Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 1995 Bordeaux

The April installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Bordeaux from the the now 22 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. I have followed the vintage for fifteen plus years now. The vintage is definitely a throwback to a bygone era with tannic wines that will undoubtedly be long lived. Many wonder whether the tannins on some of the classified growth wines will ever resolve.

The Contenders

  • 1995 Léoville-Poyferré – While not as backward as the 1996, the opaque purple-colored 1995 is a tannic, unevolved, dense, concentrated wine that will require 8-10 years of cellaring. The 1995 exhibits pain grille, blackcurrant, mineral, and subtle tobacco in its complex yet youthful aromatics. Powerful, dense, concentrated cassis and blueberry flavors might be marginally softer than in the 1996, but there is still plenty of grip and structure to this big wine. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2030. 90 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 1995 Calon Segur – As I have said many times since I first tasted this wine, the 1995 Calon-Segur is one of the great sleepers of the vintage (I bought the wine as a future for a mere $250 a case). The wine has closed down completely since bottling, but it is a sensational effort that may ultimately merit an even higher score. The wine is opaque purple-colored. With coaxing, the tight aromatics reveal some weedy cassis intertwined with truffles, chocolate, and beef blood-like aromas. On the palate, there is an element of sur-maturite (1995 was an extremely late harvest at Calon-Segur), fabulous density and purity, and a boatload of tannin. This deep, broodingly backward, classic Bordeaux will require a decade of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2035. 92 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 1995 Grand-Puy-Lacoste – Unbelievably rich, multidimensional, broad-shouldered wine, with slightly more elegance and less weight than the powerhouse 1996, this gorgeously proportioned, medium to full-bodied, fabulously ripe, rich, cassis-scented and flavored Grand-Puy-Lacoste is another beauty. It should be drinkable within 4-5 years, and keep for 25-30. This classic Pauillac is a worthy rival to the other-worldly 1996. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2025. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 1995 Bordeaux Should I Open?

  • 1995 Calon Segur (44%, 16 Votes)
  • 1995 Grand-Puy-Lacoste (33%, 12 Votes)
  • 1995 Léoville Poyferré (22%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 36

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another and your thoughts on the ’95 vintage as a whole.

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

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4 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 1995 Bordeaux

  1. 1995 Léoville-Poyferré is my pick. I have not tried this one, so curious how it’s doing. I’ve tried the other two wines and they are both terrific. Great trio,Tom! Cheers!

  2. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to open several different bottles of Bordeaux from both the Right-Bank and Left-Bank from both the 1995 and 1996 vintages. I have to agree with James Suckling that the 95 vintage is superior to the 96 vintage (in some instances, far superior depending on the wine). Excluding the 1990 vintage, 1995 is, in my opinion, the best Left-Bank vintage, on average, from the 90s. And, in my opinion, 1998 is the best Right-Bank vintage, on average, from the 90s, excluding 1990. In fact, two of my most favorite Bordeaux wines come from the 95 vintage: Ducru Beaucaillou and Calon Segur!

  3. The Calon-Segur seems most likely to be nearing a peak. The leoville might have more time and we can be pretty sure the GPL is amazing. The C-S is a mystery ! Enjoy.

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