1996 Château Rayas "Reserve" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Good deep red. Deeper aromas of black cherry, raspberry, pepper and licorice. Broad-shouldered but very closed, showing less sweetness today than the '96 Pignan. Red fruit flavors complicated by notes of leather, licorice and herbs. Strong acid/tannin backbone for aging. But tough going today. 90+ points.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This lighter-styled wine appears diluted in terms of color, but it possesses surprising quantities of sweet black cherry fruit intermixed with hints of resin, licorice, and tobacco. It is a medium to full-bodied Chateauneuf with far more flavor and intensity than its light-ish colors suggest. The wine requires consumption over the next 5-8 years.
Sadly, the 1996 Chateauneuf du Pape from Rayas was the last one that Jacques Reynaud vinified before he passed away in January, 1997. The wine is another example of the superb talents of a man whose winemaking skills are deservedly legendary.