Monday tasting of 1996 Bordeaux was a great night. There were 13 wines (12 classed growths) from the 1996 vintage. Overall a very high standard with all wines being very good or better. No corked wines. The 1996 left bank wines looked in great shape but still mostly quite youthful with plenty of room to grow and improve.
2001 Smith haut Lafite – Blanc: Pale yellow. Lovely lemony fruit, ripe and clean and very smooth with hints of honey and lanolin. Very good
1996 Puligny Montrachet Folatiere-Dm Ch Puligny Montrachet: mid yellow, mature nutty character, nice finish, balanced and bright, fully mature.
1996 Grand Puy Lacoste: Classic cigar box and cassis nose, for this is a beautiful expression of “claret” dry, slightly austere but with good intensity and nice balanced finish. A thing of beauty and elegance.
1996 Latour: Inky dark colour, very very young, great intensity with beautiful ripe fruits wrapped in firm but also very fine tannins. Complex and complete. A great treat to drink and taste but really should wait another 15 years for this to mature. Excellent
1996 Lynch Bages: dark red, sweet plummy fruit on the nose with some dried herbs. More rounded and softer with the plums coming thru on palate. Good length and nice finish.
1996 Pontet Canet: medium dark red, pleasing attractive nose of spice and plum, nice ripe fruit with good balance and moderate length finish, A good wine that was a little overshadowing in this first flight
1996 Clos de Marquis: medium red, rather weak nose with some dried herbs and bit of earth. OK on the palate and limited finish. OK but no better.
1996 Ducru Beaucaillou: reticent dry cedary nose, lovely intense dark fruits still wrapped up in quite firm tannins. Nice long finish, Youthful.
1996 Lagrange: dark red, slightly funky nose, perhaps a bit off? A bit like the Clos de Marquis, nice fruit but no great length depth or complexity. Just OK. I really like Lagrange but this bottle didn’t work at all for me.
1996 Leoville Barton: fabulous intense blackcurrant fruit with some cedar. Firm but ripe tannins and slightly ever so slightly austere. This is drinking wonderfully right now and had great intensity and length.Wonderful balance and elegance. Excellent
1996 Leoville Poyferre: dark red, plumy fruits with a little hint oak on the nose, intense deep and concentrated, long finish. A beautiful riper style of bdx, very well judged.
1996 Cos d’Estournel: Very expressive nose with fruit and some spice. Great concentration and balance. Ripe blackcurrant fruits, Complex and long. Excellent
1996 Pape Clement: Round plumy nose with a bit of black pepper. Slightly riper fuller style but still done very well. I liked this.
1996 Pichon Baron: Oh yes… delicate ethereal paulliac nose of pencil, cassis and cigar box. Almost a delicate palate but precise with the “iron fist in velvet glove” thing going on. Such poise and balance. Excellent.
1996 Pichon Lalande: Cool herbal to bell pepper nose. Intense blackcurrant fruits with moderate tannins, slightly dry but with lovely balance. Nice lighter style, others liked it more than I did.
All round a great night with such a strong set of top quality wines. Not a lot of spitting going on around the table…