Robert Parker 97
The 1996 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is really beginning to drink with style, wafting from the glass with an inviting nose of blackberries, cassis, cherries, rich soil tones, Cuban cigar and subtle hints of mint and bergamot. Medium to full-bodied, rich and fleshy, with an expansive, sumptuous core of fruit that’s underpinned by ripe acids and ripe, powdery virile tannins, it concludes with a long, penetrating and sapid finish. This unusually Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated vintage was tightly wound for its first two decades, but as time passes it’s the chateau signature that’s dominating the cepagement. It’s one of the wines of the vintage in 1996.
Anticipated maturity: 2016-2056
The 1996 Pichon-Lalande has long been one of my favorite wines from this period. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot, it has a quintessential Pauillac nose: very intense, brilliant and delineated, with pure blackberry, graphite and mint aromas bursting from the glass. The palate seems to have softened just a little over the last couple of years, and there is great depth here. Dense black fruit, laced with cedar, hints of espresso and leather, fans out toward the grippy finish, which is just beginning to entertain more secondary aromas of sage and spice on the aftertaste. In many ways the ’96 presages the style of wine that Nicolas Glumineau pursues today. Brilliant. Tasted at a vertical tasting at the château.
Anticipated maturity: 2019-2045
Just starting to drink really well. Great balance and medium body with real finesse, subtlety and maturity on the nose. Very well mannered and rewarding.
Anticipated maturity: 2009-2020