Trio of 1994 Bordeaux

Last night six of us had dinner in San Francisco and drank a number of nice wines including Krug 164, 2008 H. Boillot Clos de la Mouchere, and 1989 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. The one small theme we had was a set of 1994 Bordeaux inspired by Ashish’s offer to open a 1994 Latour.

If you’re a pessimist, you might describe 1994 Bordeaux as “all of 1995, and less.” It has some of the same tannin edge but is leaner. All of these wines showed some of that character. On the other hand I felt that each of these also showed its classic character and they are all pretty fine wines that are nowhere near end of life.

1994 Ch. Leoville Las Cases:. First bottle of my six pack bought EP, and I have no regrets about waiting this long. Nice rich dusty cedar box nose. Moderate tannin, softening but has a long way to go. Very tasty, long and elegant finish. We drank the leftovers tonight and it showed really well, a bit softer than yesterday.

1994 Ch. La Mission Haut Brion: I drank one of these about five years ago and it was very tight and not showing that much. This bottle was also a bit tight but opened nicely over time. Tobacco leaf and mineral nose. pretty tannic, cigar ash, a little angular. Lots of fruit, though. This developed really nicely over a couple of hours.

1994 Ch. Latour: I felt like this had a classic Latour nose but a smaller and leaner structure than the usual wine. Rich walnut nose, touch of tobacco. Medium fruit, quite tannic but softening.

Early on I preferred the Latour as it was the friendliest of the bunch, but later on I came around to the La Mission as my favorite. If you like a minerally Bordeaux, that is your wine.

I don’t think any of these wines were as good as a 1994 Haut Brion we drank earlier this year, but I enjoyed them all and I’m happy to have more 1994s. I’m not sure if we’ll ever see Bordeaux with the style of 1994 and 1995 again.

Nice notes. I skipped 1994 but it sounds like the top wines developed nicely. The La Miss sounds right up my alley.

Had 1994 Mouton again this week (probably the 10th time), and it’s great expression of what Mouton is about. I’ve always been a huge fan of Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion, and LLC can be great when the bottles are well stored (I’ve had a couple that clearly saw some less than stellar storage).

I initially though it was a charmless vintage, btw I was busy chasing the 94 Harlan for $100-$150 range. I think time helps and heals Bordeaux. I really like the Haut Brion and the Lafite.

Great dinner! I had a ton of fun. Thanks for fleshing our the horizontal Craig! I think it added a lot of perspective to all the wines.

DINNER WITH THE WINE GROUP - Son’s Addition (12/20/2017)

  • 1994 Château Latour Grand Vin - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Opened with Durand, excellent cork, double decanted into bottle, surprisingly little sediment (dime-sized, fine). Highly aromatic while decanting and in the glass, lovely blackcurrant, tobacco, notable mint, some graphite, highly complex nose, some red bell pepper?; palate is full bodied, prominent high tannins that are integrating, still moderate underlying black fruit and cherries, medium acidity, medium alcohol (low by modern standards, 12.5% listed on the bottle); medium length finish with some clean black fruit. I didn’t know what to expect of this wine from this vintage, but the nose is a strength, it seems like a good stage of maturity with good secondary/tertiary complexity with good remaining fruit, and excellent balance in a burly Latour style. Is it a perfect wine, or markedly better than a lower tier Bordeaux? No… certainly the palate lacks as much depth and complexity as the nose and the length is slightly limited, but it’s a wine of balance and character, and it is certainly special. I have two bottles left to finish within the next 10 years. 93-94
    3 hours in bottle after double decanting. In comparison to other top 1994s, this seems much younger than the LLC or La Mission, more complexity than the LLC. Really lovely wine with the character of the 1994 vintage. Expanding my drinking window to a decade and a half. 93-94
    Day 2, stored in bottle at a (cold) room temp. Still deep ruby with no bricking; aromatics and palate haven’t really changed at all. Nice! (94 pts.)
  • NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée Edition 164eme - France, Champagne
    Aromatic, fresh but also excellent density, notable lime, some brioche; palate is an excellent balance of rich was and freshness, again notable lime and citrus; medium-plus finish. Lovely, absolutely stylistic of Krug but very young, will develop more richness and slight oxidation with age which will take it to the next level. 92-93 (93 pts.)
  • 1989 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Decanted, tasted. Moderately aromatic nose, red fruit, significant oxidation; palate is medium bodied, again seems a bit oxidized. Let’s see if this improves with some air as Barolo can.
    1.5 hours decanting: This has dramatically improved. Red cherry, soy, umami, roses, some tar; palate is light bodied, still high tannin, red fruit, elegant, high acid; medium-plus finish. Really lovely fully mature Barolo.
    3 hours decanting: starting to fall apart a bit. Definitely at its peak at 1.5 hours. Still balanced and drinkable, but it has lost a lot of its complexity at this point. (93 pts.)
  • 2008 Domaine Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchère - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru
    Subtly complex nose with stone fruit; palate is full bodied, fresh medium-plus acidity, lovey minerality and salinity; medium finish. Lovely wine. 92
    With time, this shows more and more complexity. Wonderful wine, lots of potential. 93-94 (93 pts.)
  • 2007 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent) Chablis 1er Cru La Forest - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
    Some aromatic oxidation, butterscotch; palate is rich, full bodied, some mild oxidation but much less, some minerality. I think this has a bit too much oxidation for its age, but it is drinking very well now nonetheless. 90 (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Domaine Jacques Prieur Corton-Charlemagne - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru
    Stony minerality, moderately aromatic, a bit of richness; palate is full bodied, some slight oak, peach, very slight nuttiness; medium finish. Good, but it has challenging company tonight. 88 (88 pts.)
  • 1994 Château La Mission Haut-Brion - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
    Fully mature nose with mulch, red fruit, forest floor, cherry, lovely nose; palate is full bodied, richer black fruit, medium acidity, medium alcohol, well integrated high tannin; medium finish. Very solid Bordeaux at peak, but doesn’t show the characteristic slate of Pessac too prominently. 92 (92 pts.)
  • 1994 Château Léoville Las Cases - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Moderately aromatic, Black fruit, slight spice, integrated, complex; palate is full bodied, black fruit; shorter finish than the Latour but similar in overall style and character though a bit simpler, shorter, more tannic, and less smooth. 90 (90 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Definitely some of the better 94 BDX there but it was a tough vintage, even young, and I’m not sure time smoothed out its wrinkles at all.

I think we had LLC and Pichon Lalande in the last couple of years. Ok, but I think need to be drunk up.

l’Evangile might still be doing well though.

No need to drink up any of these, or the HB. They will still be excellent in 20 years. I had La Conseillante this year as well. It’s good for at least another 10 years.

Gotham Wines in Noo Yawk used to have the 1994 Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion for $40 per bottle, around 2002…until I found them.

LLC 1994 has always been wonderful, although tight and tannic. Glen Bienstock sold me a double-magnum around 1997 for $150, which sits sideways in my kitchen refrigerator, waiting for a sizable occasion.

Didn’t buy my 94 HB at Gotham, but purchased in 2004sh at another NYC merchant for $70 per. Still have my bottles at the offsite.

Oh, and I think the 1994 PLL still has many good-drinking years to go.

I’ve had 1994 HB twice in the last year and it has been singing. My most recent note from September:

Showing lots of the K-Mart garden center aromas and the brambly fruit and minerality that typify and are pretty much unique to Haut-Brion, with somewhat rustic but not excessive tannin, it is drinking nicely and is in no danger of a decline any time soon but lacks the scintillating complexity and depth of great vintages. Still a wonderful experience since it’s unmistakably Haut-Brion, and is probably a perfect bottle for introducing someone to this magnificent estate.

'Twas indeed a fun and educational dinner! Without a lot of prior 94 experience, these three were a real pleasure. I have a bias for the Haut Brion wines, and this sampling didn’t change that, though the other two were really good and beautiful wines each. The Latour probably had the most “purity” and depth of the three, which is almost a strike against it: just a little too perfect. Leoville also good depth and balance, again a perfect strike right down the middle; though every time I drink a LLC, I can’t help but wonder how RO has impacted its body. The LMHB just had more interest, tobacco, wood shavings, a bit more grit and grip, things to catch your interest. Would have been great to be able to sit with any of the individual bottles for an evening and follow them. Thanks to Craig and Ashish for generously contributing these bottles.