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Wine of the Week: 2005 La Fleur de Bouard, Lalande-de-Pomerol

Fri Apr 24, 2009

La Fleur de BouardOkay, I have to be honest here—when I first tasted many of the 2005 Bordeaux at last year’s UGC (Union des Grands Crus de Bordeax) tasting in Santa Monica, I wasn’t exactly a fan. For all my excitement about getting to taste Mouton and Cheval Blanc out of the gate, wines that I had only read about, my actual experience was less interesting. Many of the wines were huge, tannic monsters that made your mouth feel like it was stuffed with wine-saturated cotton balls. Subtle cassis, raspberry, anise and coffee notes lurked beneath the surface, hinting at what was to come, but after 20 or 30 wines (I was spitting, I promise) I had the worst case of palate fatigue. Discerning aromatics or flavors was next to impossible another 10 wines in, and all I was left with in my notes were comments about structure and texture.

I’ve been barrel tasting before, and up until the UGC tasting had prided myself on my ability to taste past a wine’s youthfulness, to anticipate its potential. But I realized that Bordeaux was a different animal entirely. At a tasting like the UCG, you’re not trying to determine what the wine might taste like in six months or even a year, you’re trying to gauge the quality of something that, most of the winemakers would hope, will sit in your cellar for a decade or more before the cork is popped. In that case, my crystal ball was quite blurry, particularly since I haven’t had the opportunity to taste many of these wines over time, to have a frame of reference of how they would evolve. It made me appreciate my colleagues at K&L with 30-plus years of experience even more. Not only had they tried many of the wines we sell in their astringent nascent stages, they have watched them mature—first like parents, surprised at how life influences their children, then like grandparents, with decades of life experience lending a little insight into who their grandkids will become.

Now, more than a year later, I’ve had many opportunities to try these wines again and again, and I’ve come to say I’m reevaluating my position. In just a year, many of these wines have shed their outer armor. That’s not to say they’re stature is any less impressive, just that they are a little more giving each time I try them. Give a bottle a few days of air and it becomes a lithe dancer instead of a brute clodhopper.

I haven’t bought any 2005 Bordeaux yet, but I think the time is nearing (while, unfortunately, the selection is dwindling). And while I know I can’t afford the extravagant price of some of the vintage’s top bottlings, I’m reassured by many of the chateaux’s second wines, which are often more approachable to begin with. One such favorite is the 2005 La Fleur de Bouard from Lalande-de-Pomerol. Made by Hubert de Bouard, the elegant, graying winemaker of Chateau Angelus, this Merlot-dominated Bordeaux is earthy and sweet, showing cassis and red cherry, anise and tobacco and Scharffen Berfer cocoa nibs with just a little air. It fills your mouth and coats your teeth, but it comes across integrated, a complex whole instead of disjointed parts. With just a few more years in my wine fridge, the wine will have relaxed enough to share its inside secrets, and I’m excited to learn what it has to say on the subjects of first impressions, big brothers, and patience.

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2 Responses to “Wine of the Week: 2005 La Fleur de Bouard, Lalande-de-Pomerol”

  1. Food Woolf Says:

    I’m with you. In the past Bordeaux has had a way of alienating me. But in the past few weeks, something has changed and I’m feeling a little more friendly towards the blend. Great write up and amazing insights. As always. 🙂

  2. Cesar Perez - forex Says:


    This wine is very excellent.

    In my past dinner party, i´m open one of this wine bottle and was a great success dinner party.

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