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by Paul Lin

Paul's interest in wine extends beyond simple appreciation and enjoyment.  As an academic, he's never without his notepad and pen, and he loves to analyze a wine the way a scholar might pore over a fine piece of literature.  After being bitten by the wine bug during graduate school, Paul embarked on his wine journey out of a sense of intellectual curiosity and romantic self-indulgence.  Recently, he has turned his sights from simply drinking and writing about wine to actually making the stuff.  In 2007, under the label Terra Novus, Paul produced his first barrel of Pinot Noir from grapes from the Sonoma Coast. 

2005 Bordeaux - April 26, 2008


Tasted April 26, 2008 at the Wine Exchange in Orange, CA. According to the organizers, all the 2005 red Bordeaux were opened the previous day and then double-decanted before the tasting.


  • 2005 Château Malartic-Lagravière Blanc - Graves, Pessac-Léognan
    Notes of gooseberry, wet stones, and sea shells. Crushed minerals and straw on the finish. A very clean and precise wine. WA 91-93, WS 90. (88 pts.)

Rive Droite

  • 2005 Domaine de Courteillac - Bordeaux Supérieur
    Rich aromas of cherries flambé, scorched earth, and pain grille. The palate is not as opulent as the nose, with good cherry fruit and some green herbs. The tannins at this point overtake the finish. WA 87-88, WS 90. 86-87 points. (87 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Carignan Prima - Entre-Deux-Mers, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux
    I was told that the density planting of this vineyard is what leads to the high extraction. 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. Very strong stemmy character on the nose, along with some cassis. Dense palate of cassis, loamy soil, anise, and dried herbs. WA 86-88, WS 90. 85-86 points. (85 pts.)
  • 2005 Esprit de L'Église - Pomerol
    60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc. Bold aromas of cassis, blueberries, vanillin oak, and stem. Creamy palate with floral overtones and notes of crushed raspberries and cassis. Very structured finish. (88 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Rouget - Pomerol
    84% Merlot, 15% Cab Franc. Aromas of cherries flambé, scorched earth, chocolate-covered espresso beans, and dried herbs. Sexy and silky on the palate, with pure black cherry and blackberry fruit, ripe tannins, and excellent structure. WA 90-92, WS 92. 91-92 points. (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Château La Croix St. Georges - Pomerol
    96% Merlot, 4% Cab Franc. Seductive aromas of cassis, wet minerally soil, anise, and herbs. The palate is very polished, with black cherries, blackberries, and crushed minerals on a sound architectural frame. WA 90-92, WS 92. (90 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Gazin - Pomerol
    85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cab Franc. This wine oozes a kind of masculine fecundity. Dense aromas of cassis, blackberries, brown stems, and rich wet soil. Still very tight on the palate, with structured notes of stem, black currant, and leather. Very long finish. WA 90-93, WS 94. (89 pts.)
  • 2005 Trois Origines - St. Émilion
    80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cab Franc. In contrast to the Gazin, this wine is very feminine. Floral aromas coupled with notes of wild raspberries, vanilla, and spice. Texturally very smooth, with black cherry and cassis on the palate. Good acidic spine, but the finish tapers off rather quickly. WS 89-91. (88 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Les Grandes Murailles - St. Émilion
    I was told this property is right next to Clos Fourtet. 95% Merlot, 5% Cab Franc. Incredibly dense and rich nose of cherries flambé, scorched earth, grilled plums, and espresso beans. Both smokey and savory on the palate, with notes of cherry crepes, Indian spices, and crushed minerals. Long caressing finish. WA 91, WS 91. (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Larcis Ducasse - St. Émilion Grand Cru
    78% Merlot, 20% Cab Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a very refined wine. Delicate aromas of black cherries, red plums, bittersweet chocolate, and pain grille are followed by a lithe and polished palate of tart cherries, red currants, rose water, and smoke. Not a bruiser like so many 2005 Bordeaux, but elegant and very delicious. WA 96-100, WS 95. (93 pts.)

Rive Gauche

  • 2005 Château D'Escurac - Médoc
    I really did not care too for this wine. Notes of sour cherries and fecund earth on the nose. On the palate, it was simple and flat with some cassis and earth notes. A disappointment considering the vintage. WA 88-89, WS 86. (82 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Larrivet-Haut-Brion - Graves, Pessac-Léognan
    50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon. Lavish and dense aromas of cherries flambe, espresso beans, scorched earth, and pain grille. Equally rich on the palate, this wine explodes with lush blackberries, kirsch, smoke, and wet soil. An excellent 2005 for the price. WA 89-91, WS 88. (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Haut-Bailly - Graves, Pessac-Léognan
    56% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cab Franc. Complex aromas of ripe blackberries, cassis, red currants, dried herbs, and crushed rocks. A bit hollow in the midpalate, but elegant notes of red currants, cassis, minerals, and smoke. Very structured finish; the tannins are still quite woolly at this stage. WA 93-95, WS 95. 90-91 points. (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux - Margaux
    Perfumey aromas against a backdrop of sour cherries, earth, bay leaf, and pain grille. Even though this is second wine, it still shows its pedigree with notes of sour cherries, red currants, rose water, and blackberries. WA 91-93, WS 92. (92 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Lascombes - Margaux
    52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot. Wow, what a terrific wine! Lavish and seductive aromas of mixed berry crepes, scorched earth, espresso beans, and pain grille. Sensuous on the palate, with exotic notes of blackberries, kirsch, Indian spices, and smoke. Ripe tannins and long caressing finish. WA 94-96, WS 93. 93-94 points. (93 pts.)
  • 2005 La Croix de Beaucaillou - St. Julien
    67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot. Aromas of cassis, blackberries, smoke, lead pencil, and wet soil. Nice palate of blackberries, minerals, and spice. Firm acidity. WS 91. (89 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Gloria - St. Julien
    Masculine aromas of cassis, blackberries, dried herbs, stem, and earth. Surprisingly soft on the palate, with notes of black cherries, blackberries, and Indian spices. WA 90-92, WS 92. (88 pts.)
  • 2005 Château Lagrange St. Julien - St. Julien
    56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot. Dense aromas of blackberry, cassis, spice, and lead pencil. Very minerally on the palate, with additional notes of cassis, spice, and crushed rocks. WA 91-93, WS 93. (88 pts.)
  • 2005 Château d'Armailhac - Pauillac
    Bold aromas of blackberries, cassis, plum, dried herbs, and lead pencil. Refined on the palate, with sensuous notes of cassis, vanilla, and smoke. WA 90-93, WS 90. 89-90 points. (89 pts.)


  • 2005 Château d'Arche - Sauternais, Sauternes
    I thought this was pretty average for a Sauterne. Strong waxy notes against a backdrop of poached apples, dried apricots, and graham cracker. Bitter and angular on the finish. WS 92. 85-86 points. (85 pts.)


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