The 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape has the unenviable task of following the 1990 and does with some chutzpah. A cornucopia of scents: brambly red fruit, Kalamata olives, black pepper, Seville orange marmalade and fresh-picked fennel. Whereas the 1990 has reached its aromatic peak, you feel as if this has more in reserve. The palate is medium-bodied with pliant tannins, a satin-like texture with fine depth. Seamless, harmonious and sensual, there is a trace of rosemary and sage towards its precise finish. You could almost describe this as “clinical,” yet that would be a disservice to its personality and charm.
Anticipated maturity: 2023-2055
Full bottle 1,322 g. Pale ruby with a rust rim. Delicate nose suggested refreshment but the end of the palate has the warmth of the region. Tannin almost dissipated and masses of sweet fruit with sufficient acidity. Fine and spicy. Very long and throat-warming. I’m tasting it at room temperature but I think I’ll put it in the cellar before serving.
Anticipated maturity: 2020-2033
Robert Parker 96+
Showing the more structured, savory and austere side of the vintage, the 2005 Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape will be 20-30 year wine. Offering up lots of darker fruits, gunpowder, ground pepper, truffles and licorice, it has full-bodied richness, a beautiful texture and no shortage of tannin or acid, both of which make themselves known on the finish. This is a wine to hide in the cellar for at least another 4-5 years, and it will still be going strong in 2030+. I don’t see this matching the 1995 or 2007, but it’s not far off.
Anticipated maturity: 2020-2035