1996 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac
What a treat it is to taste these two Pichon Lalandes straight from the chateau’s cellar. The 1996 Pichon Lalande is stratospheric from the very first taste. The deep, layered bouquet alone is deeply transfixing. Smoke, mocha, dark spices, lavender, crème de cassis, a host of dark-fleshed fruits and a touch of warm, resonant sweetness from the French oak draw me in. All of those sensations follow through to the palate, where the wine is massive, intense and totally enveloping. Time has softened the tannins to the point the 1996 is ready to drink, but there is enough sheer concentration here to support another 20-30 years of exceptional drinking. I am not sure I possess the vocabulary to describe just how captivating the 1996 is, but I do know this: If I had an opportunity to pick up a few well-stored bottles I would take it in a nanosecond. Readers holding the 1996 should be thrilled. The 1996 Pichon Lalande is a magnificent wine with plenty of upside. In word: fabulous. (AG)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1996 Pichon-Lalande is just as awesome from bottle as it was from multiple cask tastings... The color is a saturated ruby/purple. The nose suggests sweet, nearly overripe Cabernet Sauvignon, with its blueberry/blackberry/cassis scents intermixed with high quality, subtle, toasty new oak. Deep and full-bodied, with fabulous concentration and a sweet, opulent texture... (RP)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Deep ruby-red. Very sexy aromas of currant, blackberry and brown sugar, all lifted by an ineffable floral quality from the thoroughly ripe Cabernet Sauvignon that comprises three-quarters of the blend. Dense, fresh and thick with extract; a wonderful combination of texture and guts. Has a core of steel and a powerful structure I haven't found in more recent vintages from this chateau. A very serious style of Pichon-Lalande, with much less Merlot than usual. Finishes with terrific length and grip. (ST)
Presents a taut, brisk feeling, with savory, cedar, singed vanilla and pencil shaving notes weaving around a core of bramble, cassis and blackberry fruit. The cedary spine holds the finish, offering an old-school feel. (Web-2014) (JM)
Bright, deep, youthful colour. Nose lovely, fine, complex, floral and cedar notes. Palate powerful, direct and youthful, silky smooth with wonderful balance and linearity. Only just starting to mature. Excellent concentration, complexity and balance, with delicious freshness on the long finish. 19/20 points.
Really intriguing wine that's already quite evolved on the nose. Really deliciously perfectly formed at this stage. Juicy and ripe but with admirable freshness. Most impressive. Polished tannins and at a perfect stage for current drinking (in 2015). 17.5/20 points.