Bordeaux 1995: Tasting in 2010

As I have written in my introduction to the vintage, 1995 was a year that saw success on both banks of the Bordeaux vineyard. Admittedly, neither saw the pinnacle of success that has been witnessed in other vintages (the left bank immediately superseded by 1996, the right bank by 1998), nevertheless there were plenty of very good wines made. Indeed, with the benefit of nearly fifteen years of hindsight we can conclude that many delicious wines were made, and this tasting of a handful of wines from the vintage would seem to confirm that conclusion.

This small tasting was put together solely using wines from my cellar, which seems to have ended up stronger on Pessac-Léognan for some reason, with solitary representatives from most other communes. This contingent from Graves were led by Haut-Bailly, a perennial over-achiever, although also showing very well was La Tour Haut-Brion, part of the Haut-Brion stable which saw its last vintage in 2004; from 2005 the fruit has been channelled into La Chapelle, the second wine of La Mission Haut-Brion. The white from Domaine de Chevalier was a real pleasure too.

Bordeaux 1995

Beyond Pessac, all the wines gave something, with notable mentions for top performers Montrose, Saint-Pierre and Clos de l’Oratoire. The latter of these bottles I picked up for a song in a Majestic parcel, and I if I recall correctly the wine was part of a consignment acquired from Systembolaget, the Swedish alcohol retail monopoly. Whatever convoluted route the bottles (I have a couple more yet) took to reach my cellar, there was certainly no problem with the wine within.

All the wines here were opened and decanted at least two hours before tasting, and the majority were still opening up and improving four and more hours after the corks had been pulled. Generalising, they currently sit very nicely on the cusp between primary fruit and secondary evolution, a great point to hit, which is perhaps why I enjoyed most of them so much. As for the future, although I find that for my palate they are now firmly within their drinking window, they are certainly going to improve in coming years, and so I think there is no hurry to drink these, merely to enjoy these lovely wines at leisure over the coming decade (or indeed longer). (2/3/10)

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