1996 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac

SKU #110400 97 points Vinous

 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)  (2/2016)

96 points 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)  (4/1999)

95 points 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)  (7/2002)

92 points Wine Spectator

 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)

Decanter

 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.  (12/2009)

Jancis Robinson

 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.  (7/2015)

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

- View our bestselling Bordeaux.
Specific Appellation:

Pauillac

- Pauillac is probably the most famous village in Bordeaux. Located between St. Julien and St. Estephe, it has more of the top ranked chateau than the other four appellations of the Haut Medoc. This area has three of the five premier cru classe wineries: Lafite Rothschild, Latour, and Mouton Rothschild. There are two of the top second-growths (Pichon Lalande and Pichon Baron) as well as several outstanding fourth and fifth-growth chateaux including Lynch Bages. Because of the gravely soils and great drainage, Pauillac has the ideal conditions to grow great Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines from this village are some of the longest-lived in Bordeaux.