TN: Two 1995 First Growth Bordeaux

1995 Château Lafite Rothschild - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac (3/8/2016)
Served blind as part of an overall tasting of Cabernet-based wines, this was not in the mood to play. It had been in the decanter for about 2+ hours when we go to it, and it was still very tight. Some red fruit and cedary spice showed on the nose, but that was about it. On the palate it was hollow in the middle, though it had good entry and a light yet persistent finish. I was and was not shocked when the label came off. The fact that it was Lafite surprised me. The fact that it was a 1995 then did not surprise me all that much, as the '95 vintage has been a tough one to crack. Overall a good wine, but certainly no 1st growth wow factor.

1995 Château Haut-Brion - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan (3/8/2016)
Served blind in a tasting flight with the '95 Lafite, this was just about as tight, though it showed more suppleness on the palate than its flight mate. Overall very tough to judge because even after 2+ hours in the decanter it was not giving up much on the nose. It, like the Lafite, showed a lack of mid-palate depth. I assume that was due to it being closed in, as I had more than my fair share of prior experiences with this wine, and it was never hollow any other time in my memory. Tough to see it unveiled as H-B, but that’s what happens in blind tastings.

Posted from CellarTracker

Like many, I bought a bunch of 1995 Bordeaux back in the day and over the years have had many similar experiences to yours. Tough vintage that’s for sure… [scratch.gif]

I have had a few that were quite good. The Haut Brion has always shown better than the bottle last night.

I heard the Mondavi Reserves showed quite well though

They did show very well. More on those later.

I actually think that the placement of two stern vintage 1sts after 4 relatively ripe vintage California wines was a bad spot for the Bordeaux. But you play the hand that is dealt.

Robert Mondavi made a mint doing this.

My hunch has been that the 95s will get somewhere with more years in the bottle. Anyone have thoughts on that notion either way?

I think it’s a sound vintage that will always have a tannic edge and some austerity, like 1975. There are some wines that may not be very good, for example I have D’Angludet which a friend described as smelling like a 2004 Burgundy. I’ve had very good bottles of Margaux and Ducru but even those are playing hard to get compared to a lot of other vintages.

The right banks are doing ok.

I’m more skeptical about the Medocs.

It has been 20 years.

Maybe they are more like 1975 than we want to admit.

It was also a strange vintage in terms of prices. FGs were released at around $50 a bottle, then overnight it seemed, as a result of some heavy buying in the Far East, prices tripled. I went to Bordeaux to taste the vintage in June 1996, later than usual, and the wines seemed correct, but lacked any real lift or brightness.

The bright spots for me were Graves and Pomerol; the only ones I bought on release were half a dozen bottles each of the Haut Brion and la Mission.

I always decant the Haut Brion for a couple of hours (the world needs more decanting) and it has been remarkably consistent; I am down to my last bottle and really enjoyed every one to date.

Just had the 95 LMHB served blind and it was lovely. Will continue to improve but it was out to play that night.

95 Cos d’estournel has been drinking very well for several years now.

Love the 95 Pichon Lalande too.

L’evangile and Mouton. At the very least double decant anything '95.

Have had more luck with 95 Pichon Lalande than Haut-Brion thus far but have not opened any bottles lately.

I have had very few 95s in recent years, but I remember that my impression when they were released was that the wines generally lacked some concentration in the mid-palate. Quite different from the 96s in that respect.

If you remind me the next time we’re in the cellar and I have time to decant I’ll open a GPL for you. Starting to drink very well.

Yum, GPL 1995.