Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 1995 Bordeaux

The January installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Bordeaux from the the now 20 year old 1995 vintage. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened on Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

James Suckling, formerly of the Wine Spectator, first compared the ’95 vintage in Bordeaux to classic vintages like ’47, ’59 and ’82. The vintage was rated 95 points by the publication.

The Contenders

  • 1995 Lynch Bages – A dense ruby/purple hue is accompanied by reticent, restrained aromatics suggesting earth, herbs and subtle fruit. The wine hits the palate with a brutal, tannic overlay, but behind that are impressive levels of black and red fruits. As is the case with many 1995s, the wine’s structural components still dominate, which makes one wonder if these cuvees will ever shed enough tannin to be charming and enjoyable to drink. Certainly depth, weight and richness are all present, but the tannins remain elevated and somewhat foreboding. 91 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 1995 Lagrange – The 1995 Lagrange is similar to the 1996, but the fruit is sweeter, the acidity lower, and the wine less marked by Cabernet Sauvignon. The color is a deep ruby/purple. The wine boasts a roasted herb, charcoal, black currant, mineral, and new oak-scented nose. Medium to full-bodied and ripe, with copious quantities of jammy black cherry and cassis flavors presented in a medium-bodied, low acid, moderately tannic style, this well-endowed, purely made wine requires cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2020. 90 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 1995 Rauzan Segla – This wine was consistently outstanding from cask, and I suspect it may eventually merit an even higher score, but it was totally closed when I saw it in November. Unfortunately, it was one of the few wines that I was only able to taste once after bottling. Nevertheless, it is a classic vin de garde, with a saturated ruby/purple color, and a tight but promising nose of sweet plum and cassis fruit intertwined with underbrush, vanillin, and licorice scents. The wine is ripe, medium to full-bodied, and rich, as well as unyielding, ferociously tannic, pure, and layered. The finish is extremely dry (sec, as the French would say), with a brooding angularity and toughness. In spite of this, my instincts suggest the requisite depth is present to balance out the structure. This effort will also require a decade of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2025. 90 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 1995 Bordeaux should I open?

  • 1995 Lynch Bages (43%, 15 Votes)
  • 1995 Lagrange (37%, 13 Votes)
  • 1995 Rauzan Segla (20%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 35

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another.

Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the February Installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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9 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 1995 Bordeaux

  1. Cool lineup of 1995 Bordeaux, Tom! I’ve tried all three of these wines, although not recently. In my opinion, the 95 Rauzan Segla blows away the others. I drank the Rauzan last year and it was spectacular. Very multidimensional and complex. It’ll last several more years to boot. For me, the weakest wine of the three was the 95 Lynch. Although Lynch Bages is usually one of my most favorite of Bordeaux’s Left-Bank wines, Lynch didn’t perform all that well in this vintage, so it might be a bit tired after 20 years. Lagrange is always great value and although I drank this one many years ago I’m confident it’s still going strong. My choice for “Pick My Next Bottle” is the 95 Lynch Bages.

    1. Thanks Peter. I’ve had the 95 Lynch a few times. When I last had it several years ago I thought it was finally starting to show better after being cloaked in tannins for the better part of a decade.

      1. Interesting. I might be wrong then. Hope the Lynch wins so I can get your viewpoint on the effect of 20 years.

          1. Yes, you hit the nail right on the head. Totally depends on the specific bottle (lots of bottle variation unfortunately) and specific vintage.

  2. I’ll be interested to see how the wine that pops is showing. Was at a bdx tasting recently and it has piqued my interest. Had a 99 Haut Brion in the line up and suprisingly it wasn’t the WOTN.

  3. How can anything but the Lagrange be drunk at this point … and not feel robbed of what could have been. It’s just wrong to open the others with their noticeable tannins.

  4. The 1995 Lagrange is the wine to beat here! Impressive vintage, 20 years to tame those tannins, and should be drinking great!
    I have a special place in my heart for Ch. Lagrange as a bottle of the ’96 Lagrange was the very 1st Bordeaux I bought. Later the ’99 Lagrange was 1st case of Bordeaux I ever bought. I enjoyed that case on and off for the next 12 years with much love. It is still one of my favorite of Bordeaux and I think overall year after year a better producer than either Rauzan Seglaor Lynch Bages (Perhaps because I enjoy the St Julien style over Margaux).
    But I have to admit I enjoy Pauillac just as much as St Julien and Lynch Bages may be the best overall value in Bordeaux today.
    Enjoy Tom!

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