have the refinement of the best from this vintage, this is seriously good stuff at the fourteen year mark. Enjoy this over the next decade or more. Drink 2019-2033- 93
2005 Chateau La Tour Blanche- The 2005 Chateau La Tour Blanche is a seriously good wine that may not be up there with their 2003 but shows marvelously at this stage in its development. On the nose this takes on some marvelously good range from honeyed caramel to shades of wild mushroom and vanilla cream that all marvelously are woven together in the glass. Soft and inviting, the silky texture entices. A light salinity and stony character runs through the wine, delivering bright roasted pineapple, mango, and apricot creme brûlée flavors that sit nicely with the minerals. A delight to savor now, this still has a decade or more to go. Drink 2019-2033- 93
2005 Chateau Coutet- The 2005 Chateau Coutet opens with orange marmalade and butterscotch that mingles with shades of clove and cinnamon on the nose. There is a marvelous seamless quality that runs through the wine. Vanilla creme brulee, butterscotch and shades of roasted pineapple with stony minerals all enter the palate and mingle nicely together. While not particularly viscous, this has a great sense of minerality and balance. This finishes long with roasted pineapple cream. Drink 2019-2033- 93
2005 Chateau Rieussec- Highly refined and simply stunning, the 2005 Chateau Rieussec is a gorgeous effort that is only starting hit its stride. This intense wine begins with aromas of creme brulee, crushed white flowers, marzipan and hints of vanilla bean. The feeling of softness, power and elegance is quite striking as the wine unveils dense flavors of orange marmalade, poached pear, vanilla creme brulee and bananas foster. The viscosity and intensity of this wine is gorgeous, while the mid-palate glides into the exceedingly long and memorable finish. This beautiful Rieussec still has a long way to go. Drink 2019-2035- 95
2005 Chateau Suduiaraut- Showing off a brilliant golden hue, the 2015 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes is a monumental wine from this vintage. The citrus components to the nose really entice, as do the tropical fruits and wild mushroom accents that mingle with shades of clove infused pineapple upside down cake. The acidity and mouthfeel to the wine is scintillating, as is the silky texture and light sense of salinity that runs through the wine. The unctuous quality of the wine truly catches you off guard, as this tour de force unveils salted toffee, bananas foster, roasted pineapple and mango chutney flavors all seamlessly come together on the palate. The exceedingly long finish lingers. Remarkable and simply gorgeous at the fourteen year mark. Drink 2019-2040- 97
2005 Chateau Climens- This is the third time I have had the opportunity to taste this magical wine over the past year. The 2005 Chateau Climens is a simply astounding Sauternes. Showing off its golden hue, the wine starts off with an intense bouquet of vanilla creme brulee, honeyed ginger, roasted pineapple and suggestions of butterscotch. The nose is so compelling and complex that it makes you constantly go back to the glass for more. The palate is exceedingly good. Honeyed ginger, lemon curd, vanilla creme brulee, apricot jelly, macadamia nut and butterscotch. The range to this wine is just insanely good as the texture of this wine borders ethereal. Stunning, captivating and simply marvelous, this is a perfect wine made by Chateau Climens and superstar winemaker Berenice Lurton. Drink 2019-2055- 100