Wednesday, July 22, 2009

2005 Chateau Branon: Overrated By Both Parker and Vaynerchuk

Chateau Branon
The title of this post might suggest to some that I didn't like the 2005 Chateau Branon. That is not the case. In fact, I liked it quite a bit. However, I think it was rated way too high by both Robert Parker and Gary Vaynerchuk. Wow, using both of their names in the same sentence is kind of strange. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of Gary, I shop more at Wine Library than at any other store in the country, but it's still weird. Parker rated this wine 96 points and Gary on one of his shows rated the barrel sample at 94-98 points. Hmm... I don't see it.

The nose was a little closed off, but showed nice hints of Cherry Reduction, Cassis and Rich Soil. I really had to get into the glass in order to pick up anything else though. Some of this I can attribute to the fact that I only decanted it for an hour and a half and it is after all, a 2005 Bordeaux. Not exactly the most drinkable wines when young. The mouth is extremely tart and dry. I liked it a lot more than most of the young tannin filled wines out there, but I needed it to calm down. It finally did around the 3rd hour of airing in the decanter, but by that time I was nearly done with my meal and could only enjoy the last couple of sips with it being perfectly ripe. The finish is massive, with lots of big juicy, mouth puckering tannins.

There are only 500 cases of the 2005 Chateau Branon to go around, which is okay with me because for $75 (Futures Price) there are a lot of wines I'd prefer over this. Maybe in 5-10 years it will calm down and open up more, but right now it's totally unapproachable. I am not alone in my thinking, Wine Spectator rated the 2005 Chateau Branon 91 points, which is much closer to where I'd rate it. I have one more bottle and in 5 years I'll come back to it. Perhaps Gary and Parker are right, maybe it's a dynamite wine and my immature palate and lack of wine knowledge were my downfall on this particular occasion. Normally I am right on track with both of those critics, Parker especially. But not this time. I think this is a case of a great wine being overshadowed by so many other great wines at this price point. The fact that it got such a high score is really shocking to me. I did notice that Gary helped to choose the final blend in the 2006 Chateau Branon. Is this a coincidence? I hope not.

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