1995 Bordeaux / Cali Cabernet Tasting

Casa de la Mata

Tasted January 28, 2018 by Nanda with 211 views

Introduction

A terrific tasting of Bordeaux and classic Cali Cab from the 1995 vintage. A real strong showing all around. For me the top classic Cali cabs (Forman, Togni, Dominus and Montelena) all equaled (or close to equaled) the best Bordeaux wines in this tasting. Though, admittedly, the PLL is the wine I'd like most to have in my cellar, followed closely by the Forman.

Flight 1 - Flight One (6 notes)

The PLL was the clear stand out here with a fairly easy to pick ranking behind that. The Silver Oak and Spottswoode, for their obvious flaws, were also clear consensus least favorites.

Red
1995 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
86 points
Served blind in a 95 Cali/Bdx tasting. The nose here is pretty dried out and rustic, some cedar too. Palate is also rustic and seemingly tired/hard. Lots of iron notes in the dried plum fruit. Light-to-medium concentration with some firm tannin in the finish. This bottle seemed well past prime. My #6, Group #5 in the flight. I guessed BDX given the relatively austere profile.
Red
1995 Château Clerc Milon France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
92 points
Served blind in a 95 Cali/Bdx tasting. Super classic and appealing nose of fresh plums, bell pepper and cigar ash. Elegant with medium concentration and a lovely, elegant, lifted profile. Complex with all the classic left bank notes. A classic Bordeaux. My #2, Group #3 in the flight. Clear BDX when tasted blind.
Red
1995 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
91 points
Served blind in a 95 Cali/Bdx tasting. Fairly primary and un-evolved nose of plums with notions of herb and tobacco. Tighter with good concentration and still-firm tannins. With time this started to reveal more and flesh out. And according to others at the tasting, it was firing on all cylinders later in the evening. My #4, Group #2 in the flight. Needs even more time.
1 person found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
1995 Rosenblum Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Holbrook Mitchell Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Yountville
91 points
Served blind in a 95 Cali/Bdx tasting. A decidedly sweeter fruit profile in the nose with good Cabernet notes of cedar and tobacco. The palate is round and fleshy with chewy tannin. Still fairly youthful and exuberant. A bit simple but certainly tasty. My #3, Group #4. Clearly Cali Cab.
Red
1995 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
94 points
Served blind in a 95 Cali/Bdx tasting. Okay, a serious step up here. Gorgeous, beaming and layered nose of plum, cedar, tobacco and cigar ash. The palate has more density and richness with still-gritty tannin. Everything is in proportion here. I was fooled and thought this was a Cali, like Togni. So darn good. My #1, Group #1 in the flight. Most thought BDX.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
1995 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
Served blind in a 95 Cali/Bdx tasting. This was an American Oak train wreck and almost certainly Silver Oak given that profile. The nose has sweet, candied plum fruit and overt American oak coconut. On the palate the fruit is rich and still dense with chewy tannin. Lush and round textures. Not bad, but then a wave of overtly mouth-puckering American oak / dill pickle. I couldn't drink this. My #6, Group #6 in the flight.

Flight 2 - Flight Two (6 notes)

A much tighter and harder to rank flight, outside of the flawed LB. As random luck would have it, four of my favorite Cali Cab producers made it into this flight. Good stuff.

Red
1995 Château Lynch-Bages France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
flawed
Served blind in a 95 Cali/Bdx tasting. A VA-stricken nose. Palate follows suit with nail polish dominating the plum and cherry fruit. A somehow flawed bottle. Another bottle from the same lot was sound and quite good 16 months ago. My #6, Group #6 in the flight.
Red
1995 Dominus Estate Napanook Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
Served blind in a 95 Cali/Bdx tasting. The nose is initially tight and takes some swirling to get going -- dried plum, smokey tobacco with herbal and medicinal notes. Wow, this is so elegant and flavorful -- herbs, cigar, licorice just pop from the plum fruit. Long, bright and ethereal across the palate. Silky tannin is well integrated. Drinking perfectly now, but should hold. My #2, Group #5. I guessed BDX, and the group was split. Impressive.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1995 Forman Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
94 points
Served blind in a 95 Cali/Bdx tasting. A killer nose of sweet plum with loads of bell pepper and cigar. On the palate this is rich, yet fresh. Plum fruit that shows loads of tar with cigar box and herb. Tannin is still chewy and matches the rounder fruit. Delicious. Pretty clearly California, but oh so classic. My #1, Group #1 in the flight. Ric is so under-rated.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1995 Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
93 points
Served blind in a 95 Cali/Bdx tasting. The nose is tight and reticent. Even with a lot of swirling you just don't get much. The palate on the other hand is lights out. Terrific depth and concentration to the somewhat sweet and rich fruit. Dusty plums with layers of complexity. Incredible power yet elegant. Long, long, long. My #3, Group #4. I guessed Cali, but not convincingly. Group was split.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1995 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
92 points
Served blind in a 95 Cali/Bdx tasting. Another nose that was rather tight with plum and notions of cigar and cedar. The palate is classic Cabernet and took me to the left bank. Restrained, but powerful plum fruit with cigar and bell pepper. Tannins are still quite chewy but everything is balanced here. Tasty and one I'd gladly have in my cellar for a decade+. My #4 (in a very tight top 1-4 that turned out to be Forman, Dominus, Togni, Montelena), Group #2. I guessed BDX, the group was split. 92++
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1995 Château Léoville Poyferré France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
91 points
Served blind in a 95 Cali/Bdx tasting. Classic aromas of plum, bell pepper and cigar. The palate is lighter and tighter and, again quite classic, with restrained plum fruit. Tannins are firm and fairly chewy in the finish. Fruit needs to flesh out and wake up, but will it? My #5, Group #3. I guessed BDX as did a majority of the group.
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