2005 Haut-Bages-Libéral, Pauillac (3L)
Barrel sample. Very opulent, generous and rich. It shows all the glories of the vintage, with huge but sufficiently restrained fruit, and exuberant tannins.
Very aromatic, showing blackberry and currant aromas, with some licorice. Full-bodied, with supersilky tannins and a rich, decadent, fruity finish. Caresses the palate. Stylish and opulent. Best after 2011. (JS)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2005 Haut-Bages Libéral offers loads of blackcurrant fruit, licorice, spice and forest floor. It is medium to full-bodied, with supple tannin and an expansive, textured mouthfeel and finish. Drink it over the next 15-20 years. (RP)
Effusive aromas of ripe currants, creamy oak, smoke and dark soils make for an impressive beginning here, yet, once on the palate, the wine holds back a bit and falls short of expectations. While it is supple at entry, it runs up against a wall of finishing tannins and its fruit struggles to keep pace. It will benefit from six to ten years of aging, but belief that it will rise to top ranks requires a slight leap of faith.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Good ruby-red. Cool aromas of blueberry, licorice and shoe polish. Sweet and lush, but with very good energy to the rather high-pitched flavors of dark berries, spices and licorice. Dry and classic wine, finishing with substantial, slightly tough tannins that call for patience.
*+ Perfumy nose and some nice ripe fruit on the palate. Good middle and fine length. Steve says: Fairly rich with a creamy chocolate middle. (Clyde Beffa, K&L Bordeaux buyer) This is one of the most sought-after, value-for-points wines of 2005.