HDH 95/96 Comparative Tasting

Newberry Library, Chicago IL
Tasted Friday, February 1, 2008 by KeithAkers with 667 views

Introduction

I made it down to the Newberry Library for Hart Davis Hart's annual comparative Bordeaux tasting. it wasn't as filled as I thought it would be, most likely due to the awful weather that had been going on at the time. What this did though was allow me to hit up almost everything that was there and get some very nice pours, which made me a very happy camper

Flight 1 - table 1 (6 Notes)

  • 1995 Château Margaux 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    nose: nice nose that has some good depth to it. Filled with cedar, black currants, dark fruit, and a good amount of tobbacco

    taste: very nice and silky. Quitnessential Chateau Margaux. Nice helping of black currant, tobbacco, cranberry, and some cedar

    overall: this is excellent. wonderful structure and balance on this wine. THe finish doesn't last as long as I'd like, but this is why this wine is a first growth

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  • 1996 Château Margaux 96 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    nose: wow, what a deep nose and massive. Black currant, earth, tobbaco, kirsch, and cranberry. Very sumptuous nose

    taste: can a wine be explosive and silky at the same time, I would've said no until this one. It's an amazing feeling on the palate. Cedar, tobbacco, earth, cranberry, and smoke notes

    overall: this finish just doesn't want to quit. This is powerful and full of finesse at the same time. A tremendous wine

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  • 1995 Château Palmer 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    nose: very nice and elegant nose. Chalk, red currant, red fruit, and spice notes permeate

    taste: nice feel on the palate, red fruit, tobbacco, and cranberry just glide across the palate

    overall: this is a very elegant wine. Very subtle and understated, nothing is out of place and it holds itself together very well and leans into a nice polished finish

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  • 1996 Château Palmer 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    nose: very nice rich nose of anise, red and black currants, smoke, and some game notes too

    taste: like a finely tuned engine and it fills the palate with smoked game, red and black currants along with hints of anise

    overall: I have to say, Palmer's are always so nice and elegant, this one is no different. Just a real pleasure to drink

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  • 1995 Château Cos d'Estournel 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    nose: huge and explosive nose. spices, cedar, anise, and smoke notes just hit you and don't want to let you go

    taste: Big gamey feel on the mouth. Black currant, anise, cedar, and some mushrooms too. almost tastes like the bordeaux version of a aged Nuits St Georges

    overall: huge wine, just massive. Tons of dark aspects to it and it all explodes together like a celebration

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  • 1996 Château Cos d'Estournel 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    nose: real nice bordeaux nose that is filled with dark fruit, leather, cassis, and mocha

    taste: real big grip on the palate. Tobbacco, dark fruit, cassis, and coffee notes just grip you like a tight glove

    overall: real good stuff. Big and bold, a bit backwards and it's now starting to come around and strut it's stuff. It's like a tamed bully in a way, but it still wants to bully you around when it gets the chance

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Flight 2 - table 2 (8 Notes)

  • 1995 Château Léoville Las Cases 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    nose: very sweet and ripe nose with a bit of brett to it. Mushrooms, saddle leather, red currants, along with rose petals. nose isn't for everyone, but I do enjoy a slightly bretty nose

    taste: very sweet, ripe, and elegant. Rose petals and red currant mostly with a bit of saddle leather on the back end just to remind you that this is las cases

    overall: still a young wine and is fairly tannic. That said, it has a certain elegance to it that I enjoy a lot and leans into a nice lasting finish. It still needs more time to fully develop

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  • 1996 Château Léoville Las Cases 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    nose: wow, this nose just comes up and punches you in both the face and gut at the same time. This wine is not messing around at all and lets you know where you stand. Tobbacco, dark fruit, black licorice all want for you attention and are working together. This is a massive nose

    taste: extremely big and concentrated. Very young on the mouth, this one is wants to break out of it's shell and scream and it's just starting to poke out. Minerals, earth, dark fruit, and anise just jump on the palate

    overall: this is a big time Heavyweight boxer of a wine. It just nails all parts of the palate and has an insanely long finish. It's still a baby though as the tannin structure is still very big. This has some serious stuffing to it and hasn't yet come out of its shell. If it's this good now, I can only imagine how it'll be when it breaks out fully

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  • 1995 Château Léoville Barton 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    nose: very interesting nose, a bit vegetal along with vanilla beans, red fruit, floral notes, and bits of spice thrown in

    taste: nice mouth feel with vanilla beans, red fruit, and some spice

    overall: real nice palate coating tannins that also provides a nice lasting finish

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  • 1996 Château Léoville Barton 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    nose: big and muscular on the nose(this is really a theme of the 96s). Has some nice sweetness to it with toasted oak, spice box, earth, along with red and black currants

    taste: big and tannic. This is filled with dark fruit, black currant, anise, and spices

    overall: this is a big boy. It wants to slap you in the face with what it has and it's a slap that you sit there and enjoy. It still has some baby fat to shed too

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  • 1995 Château Léoville Poyferré 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    nose: nice classic and soft nose of cedar, red currant, and spices

    taste: interesting, very interesting. getting tobbacco and red currants up front, and a interesting green tea flavor on the back palate

    overall: very interesting wine. May need some time to fully wake up as it still is a young wine. It has a sweetness to it to

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  • 1996 Château Léoville Poyferré 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    nose: real dark and earthen nose that is also big and jammy. black fruit, smoke, cedar just permeate in teh nostrils

    taste: real nice fruit. Black fruit, smoke, and cedar all just jump together

    overall: extremely nice wine. I really like the jammyness of this. It's not that ripe type of jammy, but just big and bold

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  • 1995 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    nose: big deep and dense nose. Cedar, tobbacco, earth, minerals, and black currant just work together

    taste: huge mouth with tons of grip. Tons of dark fruit, black currant, tobbacco, and cedar. This one wants to take you on a ride

    overall: this is a massive wine. big broad structure on this, but also very balanced, this one doesn't mess around

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  • 1996 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    nose: big and full nose. earth, minerals, licorice, chocolate, and mocha abound

    taste: beautiful and balanced. This one is top notch. Dark fruit, plum, earth, minerals, and black licorice coate your palate

    overall: this wine has amazing balance for being such a big wine. It's pretty amazing really and along with that we get a really nice and lasting finish

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Flight 3 - table 3 (6 Notes)

  • 1995 Château Latour Grand Vin 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: real nice nose filled with black licorice, vanilla, and cassis while also giving floral notes and bits of woody notes

    taste: real nice and sweet with red fruit, vanilla, and cassis dancing on the palate

    overall: a bit dissapointing as it dies a bit on the palate. It has everything that needs to be there for a great wine, but then gives up on you. it's still an excellent wine and few wines could still pull off being of high quality with some of the flaws it has. hopefully this one will come around with more time

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  • 1996 Château Latour Grand Vin 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: a bit tight but then leads into a nice pleasant sweet and effusive nose. Red currants, spice, and earth work away

    taste: really nice mouth feel. Nice and supple with cassis, dark fruit, and red currants

    overall: very nice and elegant wine. It's still young and needs more time to show what it really has to offer

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  • 1995 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: nice soft and feminine nose that is stereo typical of Lalande. It's filled with floral notes, red licorice, and cedar planks

    taste: georgeous mouth. nice and soft with floral notes and some tobbacco

    overall: very elegant wine that one would expect of this estate. Lots of polish and the finish is nice and lasting

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  • 1996 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 96 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: big and luscious nose that is filled with blueberry, leather, cassis, toasted oak, and earth. it then also gives off some truffle and spice box notes too. extremely deep nose

    taste: beautiful amounts of blueberry, black berry, leather, cassis, spicebox, and truffles

    overall: just gorgeous, extremely gorgeous. Pure finesse and it leaves you with a beautiful and long finish of bluberry and cassis

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  • 1995 Château Mouton Rothschild 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: big jammy nose of toast, smoke, red fruit(cherry being the primary fruit), and mocha

    taste: Rich and big, very weighted on the palate. Cranberry, smoke, red fruit, cassis, and a bit of woodyness on the back palate

    overall: suprisingly new world in a way. THere are bits that reminds you that you are drinking a bordeaux, but this almost has a aged california cabernet feel to it. It's just so massive, powerful, and weighted and gives off a very long finish

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  • 1996 Château Mouton Rothschild 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: big heavy and brooding nose that has a ton of power behind it. It's on that verge of being too much, but it's right there in the pocket and filled with tobbacco, cedar, cassis, leather, and a nice jammy red licorice component

    taste: big and broad with mocha, cocoa, leather, and earth

    overall: there is some serious power behind this and yet, it's firmly balanced. This one still needs time to really come around, but it will be a fun ride when it does

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Flight 4 - table 4 (4 Notes)

  • 1995 Château Lafite Rothschild 96 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: elegant yet backwards nose of smoke, minerals, red licorice, and black currant

    taste: very smooth and very polished feel with red licorice, minerals, cassis, and a purity of the red fruit that is coming through

    overall: extremely elegant and firmly weighted. This is a very beautiful wine that doesn't want to end in your mouth

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  • 1996 Château Lafite Rothschild 99 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: extremely deep nose with massive aromatics. Pencil Shavings, Floral notes, Black currant, cedar, spices, and hints of cigar box. This is everything it should be, this nose is just so immensely deep that it's mind boggling

    taste: wow, just wow. The flavors are extremely pure and focused with tons of red fruit, pencil shavings, black currant, cigar box, spices, earth, and some floral notes. This is almost overwhelming that's how good this is

    overall: this is as close to perfection that I have ever tasted. I have no doubt that this will be a true 100 pt wine once it really comes around in another 15 years. The finish is just amazing, utterly amazing and so complex. Words really can't do this wine justice

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  • 1995 Château Lynch-Bages 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: nice rich nose of dark fruit, tobbacco, black currant, and hints of barnyard

    taste: nice balanced nose with dark fruit, black currant, and tobbacco

    overall: nice and elegant wine. This is what I expect of lynch-bages and it is very polished at the same time

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  • 1996 Château Lynch-Bages 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: nice rich and ripe red fruit nose with tobbacco and cedar

    taste: good weight on the palate with some red fruit and tobbacco

    overall: nice and polished wine. very classic and enjoyable

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Flight 5 - table 5 (4 Notes)

  • 1995 Château La Mission Haut-Brion 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    nose: nice earthy and vegetal nose. pepper, spice, leather, and smoke permeates on the nose. Very nice and rustic nose

    taste: spicy feel on the palate with some smoke and mushrooms along with hints of pepper

    overall: this is a very nuanced wine that probably still needs time to come out of it's shell. It wants to show you everything it has but is a bit afraid. It has a elegance to it that is very enjoyable

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  • 1996 Château La Mission Haut-Brion 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    nose: interesting nose that has a bit of bretty to it with some kirsch, dark plum, and cranberry

    taste: there is a good amount of brett on the palate with mushrooms and a lot of barnyard

    overall: a very nice wine, but there is some structure that is lacking on this one. Elegant, but just doesn't bring it all to the party

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  • 1995 Château Haut-Brion 96 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    nose: real nice thick and layered nose of smoke, black fruit, spice box, and vanilla bean

    taste: real nice long and elegant feel on the palate with chocolate, mocha, dark fruit, and vanilla

    overall: just a beautiful wine. Very long and balanced this just takes you to another place and give you a smile from ear to ear

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  • 1996 Château Haut-Brion 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    nose: very floral and nuanced nose with mostly red fruit and whisps of smoke

    taste: well balanced on the mouth with a lot of floral notes, red fruit, and smoke

    overall: a very nice wine but is very atypical from many 96s that I've had. This doesn't have the backwardsness or power behind it that they(the 96s) have had. Nice and polished this is a elegant wine

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Flight 6 - table 6 (2 Notes)

  • 1995 Château Cheval Blanc 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    nose: beautiful aromatics filled with floral notes, mocha, woodhouse smoke, and rose petals

    taste: just gorgeous on the mouth. This is like a field of flowers and is accompanied by some cassis and mocha

    overall: a beautiful wine that really shows its pedigree. Such an enjoyable and layered wine

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  • 1996 Château Cheval Blanc 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    nose: interesting dark nose with dark plum, black fruit, smoke, black currant, and hints of cedar. I can definitely tell that more cab franc has been used in the blend on this vintage

    taste: full and lush with black currant, floral notes, tobbacco, and cedar

    overall: very nice wine that is long and elegant. Very interesting wine but doesn't excite as much as the 95

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Flight 7 - table 7 (6 Notes)

  • 1995 Vieux Château Certan 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    nose: very nice amounts of floral notes with some saddle leather and cherry

    taste: real nice silky feel with tobbacco, leather, cranberry, and floral notes

    overall: a very nice and well made wine. Good and silky this has some real nice class to it

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  • 1996 Vieux Château Certan 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    nose: very ripe nose with cranberry, spice, and dark cherry

    taste: good solid flavors of cherry, spice, and earth

    overall: still pretty tannic and it probably needs to shed some of that baby fat before it really shows us what it has. Still has that good smooth feeling on the palate, but the flavors are a bit simple and nothing really sticking out to open your eyes

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  • 1995 Château Trotanoy 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    nose: big and dense with cherry, cranberry, and spices

    taste: very nice silky and smooth feel on the palate with cherry, cranberry, spices, and some smoke aspects

    overall: a very nice wine. A lot of what I enjoy from Pomerols. Finish is a bit quick though

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  • 1996 Château Trotanoy 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    nose: interesting dusty nose with some blueberry, red fruit, and minerals

    taste: nice flavors of tobbacco, spices, blueberry, and a bit of leather. flavors are a bit muted though

    overall: It's a nice solid wine, but nothing really stands out and it. The flavors are a bit muted on the palate and the nose isn't all that deep

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  • 1995 Château Gazin Pomerol 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    nose: nice ripe nose of red fruit, spice, and red currants

    taste: nice and smokey with red fruit, red currant, and spice notes

    overall: very nice and elegant. All of the fruit and flavors are working well together

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  • 1996 Château Gazin Pomerol 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    nose: pure nose of dark fruit, licorice, toasted oak, and hints of mocha

    taste: really silky and smooth with dark fruit, black currants, and toasted oak notes

    overall: very nice. Good weight on the palate and is enjoyable

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Closing

This was a night that I'll always remember. The 96 Lafite is just a thing of pure beauty and this was easily one of the most fun tastings I've ever been to. As always with HDH the service was top notch and they always put together a great tasting. I can't wait to see what the comparative tasting will be next year

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