Originally Posted by Manton
last night I had a silver oak '95 and a Cos '94. The silver oak was better though the cos was not bad, even though '94 was a weak year.
Here's part of a funny recent article written by Neal Martin for the Wine Advocate's website about 1994 Bordeaux:Boring? Bordeaux 1994
There is only one thing worse than being born under a bad sign, and that is being born under a boring one.
You remember those fellow classmates, their uniform always perfectly pressed, haircut by mum and avid member of the chess club (but secretly they found draughts a more visceral gladiatorial contest.) Their aspiration in life is to become an accountant, not a financial officer, but preferably a menial position where you can remain unnoticed close to the filing cabinet. They are wary of the opposite sex and miraculously end up marrying somebody even more boring than themselves. The inseparable couple wears matching cardigans, share the same disinterests and make love every other leap day, preferably with the lights off and before “Newsnight”. They live in a semi-detached on a middle-class estate where a discarded shopping trolley is regarded as a serious crime scene and a privet hedge to gossip over is mandatory. They tut at the Daily Mail each morning, listen to Gilbert & Sullivan or, if feeling edgy, the latest schmaltz from Michael Bublé. They mow the lawn every other Sunday morning whether it needs it or not, they have worn jeans only once and are still feel traumatized by the experience. They retire early as they saved for a pension rather than grabbed life by its balls; spend their autumnal years on the golf course and in the second-hand caravan parked outside Eastbourne. Their final four words before their final breath is: “If only I had…”
Their life is a non-event: birth and death bookending nothing of consequence.
This brings me to the Bordeaux 1994 vintage: a growing season neither good nor bad, just a bit…boring. Better than the previous three years but not in the same class as the next two.
However, back in the day when I was procuring wine for the thirsty in Japan, the 1994 was a go-to, no-brainer vintage. Trust me, I vacuumed up those 1994 Clarets like there was no tomorrow.
Because they were not that good, but nor were they that bad. In fact, in the late 1990s these wines were sought after since the quality was enough to give pleasure, but not enough for châteaux to ratchet up prices beyond what we would now consider “bargain basement”. The 1994 vintages appealed to the on-trade, large-scale distributors who wanted decent Claret with a recognizable name and boy, did they lap it up and gulp it down. Around that time, I consumed a great deal myself and harbor memories of what you might describe as workmanlike Bordeaux that sought to satisfy rather than amaze.
Now in 2012, I wondered how those 1994s were faring? So when a dinner was organized to re-appraise the vintage, I booked myself a pew at the table. Would their appeal have faded with the passing years? Or would they have remained those steadfast, conservative wines, the best of whom transcended that so-called “boring” growing season?
If truth is told, I was rather nonplussed by this selection of 1994 Clarets. Yes, there was a workmanlike charm to them, but mostly I did find them a bit…boring.