Nineteen Seventy-Four!

1974 or depending on where you are in this world of ours: “mil novecientos setenta y cuatro”“dix-neuf soixante quatorze”“diciannove settantaquattro”“neunzehnhundertvierundsiebzig”!

“The best vintages! well, they are those that show you what you really know already.”

So perhaps? the 1974 vintage did not want to be loved so much, or maybe, as more to be understood!

The grape harvests for this vintage in France, Italy, Spain and also in the new and ancient (wine) world, where in general a complete disaster.

Plagued by heavy rains and bad weather all over. Some producers did not release a wine in 1974. It’s quite hard to even find a tasting note from our vinous-royalty on the subject.

However, the good news is that a handful and literally just a few, who where lucky enough to have a ´´terroir´´ to absorb the sheer quantity of water that fell from the skies that year and allowed the soggy vine-roots to send up to the surface their necessary nutrients & vinous ‘healthy grape’ messages to the all important foliage.

The Californian sunshine saved the day for many over there on the West Coast, and indeed one or two fabulous wines where bottled up. Think of Stephen Spurrier’s 1976 Paris Event ‘winner’ as an example.

One or two (only) very top producers in Barolo (Piedmont) and in Pomerol, Pauillac and Saint-Emilion (Bordeaux) also managed to squeeze something out of their soggy wellies along with some other friends over there, down in Ribero del Duero (Spain). Today, the first week of 2024 there are only a handful of 1974 bottles that have survived their fifty year journey and are still in good shape. A couple of them I have have been lucky enough to try. This is what we have in stock today should you have interest:

1974 Ch.Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac
“I had not tasted such a convincing Mouton Rothschild like this in years. The red color is nicely intact with only a few brick notes on the edge. The aromas are decidedly bottle-aged with notes of underbrush, fine mushroom, black truffle and strong spice. Very peppery. The mouthfeel is intense, expressive, assorted and stimulated.” – 97/100
2 bottles @ £695bt/1

1974 Louis Roederer Brut Rose, Reims
“Aged for 6 years on yeast and a further 8 months in the bottle. Still salmon pink with a deep intense colour. Wild peach and mature nectarine palate with a light mousse.” – 94/100
1 bottle @ £895bt/1

1974 Monfortino Barolo Riserva G.Conterno, Monforte d´Alba
“It is extraordinary the way this Monfortino plays on chiaroscuro. The color is identical to the 1978 even if the aroma may be less intense. The bouquet again has scents of underbrush, fallen leaves and new mushrooms, along with the usual mint and some spicy notes. The finish is surprising and moving with its return of dark chocolate, Cavendish pipe tobacco and the wealth of balsamic nuances. The mouthfeel remains dominated by the type of acidity that makes it eternal and bonds with very understated and silky tannins.” – 94/100
1 bottle @ £1.950bt/1

1974 Petrus, Pomerol
“Dark crimson with olive stone nose. Claretty nose and a noble tomato suppleness to the dryish finish. On the light side but a full head of Petrus in the glass.” – 90/100
2 bottles @ £2.600bt/1

1974 Ch.Angelus, Saint-Emillion
“Surface area 27 hectares (66 acres) on the south-facing slope of Saint-Emilion, on the famous ‘foot of the slope’. Soils are clay-limestone on the upper part; clay, sand and limestone as the slope goes down. Density of plantation 6,500 to 8,500 vines per hectare depending on the soil characteristics. A cracking Claret, soft round the edges and still offering some plum and blackberry flavours” – 90/100
1 bottle in OWC/1 @ £795bt/1

1974 Ch.Musar, Bekaa
“At this time there was more than 50% Cinsault. Transparently pale ruby/tawny. Old, sweet, brown sugar and vaguely dank and leafy and vegetal, cep mushroom notes. The palate has real sweetness and a touch of that coffee and chocolate smoothness and richness, the lovely red fruit elegance comes through again, with very nice balance in the finish. Though spicy, the lingering impression is of it’s sweet fruit.”  92/100
6 bottles @ £725bt/1

1974 Ch.Haut Brion, Graves
“An intense, garnet color and loads of tobacco in the nose before the bouquet opens its peacock tail of aromas with licorice, porcini mushroom and bark in abundance. The mouthfeel has a tension and is very fresh, upright and austere. A formidable wine.”– 98/100
1 bottle @ £595bt/1

1974 Heitz ‘Martha´s Vineyard’, Napa
“Just a beautiful wine, with its unique, herb, mint, eucalyptus, cherry pipe tobacco and earthy profile. At 45 years of age, this was just showing great. ” – 96/100 – S.S. Judgement of Paris Winner
1 bottle @ £2.950bt/1

1974 Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa
“In between the release of some vintages, Joe Heitz blended a portion of the Martha`s Vineyard barrels with some of his Napa Valley Cabernet from other vineyards or purchased grapes. Today there is only a handful of these odd lots of collectible non-vintage Heitz bottlings on the market. 1974 indicates the year that the wine was actually bottled.” – Martha’s baby wine!
2 bottles @ £1.080bt/1

1974 Romanee St.Vivant, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Vosne-Romanee
Rose petal nose, slight animale and chix soup/sois boisgreen tea. Complex mouth, light and etheral yet very bouillon.” – 89/100
1 bottle @ £3.150bt

1974 Sassicaia Tenuta San Guido, Tuscany
“This Tuscan vintage was one of the driest in living memory. In Chiantishire they called it a drought vintage and very little Riserva was made at all. On the coast, the nightly breezes bought some welcome relief to the Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in Bolgheri. Dried fig on the nose. Cedarwood and dry, black olive finish. Good! – 92/100
1 bottle @ £1.750bt/1

1974 Unico Vega Sicilia, Ribera del Duero
“A perplexing wine, the extremely youthful, dark ruby/purple-colored 1974 Unico exhibits a shy, albeit promising nose of smoky, cedary, black-cherry fruit, tart, medium to full-bodied flavors, little tannin, and a more monolithic personality than most Vega Sicilia wines. It remains extremely young. If I had had this wine in a blind tasting, I would have guessed it to be 15-16 years old, not 50. It is a rich, pure, well-made, big wine that has just begun to open”. – 97/100
2 bottles @ £1.080bt/1

1974 Barolo F. Rinaldi, Brunate-Le Coste
“Warm spice, brown sugar sweetness yet bone DRY! Very traditional Barolo and finishes bright”
2 bottles @ £295bt/1

The bottle prices (GB£) for these wines are all on the wine list, as usual, and are quoted ex taxes and shipping/delivery, LCB VT (Eton Park).

I never had the chance to drink a white from 1974 before, so if you did and you do have a recommendation, please can you send me some information on the wine: