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04.19.2006

Do Many 2005 Bordeaux Wines Suck?

Any wine lover who pays attention to what's going on in Europe, or anyone who reads this blog regularly will have heard the hype about the 2005 Bordeaux harvest. While wine marketers have a habit of using the phrase "vintage of the decade" far too often for their own good, it certainly seems that 2005 had something going for it in Bordeaux. The pre-release prices for the first growth Chateaux are stratospherically high and the wine world is abuzz with the excess of it all.

It was only a matter of time, then, before we heard from someone who thinks it's all a load of bunk. Thanks to fellow blogger Jamie Goode, I enjoyed this somewhat odd article from the Times of London in which Jane MacQuitty basically says that an awful lot of the 2005 wines aren't actually all that great.

In what seems to be a pretty deliberate wet blanket on the whole vintage, MacQuitty goes on to say that many wine makers have just overdone it -- in a sort of Dionysian revel they have made wines of excess -- too much extraction, too much oak, too much fuss. In short, she claims that as many as 25% of the major wines of this vintage are so flawed.

Unfortunately she doesn't name names (a tough thing to do as a wine journalist when you're criticizing) and doesn't get into a lot of detail about whether and why these are wines that other, more influential critics have liked. As a result her article ends up sounding a bit sourpussed instead of analytical.

Still, it's amusing to hear a voice running against the grain of so many others. Read the full story.

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