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1996 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac

SKU #110400 97 points Vinous

Outer quote mark 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) 97+ Inner quote mark (2/2016)

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark 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, this wine was singing in full harmony when I tasted it in January. Given the wine's abnormally high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, I would suspect it will close down. It possesses plenty of tannin, but the wine's overwhelming fruit richness dominates its personality. (RP) Inner quote mark (4/1999)

95 points Decanter

Outer quote mark I have had better bottles of this particular vintage from Pichon Comtesse, and in this lineup the Pichon Baron is the one that stood out, but this is still a brilliant wine and is rightly considered to be among the best of the vintage. Full of concentrated blackberry and blackcurrant fruits, with sweet cedar and saffron spice notes as it opens, gentle liquorice root and charred oak on the finish. A higher proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the bottle than in most years (certainly at the time), and it has helped it to remain enticingly firm. 50% of production went into the first wine. (JA) Inner quote mark (1/2021)

95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

Outer quote mark 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) 95+ Inner quote mark (7/2002)

94 points John Gilman

Outer quote mark The 1996 Château Pichon-Lalande is a fine wine in the making, but this is one of the longest distance runners in the stable of the last quarter century here and the wine is still many years away from fully softening up on the backend and drinking at its apogee. The bouquet is still quite youthful and very promising, offering up a lovely mix of cassis, sweet dark berries, gravel, a hint of black tea, tobacco leaf, smoke and cedary wood. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and rock solid at the core, with fine focus and grip, sound acids and outstanding balance on the youthful and energetic finish. There is plenty of inner fruit density here to carry the tannins, so I have no worries about the balance of this wine and if one is young enough, then eventually, they will have a really lovely bottle on their hands. But, patience is still very much necessary for this structured wine! Inner quote mark (9/2019)

Jancis Robinson

Outer quote mark 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. (JR) 17.5/20 Inner quote mark (7/2015)

K&L Notes

96 points Neal Martin in Vinous: "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." (8/2019)

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Price: $250.00
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