Bordeaux 1995 tasting – Right Bank wins
As a wine geek, living and working in London really is superb. Hot on the heels of drinking some excellent aged wine at the weekend, I had a truly mouthwatering tasting lined up for this week. At the start of the year Roberson sent out an email with their upcoming tasting events and this one stood out like a beacon. Bordeaux 1995 horizontal.
Before Xmas I attended a Leoville Barton vertical, where you taste a number of wines from a single property from different years. A horizontal is tasting wines all harvested in the same year from different properties. And what properties… Including Mouton Rosthchild and Cheval Blanc. The type of wines I could only ever dream of drinking. Until tonight.
1995 was a highly rated vintage, with maybe only 1990, and in some opinions 1996, gaining better reviews from the 90’s. I was just hoping that the wines would meet my high expectations…
Overall the tasting was a delight with some excellent wines. Both of my favourites came from the right bank and Leoville Barton again showed its class and consistency. Although an excellent wine, I was hoping for a bit more from the Mouton – however I was in the minority as when the votes were counted for the best wine of the night the Mouton came out on top.
Here are all of my notes, in the order the wines were tasted (all prices are per bottle from Roberson):
Chateau Haut-Bailly 1995, Pessac-Leognan (£86.95)
Very mineral and earthy nose with restrained black fruits. What was great about this wine was the massive freshness and beautiful acidity. There is plenty of red cherry fruit as well as some nice blackcurrant warmth, backed up by the mineral from the nose. The tannins are very fine and provide a lovely structure. This is a very well balanced wine with good fruit and savouriness. Excellent start to the tasting. 92 points
La Mission Haut-Brion 1995, Pessac-Leognan (£215)
This wasn’t on the original list and was added to the tasting at the last minute. Was very excited about this, especially when I smelt the big concentration of red and black fruits on the nose and a lovely hint of earthiness. How disappointed I was to find a lean, thin wine in the mouth without the promised power. The tannins are still at the forefront and the wine may come together over the next few years – it left me a bit flat. 88 points
Chateau Cantermele 1995, Haut Medoc (£45)
I reckon this is a love it or hate it wine I didn’t love it. A feral nose with stewed plums and roast meat, almost high. A bit thin and green on the palate and just seemed past its best. Hints of fruit but instantly forgettable. 87 points
Chateau Palmer 1995, Margaux (£165)
Oh how I wanted to love you! Very floral and red fruit aromas – this is a very pretty wine with lots of elegance and class on the nose. Sweet red fruit, backed up with some blackberry shadows. There’s lots of minerality and even a touch of dried herb but somehow it doesn’t all come together like it should… Frustrating wine! 90 points
Chateau Leoville-Barton 1995, St Julien (£105)
Real class here. Blackcurrant, mineral and graphite aromas – very concentrated and very inviting. The concentration of fruit is very evident on the palate and a distinctive and attractive freshness. The fruit is supported with a lovely subtle eucalyptus freshness and very fine and chalky tannins. Real finesse, good weight and lovely balance. By far and away this wine took the trophy for best value wine on the night. 94 points
Chateau Leoville-Poyferre (£94.95)
Another fine wine from St Julien… A shame it came straight after the Barton! If anything, the nose here is even better than its predecessor with gorgeous cassis along with the gravel and earthiness. The tannins are firm and it is more closed than the Barton and not as balanced. The oak is sticking out a little bit but there is plenty of fruit. I’d keep this one for a couple more years. 91 points
Chateau Cos d’Estournel 1995, St Estephe (£165)
This is the real thing. Really developed black fruit, menthol freshness and meaty. This wine has real power, concentration and stuffing. The tannins give a super structure and the flavour stays with you for a very long time. This still feels very young and has a wonderful future ahead of it. I wish I had 3 to keep and 3 to drink right now. Brilliant. 94 points
Chateau Clerc-Milon 1995, Pauillac (£69.95)
A big step backwards from the Cos. Very withdrawn nose – I had to really stick my nose right in there to get a whiff of dark fruit. Thin and lean on the palate, good freshness but just a bit bland. Meh. The French in the audience seemed to like it though! 87 points
Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1995, Pauillac (£495)
This was supposed to be the highlight of the night – and it was for many… But not for me. The nose is pure class. It’s elegant and polished. Sweet, ripe black fruit with cedar and a hint of eucalyptus and graphite. But then it didn’t live up to its billing on the palate. The fruits there, there’s decent power but not the concentration I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fine wine and my guess is its still opening up… I suppose I shouldn’t mind being underwhelmed and still awarding 93 points.
Chateau Trotanoy 1995, Pomerol (£165)
Now we are talking! Cherries and strawberries, the smell of summer. Violets and anise back up the fruit on the nose and make you close your eyes and smile. The wine is silky, sensuous and just feels complete. So complex, its like the most supple, best quality leather with spikes of red fruit and beautifully integrated spices. It has a sensational lift of freshness and is just quite magnificent. 96 points
Chateau Cheval Blanc 1995, St Emilion (£380)
And I thought it couldn’t get better. Smells of sour cherries, raspberries, leather, sweet spice, pencil shaving and cedar. The aromas fill your nostrils with goodness. And the the palate… It’s lake waves of silky flavour on your receptors – fruit, spice, leather, sweetness, freshness…. And it just keeps coming and stays there for an awfully long time. It’s delicate yet concentrated, rustic yet integrated. This is absolute class. One of the best wines I have ever drunk and for me(and eight others!) the standout wine of the night. 97 points