Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 —We are starting our 2019/2020 session with a bang – 1995 Bordeaux. This is a tasting you should not miss – a top Bordeaux vintage, now fully mature, with two First Growths ‐ Châteaux Haut‐Brion and Cheval Blanc.
1995 was an excellent year in Bordeaux. A hot dry summer and some September rain gave good crop levels with healthy Merlot and somewhat tannic Cabernet Sauvignon. Both left and right bank wines did very well with the Merlot dominated élevages doing the best. We will be pouring wines from both left and right banks.
While many 1995s could be enjoyed early, the vintage was also one with very good aging potential, especially for the top cuvées. Our lineup runs the gamut from First Growth and equivalent (Premier Grand Cru Classé), through deuxièmes crus or equivalent to a cru Bourgeois. This will give us a very good snapshot of 1995 across the board.
Our tasting is headlined by Châteaux Haut‐Brion (First Growth, Pessac‐Léognan) and Cheval Blanc (Premier Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion). Jancis Robinson rated these wines 18.5 and 18 respectively (out of 20 – between ‘a cut above superior’ and ‘humdinger’!) when last tasted. Haut-Brion is roughly 45% each Merlot & Cab Sauvignon topped up with Cab Franc and Petit Verdot. Jancis comments included “Just lovely…complex, spread across the palate…”. Cheval Blanc is 53% Cab Franc, 43% Merlot: and she noted it is “Rich and soft. Gentle texture. Very flattering and subtle. A very, very good 1995. Long, sweet and spicy. A very gentle hand here.”
Not far behind these two, we have La Fleur Petrus from Pomerol. La Fleur Petrus is generally regarded as one of the top wines in Pomerol. Parker rated 1995 as their best vintage of the previous twenty years. Julia Harding wrote of it in 2016 “… dry and fresh and elegant. Succulent and utterly drinkable now. Fine-boned and very long. So much pleasure”. These three wines have in common that they have significant proportions of Merlot.
Château Kirwan, from Margaux, provides a transition in profile to Cabernet Sauvignon dominated wines, being 45% Cab Sauv, 30% Merlot and the rest Cab Franc and Petit Verdot. A Troisième Cru, it has always been a good value wine. Parker noted a somewhat modern style with significant new oak. Robinson thought it could almost be Australian (not sure if that was a compliment or not). You have a chance to see how the wine has evolved.
Cabernet Sauvignon dominated wines are led by 2ème Cru Château Leoville‐Las‐Cases in St Julien. Many consider this property to be almost of First Growth status. Parker considered it one of the vintage’s great success stories. It will be interesting to compare with Château Lagrange (3ème Cru) also from St Julien. The last of the classed growth wines is 2ème Cru Cos d’Estournel in St Estèphe. St Estèphe wines tend to be more four-square than wines from further south in the Médoc. However relative to other Cos vintages, especially 1996, this wine was opulent and hard to resist early on, but with two-three decades of potential aging. It should be an interesting comparison to the usually more elegant St Juliens.
Finally, we have Château Chasse‐Spleen in Moulis, just north of Margaux, which is a Cru Exceptionelle.
This is an exceptional survey of Bordeaux 1995. It is also worth noting that many of these wines have increased significantly in price since release – Haut Brion and Cheval Blanc 1995 now cost around $800 CAD (without shipping), and the 2018 futures prices on these wines are around $1200 in Canada. This event is an affordable way for members to taste wines that might otherwise be beyond reach. It does also mean that we will have to charge a significant premium for guests, once we open booking to non-members.
This tasting will also give you the opportunity for some fun trying to identify the Merlot dominated wines from the Cabernet Sauvignon dominated wines. And will you be able to separate the First Growths from the others? Come to this special event and taste for yourself!
Date: Wednesday, September, 25th, 2019
Time: 6:45 p.m.
Limit: 60 people
Members: $150 including HST of 17.26
Guests: $250 including HST of 28.76
North York Memorial Community Hall
5110 Yonge St. (under the library)
North York Centre Subway
GST/HST account: 844742619 RT0001
Business Name: Winetasters Society of Toronto
Refunds net of Eventbrite fee up to 7 days before the event. Inquiries — (Cindy Taylor, 416.458.3147 evenings only). No reservations by phone, please. No mail confirmations will be issued — you will be contacted only if we are sold out. First, come basis with priority for members.