Saint-Émilion & Pomerol, 1994

1994 was a goodish Bordeaux vintage, dividing critics with some enjoying the classic, well-structured style, others criticising the wines for being a little harsh and tannic. Merlot was the most successful variety throughout, particularly in Pomerol, and wines at the top end fared the best.

However, 1994 soon became over-shadowed by two very good-to-exceptional years in 1995 and ’96. This fact has rendered it a very good year to find some good wines at exceptional prices. It was also an irregular year in which producer knowledge is the key, and by-and-large the elite performed to their potential, while the results were far more mixed below.

Come September, many producers thought they had a great vintage on their hands after a gloriously warm, dry growing season, and were rubbing their hands after the three previous dire years. However, heavy rains in mid-September, and subsequent frequent showers, caused many grapes to swell and become diluted. It must have been heart-wrenching for all involved, and only those producers who rigorously selected their crops (declassifying up to 50%) and benefit from naturally good drainage, fared the best, producing classic Bordeaux. Those who didn’t, and went with a high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in their blends, suffered from being austere and lacking fruit.

In terms of pricing, this could be considered the last year of normality, as prices in subsequent vintages increased dramatically.

As for the whites, those in Graves that picked before the rains did particularly well. Sauternes was poor. 

The wines

Merlot was the most successful variety in 1994, and there were some real stars on the right bank, particularly from Pomerol. However, it is a case of buyer beware – as there was also many, many disappointments – and producer knowledge is key in such an irregular vintage.

Saint-Émilion & Pomerol, 1994

1994 was a goodish Bordeaux vintage, dividing critics with some enjoying the classic, well-structured style, others criticising the wines for being a little harsh and tannic. Merlot was the most successful variety throughout, particularly in Pomerol, and wines at the top end fared the best.

However, 1994 soon became over-shadowed by two very good-to-exceptional years in 1995 and ’96. This fact has rendered it a very good year to find some good wines at exceptional prices. It was also an irregular year in which producer knowledge is the key, and by-and-large the elite performed to their potential, while the results were far more mixed below.

Come September, many producers thought they had a great vintage on their hands after a gloriously warm, dry growing season, and were rubbing their hands after the three previous dire years. However, heavy rains in mid-September, and subsequent frequent showers, caused many grapes to swell and become diluted. It must have been heart-wrenching for all involved, and only those producers who rigorously selected their crops (declassifying up to 50%) and benefit from naturally good drainage, fared the best, producing classic Bordeaux. Those who didn’t, and went with a high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in their blends, suffered from being austere and lacking fruit.

In terms of pricing, this could be considered the last year of normality, as prices in subsequent vintages increased dramatically.

As for the whites, those in Graves that picked before the rains did particularly well. Sauternes was poor. 

The wines

Merlot was the most successful variety in 1994, and there were some real stars on the right bank, particularly from Pomerol. However, it is a case of buyer beware – as there was also many, many disappointments – and producer knowledge is key in such an irregular vintage.

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