TN: 1996 Larmande, Saint-Emilion

From my experience, you can hardly go wrong with any of the lesser-known classified growths from Saint-Émilion – at least if the wine is made in traditional style. More often than not those wines come very close in quality to the far more expensive and prestigious First Growths, the sophisticated 1996 Larmande for instance.

On the palate, the attack is silky and delicious. Lovely ripe red cherry fruit dominates, but there are also notes of ripe raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, plums and black currants. With time, a delicate hint of very ripe yellow plum emerges and the secondary and tertiary aromas gain significantly in both, intensity and precision. Forest floor, leather, anise, and cinnamon, to name a few. This is an elegant, exquisitely balanced Saint-Emilion with lovely freshness lifting the densely, layered fruit to a lingering, spicy, mineral finish. I think it now has entered its plateau of maturity. 13% alcohol.


Nice notes, Rudi!

I have always enjoyed this classic, if not slightly rustic, wine-making style of Larmande. Admittedly, I have not had any since the 2000 vintage. Some of the ‘80s were excellent.

What are current releases like, if you or anyone knows?

No clue regarding current releases, Robert, but besides the decidedly elegant 1996 I had excellent bottles of their 2001 and 2005 in recent years. Unlike in earlier times, I cold not detect any rustic elements.

Sounds wonderful! I like the sound of the silky freshness, which I’ve always associated with Larmande so thanks for the reminder. Saint Emilion went off my radar some time ago but I’ll have to look out for some Larmandes.

Clive Coates has always been very high on this estate, but I find them a little too thin. To me, they are correct, and classic, but they don’t thrill me, and I do have room for this style of St Emilion, so its not a style bias.