12 Feb 2015 I thought it might be interesting to re-read this report written before the last grapes were picked in view of my rave review of the 2005 bordeaux at 10 years old published on Monday. Rather more positive than any report on the 2011 bordeaux on which Julia reported in admirable detail this week. See Bordeaux 2011 – Southwold whites for the last of her three reports.
23 Sep 2005 Bill Blatch (pictured) of Vintex, one of the most communicative members of the Bordeaux wine trade, sends this report:
The harvest is becoming a dream come true. Showers ten days ago broke the drought, followed by the rest of last week clear and fine with strong, drying north winds. Heavy rain was forecast for last Sunday and Monday, but they never came. It has continued fine, clear and sunny, with very cold nights. So now everything is more than perfect. If that forecast had been right, the vintage was almost an exact replay of 1995, when heavy rain compromised the Merlot harvest and accelerated the Cabs. Now, 2005 is beginning to look like what the 1995 would have been if it hadn't rained.
The dry whites are all finished now, and have great 2000-type bold constitution, with maybe less aromas than some would like, but that's always the refrain in a powerful vintage. (Remember '90, '00 and '03.)
Most Pomerol and plateau St-Émilion is now finished, the late-harvesters on the Right Bank (garagistes, Pavie, Angélus types) are generally starting today. Most Médocs have started this week, just a few next week. It is almost certain they will get the Merlots in in great condition.
I'll be in the Médoc later today and will see some Merlot musts, but by all reports they are absolutely beautiful: rich (13°5 to 14°5), fat and very densely coloured. Tannins are very rich and easily extractable, and almost no one is doing saignée and even less any artificial concentration.
Then, it's just a question of hoping this weather holds for another ten days to allow for the Cabs to be harvested in equally ideal conditions. It matters less for the Cabs than the more fragile Merlots if it doesn't.
Meanwhile down in Sauternes, the 'golden stage' (golden grapes at about 15° through ripening) is giving way to concentration through botrytis, which is coming on very fast now and the first real tries will start over the weekend, and then it all depends on the weather. There is universal botrytis and we don't want it to get wet.
This could be the big one!