Topic: TN: 1995 Bordeaux
Author: Bill Spohn
Date: 20050503105613

Notes from a dinner-tasting of Bordeaux of the 1995 vintage – my first look at these wines since release.

2001 Ch. La Garde – this white Graves was a bit past its ‘drink-by’ date. Too much toastiness in the nose plus a whiff of maderisation, fair acidity but blunted by slightly oxidised flavours.

with whipped black cod with caviar and oyster soup

Flight 1

d’Issan (Margaux) – some nice complexity developing in the nose on this wine, with spice and flowers, current and a hint of anise. Lots of soft tannin right to the end, good length and a very slight terminal bitterness, probably from the oak, which needs more time to blend in.

d’Angludet (Margaux) – also very good in the nose, and a bit riper but less spice. Forward with a bit less grip, but excellent balance and length. My eventual favourite after a bit of back and forth between these two.

La Croix de Gay (Pomerol) – lighter simpler nose with red berries rather than heavier plumier fruit. Immediate acidity, not much tannin, ready now – decent luncheon claret.

with polenta and porcini

Flight 2

Latour a Pomerol – deep herbal plumy nose, full in the mouth with a fair bit of tannin, good length, slight bitterness at the end. Charred oak in the nose.

Certan de May – lighter nose of cedar and toasty olive, tons of unresolved tannins here, but sweet on palate, although with a very slightly candied citrus quality right at the end. Needs time but may be very good.

La Grave a Pomerol – cherry vanilla nose, good up front sweetness, not as hard as the Certan and will certainly drink sooner – my best of flight.

with agnelloti stuffed with morels, asparagus and veal sweetbreads

Flight 3

Magdelaine (St. Emilion) – very sweet red fruit in the nose, and sweet and forward on palate, though backed with a medium amount of ripe tannin. Sweet on finish with good length. This is great now and will improve – my favourite.

Larmande (St. Emilion) – herbal slightly burnt nose, pleasant sweet entry, supple wine that drinks well now and has decent length – no rush.

Figeac (St. Emilion) – a very hard choice between this and the Magdelaine. This had a nice sweet nutmeg and custard nose, was very slightly lean in the mouth, tannins ample but soft, and good length. Drinks well now but will live many years. Interesting 50th anniversary label noting the vintages they did and did not produce in that period ( 1951, 1956, 1963, 1965, and 1991).

with mint risotto with butter poached quail breast – nice on it’s own, but did not do any favours for the wines.

Flight 4

Haut Bailly (Pessac Leognan) – smoke and black currant nose with a hint of mint (or was it a last whiff of the last course….)Medium levels of soft tannin, very nicely balanced - a ‘pretty’ wine – elegant.

de Fieuzal (Pessac Leognan) – big smoky plumy nose with yet more mint. Sweet on palate, tannins soft, a smooth plush sort of wine with slightly high acidity at the end – this got my vote for best of flight.

Pavie Macquin (St. Emilion) – a controversial wine. Darker than the others, with a ripe intense nose, very sweet, quite tannic and with a flash of sweetness right at the end. I felt that it was the sort of wine that would appeal to some people, but was a bit too ripe for me, at least in this company.

with lamb with foie gras, black truffles and pineapple

The final wine was:

1995 Prinz von Hessen Johannisberger Klaus Riesling Auslese – I applaud the use of German wines in this sort of event rather than the obligatory Port or Sauternes! Nice oily nose, excellent acidity masks the level of sugar and the wine comes off as being almost crisp, with the sense of sweetness returning right at the end. Lingering finish. Very enjoyable wine.

An educational event. I look forward to doing the same sort of left bank horizontal tasting, perhaps 4 or 5 years hence.