1996 Ch. Sociando-Mallet, Haut-Medoc
My best bottle of this ever. Everything I want from a mature Bordeaux. Delicious mix of components in dark fruit, leather, savory notes, hint of bell pepper, even a tiny bit of heat. Did not let up in days 2 and 3. Will scrimp on my last 2 from an original 9-bottle purchase. A-
Opening one tonight…any decanting needed?
Great note, Ramon. I had one last august and like yours, it was terrific.
Here’s my note FWIW:
I don’t know precisely what false-starts and mis-turns this wine may have taken along the way, but as of the summer of 2023, I can declare without equivocation, this is a beauty. Showing at peak maturity for my palate, there are tertiary facets galore in the serious, complex bouquet – worn leather, leafy cabernet scents, hatch chilies, smoked poblanos, dried currants, freshly-turned soil, and some sweet spicy notes (cinnamon?) only mature Bordeaux seems to get – combined with the vigor, grip, dry extract, and length on the body of a wine in its prime. Definitely on the drier end of the spectrum on the finish, where it still displays some rustic hardiness, but with hearty food these “agricultural” flashes are a feature, not a bug.
I am really digging this and I imagine it would thrill equally lovers of traditional claret and cab franc grown in the Loire. Bravo. 93 pts.
Just as I do, as often as I can with Bdx that are > 15 year old, I stand up bottle for 5+ days to let sediment settle and I double decant back into the same bottle about 2 hours before dinner.
I’m a fan of drinking clear wines that are devoid of sediment.
I’m aware, Patrick, that you and I have gone through many variations of this bottling over many years now. Good to see your TN and, agree, that it runs parallel to the one I posted. For the sake of our remaining bottles, here’s hoping that the 1996 Sociando Mallet has finally and truly found its perceived very promising promise.
Wanted to report back. Decanted for 1 hour, then enjoyed over the next 2 hours with food.
Initially it was a bit disjointed and had a little funk that blew off over the course of the evening. Then it gave way to all of the things we love about aged Bordeaux. Wonderful aromas of mushroom, forest floor, damp earth, leather, and even some Asian five spice. On the palate, there was a luscious mouth feel with resolved tannins and fading acidity. It was the clear WOTN. I have one more bottle remaining, and I can only hope it performs as well as this one did. Cheers.
Last time I had this unfortunately it was with the 1996 Cuvée Jean Gautreau so the normal Sociando came in as a super second
Jean Gautreau in the house!
Any time I think about buying more wine, I should look at that (only partial view) photo of my cellar.
I can see a few open slots…
Yup. Me too. Love the 14 JG maggies!
Did you grab the 16 as well?
I skipped the 16 JG, I usually don’t go for magnums as I never seem to have the occasion/inspiration to open one, but the sale price on those 14 JG magnums was irresistible.
I did pick up 4 more of the 09 JG in 750 on sale, as a test bottle showed very well indeed (primary but already approachable).
Where do you guys source the Jean Gautreau? I have only seen a few bottles at auction and snapped them up but never see an option to purchase en primeur. I’m a long time buyer of SM in general…
Definitely hard to find the JG but K&L had a pretty large selection for a while of newish releases, which they eventually put on sale. I picked up some 06, 09 and the mags of the 14.