JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

JULIAN'S FINE WINE BLOG

A tasting I don't think I'll ever forget

Posted by hitnerwine on January 25, 2008 at 2:14 PM
Tasting (most of) the 'classified growths' of Bordeaux from the superlative 2005 vintage

Before I begin, it has probably come to the attention of some of my readers (all ten of you) that I seldom add to my Fine Wine Blog.

Make no mistake, it is not because I do not sample fine wines on a regular basis that I do not make frequent postings on my blog (rather the reverse), but because most of the fine wines I get to taste are from a purely analytical standpoint, which, in my view, is only a small part of the pleasure of tasting wine.

Allow me to elaborate.

Personally, I prefer to taste wine in a more social setting, such as with family members and close friends (and even a few colleagues, such as those at George Brown College --- there are some wonderful, gifted and friendly folks in my class). Hence, though many people might have great fun at tasting countless wines at, say, portfolio tastings, I consider such exercises to be purely analytical in nature, and, thus, not wholly conducive to good cheer.

The best way to taste wine? For me, it is always with good food and fine companions, without tasting sheets and long periods of quiet examination. In addition, I believe the best way to taste wine also involves not being surrounded by hundreds of people in a large (or even a small) room, not always having to jostle one's way to the food table for a few morsels of edible goods, and not having to speak with overly-enthusiastic wine agents.

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My personal tirade concluded, I would now like to discuss the marvelous tasting I attended at the Four Seasons Hotel on the evening of January 22, 2008. The tasting featured some of the greatest estates of Bordeaux (excluding the 'First Growths'), whose representatives (there were also many owners present) were pouring from the glorious 2005 vintage.

Never before have I tasted so many seemingly-perfect wines at once! The wines of Margaux were gorgeously perfumed; the wines of Pauillac were polished and powerful; the wines of St. Julien were unbelievably sensual; the wines of
St. Est?phe were reserved, yet complex and dignified ... you get the idea.

What the hell! To continue: the wines of St. Emilion were plump and forward; the wines of Pomerol were sexy and luscious; the wines of the Graves were boastful and ageworthy; and the Sauternes were balanced and beautiful.

Put simply, practically every important estate in Bordeaux seems to have made a great wine in '05. I certainly had a few favourites (that is, from what was available to taste, as there were many important estates missing at this event). In no particular order (excluding the first), here is a list of some of my favourites: (1) L
?oville-Baron; (2) Pichon-Baron; (3) Angelus; (4) Coutet; (5) La Conseillante; (6) Giscours; (7) Smith-Haut-Lafitte; and (8) Lafont-Rochet.

Next time, however, I only hope to be able to enjoy these wines without having to be so analytical about them, as well as without all those things I've already mentioned.

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