HDH Wine

Annual Comparative Bordeaux Tasting
Vintages 2003 and 2005

Event description


Château Montrose
2005 Château Montrose
“One of my favorites of the tasting. Remarkable balance of flavors, typical of the 2005s. Clean and intense with bright and well delineated berry and tea flavors; finishes quite well with powerful but not overwhelming tannins. A very classy and elegantly structured St. Estephe.” Allan Frischman, Vice President

Château Calon-Ségur
2003 Château Calon-Ségur
“One of the few 2003 that I preferred to its 2005 counterpart. Meaty, round and fruity noise, excellent core of fruit, well balanced if on the sweet and lush side with a bit of St.Estephe dust and earth just a beautiful wine even at this early stage in its development.” Allan Frischman, Vice President

Château Cos d'Estournel
2005 Château Cos d’Estournel
“Trademark coffee with cream nose, soft pleasant oak touch. Lovely balanced and supple in the mouth, velvet tannins. A forward and approachable Cos with lots of life ahead of it.” Allan Frischman, Vice President

Château Mouton Rothschild
2005 Château Mouton Rothschild
“While still a baby, this wine showed all of the makings for a memorable Mouton. Great balance of acidity, tannin and alcohol mesh perfectly with the subtle black fruit to make a wonderful young wine. With patience, this will continue to blossom.” Nick Pagoria, Retail Sales Associate

Château Lynch Bages
2005 Château Lynch Bages
“Stately and demure the 2005 Lynch Bages is ideal for those in search for a classically styled claret. While still encased in hard tannins there is much evidence that this wine will continue to grow and develop beautifully for many years to come. Dark fruit flavors are joined by notes of spice box, pencil lead, and loam. A good dose of acidity keeps the wine bright and lively, while remaining well in balance. Once the tannins come into the fold this wine should shape up into a true treasure.” Jim Bradshaw, Warehouse Manager

Château Lafite Rothschild
2003 Château Lafite Rothschild
“Incredibly interesting nose that was unlike anything I’ve smelled in recent memory. With a very interesting mix of sweet berries earth notes and slight spice, the nose is already showing great depth. The wine is full bodied on the palate while still a little closed down, it had a good backbone of tannin that will help the aging potential. This was a very interesting wine and exemplifies the unique quality that the 2003 vintage is known for.” Nick Pagoria, Retail Sales Associate

2005 Château Lafite Rothschild
“The best wine of the tasting in my opinion. Beautiful lead pencil/ floral nose, classic Lafite. Textbook balance and structure with a solid core of concentrated fruit bordering on sweet. A bit of wood on the finish; very, very long. This is the whole package, all that you can want in a young claret.” Allan Frischman, Vice President

Château Latour
2003 Château Latour
“One of my favorites from the tasting… A beautiful nose of bright black berry fruit. Balanced fruit and tannin but still a very young wine with a long smooth finish.” Marc Smoler, Marketing Manager

2005 Château Latour
“Still somewhat tight but showing very well. Not as yielding as the '03 at this point, but I think that will change (in a couple of decades!), a great blue-chip addition to a serious collection.” Hart Davis Hart Wine Co.

The Setting
With guests from around the U.S. and from overseas, our annual comparative Bordeaux tasting was a smashing success. The crowd was buzzing with excitement as the beautiful ballroom at the Newberry Library provided the perfect setting for a memorable evening. A viewing of one of Thomas Jefferson’s letters on wine from the Newberry Archives proved delightful for the attendees.

The Vintages
The anticipation of tasting two of the finest, yet distinct, vintages of the last decade could be felt in the days prior to the tasting and as soon as the doors opened. The 2005 vintage was initially quite closed, but soon showed signs of great depth early in the evening. The wines consistently opened little by little, expressing all of the amazing quality that was a hallmark of the 2005 vintage.

The extreme heat of 2003 provided lower yields but also produced wines with amazing concentration of fruit. The result: an extremely accessible vintage, with fruit-forward aromas and flavors, but with a distinct flavor unique to the vintage.

The Wines
As expected, the first growth wines stole the show, led by Lafite and Haut-Brion (2003 Haut Brion $555 per bottle). The 2005 La Mission-Haut-Brion also showed extremely well ($450 per bottle) along with super seconds like Montrose, Palmer, Ducru and many others.
It was a fantastic evening and experiencing the breadth and depth of special vintages was a thrill. We look forward to next year’s tasting to experience two more exquisite Bordeaux vintages.


Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste
2003 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste
“An exceptional bargain, very fruit-forward, delcious, shows a bit of the heat of the vintage but still in balance. Stock up for current drinking.” Hart Davis Hart Wine Co.

2005 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste
“Great candidate for aging. Tasted from magnum so it wasn’t giving up too much. Still a bit tightly wound but still tasty.” Hart Davis Hart Wine Co.

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou
2005 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou
“Not as big as the 2003, really mellow and soft nose. A little tight, needs to open up more.” Anthony Sunby, Specialist

Château Léoville Las Cases
2005 Château Léoville Las Cases
“Lighter nose than the 03, still sweet but not as big. This had meaty elements, but was really mellow and soft. Again, needs more time.” Anthony Sunby, Specialist

Château Margaux
2003 Château Margaux
“For many, this was the wine of the evening. Margaux is usually known for its perfume and 2003 has it in spades. The aromas that came from the glass were like Xanadu - and I mean that in both the ELO and the Kubla Khan sense. Complex and intoxicating yet bright and forward - almost over the top. While absolutely delicious and intellectually stimulating, this was not typical Ch. Margaux. To me this was more a reflection of the hot vintage rather than Margaux. This seemed to be a prevailing theme in the comparisons I noticed, but even so this was easily my favorite ’03 of the night.” Jeremy Cozad, Consignment Operations Manager

2005 Château Margaux
“Classic, elegant Margaux perfume; Supremely well-balanced; powerful without being heady; so young, it seemed criminal to pull the cork. Depth and structure…a wonderful 2005, a wonderful Margaux. This is everything you’d want in benchmark, classic Bordeaux.” Jeremy Cozad, Consignment Operations Manager

Château Palmer
2003 Château Palmer
“Accessible and very nice. Not nearly as showy as the rest of the ‘03s in the room. Sort of like the one who hesitated about going to the dance showed up late. I wouldn’t be in a hurry to drink this, but it was very nice and pleasant on this occasion.” Jeremy Cozad, Consignment Operations Manager

2005 Château Palmer
“Very dense; very tight. Such a wee bairn! Silky ‘Palmer’ texture not quite in place. The perfume was elegant and cedary. A really classic style, almost reticent compared to its peers. Massive structure. Store this one!” Jeremy Cozad, Consignment Operations Manager

Château Haut-Brion
2005 Château Haut Brion
“An absolute classic! It smells like Haut Brion from a mile away with an absolutely stunning perfumed nose of red fruits and pipe tobacco. This is a well-structured wine with a hearty tannic skeleton and will need some on its side for a while with a long finish. I could have sniffed this one all night!” Dale Salentiny, Retail Sales Associate

Château La Mission Haut-Brion
2005 Château La Mission Haut-Brion
“Starting to close up a bit on the nose but still features the classic Graves tobacco and cured meat. Yumm….excellent weight, well balanced on the sweet side; bright cherry flavors and healthy but not overwhelming tannins. A generous mouthful with the structure to develop into something great.” Allan Frischman, Vice President

2005 Château La Mission Haut Brion
“This is a very good wine from a very good vintage with beautiful black fruits on the nose. The palate gives way to cocoa, cigar box and cassis. There was an unusually high amount of Merlot used in this blend but it's not very obvious. The wine well balanced but still rather young. This should continue to develop and only get better with age.” Dale Salentiny, Retail Sales Associate

Château Cheval Blanc
2003 Château Cheval Blanc
“Restrained, but juicy. Medium bodied wine with notes of smoky cherry. This wine is drinking well now, but could use another few years to peak.” Dave Domer, Finance Manager

2005 Château Cheval Blanc
“The opposite of the 2003 in body. This wine is a beast. Big, chewy tannins, darker fruit on the palate and notes of coffee on the nose. The Cab Franc comes through in this with some green notes on the nose, but I suspect with the age this wine deserves, that will even itself out.” Dave Domer, Finance Manager

Château Monbousquet
2003 Château Monbousquet
“It is easy to forget that some of the most exotic wines to be found come the the right bank and this 2003 Monbousquet is no exception. The nose immediately captures one’s attention with the sweet perfume of flowers and ripe berries. There are also strong notes of coffee, baking spice, smoke, herb de provence, and tapenade. The palate is still very youthful with ripe tannins and solid spine of acidity. This finish is exceptionally long with the wine’s more exotic elements carrying through to the end. This is one of those wines where the nose alone warrants the cost of entry. Spectacular.” Jim Bradshaw, Warehouse Manager

2005 Château Monbousquet
“Weight and structure, very well made, beautifully balanced with an expansive finish. Classic claret married to St.Emilion supple fruit. A remarkable value.” Allan Frischman, Vice President

Château Pavie-Macquin
2003 Château Pavie Macquin
“This stunning effort from St. Emilion illustrates just how well merlot fared in the 2003 vintage. Ripe, bold, and utterly engaging this wine delivers heaps upon heaps of blackberry and raspberry jam as well as secondary flavors of tobacco, earth, and a touch of spice. While many of the 2003’s are still showing inpenetrable tannins, this Pavie-Macquin is lush and very approachable now. There is a distinct New World quality to this wine given its ripeness, but its core is still very much rooted in the Old World.” Jim Bradshaw, Warehouse Manager

Château Clinet
2003 Château Clinet
“Bright garnet color, nose of red cherry, pencil shaving and hint of cocoa, lush attack with red fruit moderate acidity and balanced tannins. Drinking very well now.” Seaghan Brien, Cellar Associate

2003 Château Clinet
“While this wine may not be a blockbuster it is a very nice offering for those who prefer a more reserved style of Bordeaux. It displays a nice garnet/ruby color with a nose of flower, ripe berry fruit, and earth. The palate is delivers an equal balance of sweet ripe fruit, earth tones, and tannin. Overall the wine is understated and immensely drinkable. The finish leaves one with the more rustic qualities of the wine. It is hard to be certain now, but there could be enough here to sustain this wine for another 10 to 15 years.” Jim Bradshaw, Warehouse Manager

2005 Château Clinet
“Dense garnet color, complex red/black fruit nose, richer attack with hints of black cherry, balanced acidity and firmer tannin. Still developing.” Seaghan Brien, Cellar Associate

Château l’Evangile
2005 Château l’Evangile
“This 2005 was showing beautifully. It was more approachable than many of the other 05’s with great black fruit aromas and flavors. Full bodied but not overly tannic, this wine should age very well in the mid-term.” Nick Pagoria, Retail Sales Associate


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