I'm going to stop writing formal notes for the stand-up tastings at WineRoute as they're not very accomodating to that sort of thing. It's hard to find a spot to write down notes and I find it even harder to pace myself so I wind up double checking myself against Parker and WS scores at the checkout counter anyway. A few informal observations and comments, though.
2005 really does seem as good as hyped, but since the prices have gone up, the quality/price ratio has remained the same at the Cru Bourgeois level. It's just that it's easier and safer to purchase the wines, since you're less likely to make an ass of yourself. Having said that, there were a few disappointments at the tasting from that vintage.
The 2004's tasted were better than what were offered at the 2004 tasting this fall, which is odd since presumably these are the wines WineRoute hadn't been able to sell since. The same goes for the single 2003 tasted, which would have trumped over half the 2003's I tasted at the 2003 tasting.
I'll start with the duds. The Arnauld, Haut Medoc (129 NIS) was too oaky. It softened some in glass but most of its minor charms seemed to come from the barrels, not the fruit. The d'Agassac, Haut Medoc (199 NIS) and the Senejac, Haut Medoc (199 NIS) were both over-ripe and liquor-ish, with sweet tannins, ringers for 2003's. The Cissac, Haut Medoc (149 NIS) was just boring. The Labegorce Zede, Margaux (249 NIS) hints at typical Margaux class but is similarly undistinguished.
The Potensac, Medoc (229 NIS) was balanced enough so a slight jaminess is reined in but I think it's just too expensive to bother to buy, for what it has to offer. The Siran, Margaux (399 NIS) is simply not a credible buy. The Chasse Spleen, Moulis en Medoc (295 NIS).
is a better value but at just about the same price, the Sociando Mallet 2004 is a much, much better buy.
Beyond these, there were three good buys at mid-range and one, Citran, Haut Medoc (179 NIS), that is marginable. The Charmail, Haut Medoc (179 NIS) was the most backwards wine offered at the tasting, but has a well balanced structure. The d'Escurac, Medoc (199 NIS) has a well delineated nose and good acidity, though it's just too scrappy right now. Finally, the Maucaillou, Moulis en Medoc (199 NIS) is a charming extrovert that seems like a wine for early drinking, over the next 5-7 years.
The de Pez, St. Estephe (249 NIS) is as elegant as an extrovert can be, with red currants and leather. A terrific tannic structure. Like I said, a very good 2003 and a sensible buy.
I don't remember liking the 2000 Poujeaux, Moulis en Medoc (199 NIS) as much as I liked the 2004, which is quite a surprise. A bit rough and masculine, and much to my liking as such, I'd buy it on discount.
The real star of the tasting was the Sociando Mallet, Haut Medoc (299 NIS) which had complex aromatics and a Pauillac mouthfeel. Very fine tannins. Exactly what I look for in Bordeaux. Not very far behind was the Phelan Segur, St. Estephe (299 NIS) which is not as open but seems a more powerful beast. Less finesse on account of that.