1996 Bordeaux offline at Noir restaurant (Melbourne, Australia) 11 May 2016
I love 1996 Bordeaux wines. It was the first vintage that I comprehensively tasted at release (incl all the first growths). Loved the wines back ten. A decade ago we tasted all the Left back First growths at the 10 year mark. Again they looked fabulous. To get the intensity, poise and balance at 12.5% alc back then looked remarkable.
With that in mind I decided to host a tasting of 1996 Bordeaux wines for my wine group to see how the wines were travelling after 20 years.
This time around all wines came from my cellar.
One bottle of Domaine de Chevalier blanc looked a bit muted/advanced and a replacement was opened at home. The second bottle was decidedly better. Wine was not decanted.
One bottle of Cos was corked and was replaced.
All red wines were double decanted between 4 and 5.30 pm.
Dinner was from 7-10.30 pm
The stickies were from 2001 vintage and not from 1996.
MENU and LINE UP
Coffin Bay oysters, chilli, crab coriander
Champagne: 1996 Krug
Huge wine. Powerful. Structured. Expansive. Glorious.
Cured yellow tail kingfish salad of, congo potatoes, capers and mustard, kingfish and prawn aspic
White Wine: 1996 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc
Great nose. Very pale yellow. Vibrant. So youthful. Opened up more as it sat in the glass. Amazing texture and mouthfeel.
Smoked venison tartare, pickled onions, carrots and harissa
Bordeaux Bracket #1
1996 Haut Bailly
1996 Rauzan Segla
1996 Pichon Lalande
Haut Bailly was medium bodied. Very aromatic. Lead pencil shavings. Sauve. Seductive. Perfectly poised.
Pichon was glorious. Again medium bodied but super length and balance. Very classy wine. So seamless.
Rauzan was bigger but a tad angular. Ripe but a bit coarse. (perhaps brett effect??). Lovely to drink but not as compelling as the other two.
Opinions were divided between Haut Bailly and Pichon as to the best in that bracket.
Jerusalem artichoke risoni, confit duck, black truffle and hazelnut pesto
Bordeaux Bracket #2
1996 Leoville Poyferre
1996 Leoville Barton
1996 Leoville Las Cases
Poyferre was the most open and ready to drink in this bracket. Fully evolved. More forward and hence more enjoyable on the day.
Barton was a bit more reserved. Impressive fruit. Earthy. Touch of aged meats. Just starting to show its character. Solid wine.
Las Cases looked like it was bottled only a few years ago. It looked the cleanest (i.e no brett). Very austere. Intense fruit. Fair bit of oak in the background but enough fruit to balance it. It was regal. Towering. Majestic. However, at that night it was not the most ‘enjoyable’ wine and was drinking on its potential which I guess could be decades from now.
Braised beef brisket, fondont potatoes, mushrooms and onion
Bordeaux Bracket #3
1996 Cos d’Estournel
1996 Mouton Rothschild
1996 Chateau Margaux
Cos was a huge wine just entering in to its drinking window. Black cherry, spice. Cedary. Voluptous but not as refined as the other two first growths in the bracket.
Mouton had power but better balance than the Cos. Dark chocolate and mocha. Expansive and mouth filling flavours. Extremely well made wine. Loved it.
Margaux was the undisputed WOTN. The bouquet was supreme. Voilets and roses. Truffled. Immense depth yet so light on its feet. The texture and finesse was to die for.
Chocolate and pistachio brownie, mandarin sorbet
Coutet showed its rich barley sugary effect which I tend to notice in Barsac. Nice wine but perhaps a bit one dimensional. Suduiraut showed more depth and intensity. Lovely complex flavours. Both have got years ahead of them.
A wonderful tasting.