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1996 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc

SKU #110435 93 points John Gilman

Outer quote mark I was not travelling to Bordeaux back when the 1996s were first displayed, and my primary business at this time in the wine trade was not young claret, so I do not have anywhere near as much tasting experience with the young ‘96s as I do with the 1995 vintage. Consequently, I am always happy to cross paths with wines from this year, which is clearly very, very strong on the Left Bank. The 1996 Cantemerle is outstanding, offering up a deep and very vibrant bouquet of cassis, dark berries, cigar ash, gravelly soil tones, incipient notes of chipotles and a deft base of new vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and classically balanced, with a rock solid core, fine focus and grip, blossoming refinement and excellent length on the tangy and still fairly chewy finish. This wine is going to be excellent, but it is still at least six or seven years away from primetime drinking. (Drink between 2020-2060) Inner quote mark (7/2014)

Jancis Robinson

Outer quote mark Magnum. Tasted blind. Looks quite mature ruby. Really mature and fun. Fresh fruit and not too much obvious tannin. Just very slightly austere. Inner quote mark (11/2018)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark I had hoped this wine would turn out closer to outstanding, but it is an excellent Cantemerle, if not quite as stunning as I had expected. The wine offers a dark ruby color, and a sweet nose of black raspberries, subtle new oak, and acacia smells. There is fine sweetness and solid tannin in this elegant, symmetrical wine. It is more forward and lighter than it was from cask, but it is a stylish example of Cantemerle. (RP) Inner quote mark (4/1999)

K&L Notes

This is one of K&L's top picks for value-of-the-vintage. Fabulous nose, rich deep flavors, value-priced considering the quality. And we weren't the only ones who liked it. Forbes raved about the 1996 bottling and explained why it's such a value: "Not a great Bordeaux name, it is nonetheless a quintessential Bordeaux wine, displaying all the characteristics that make this area so special. It is a fifth growth situated just outside the boundary of the famous Margaux commune. This is unfortunate for them as it means it is entitled to only the less prestigious Haut-Medoc appellation–but fortunate for us consumers because it doesn’t command the price it would as a Margaux while possessing many of the qualities of it’s famous neighbor. In fact it’s a quintessential claret, a polished and refined wine that has the velvety smoothness of good Bordeaux, especially Margaux, without the vanilla oakyness that many California producers use to imitate this effect. There’s a nice earthy nose followed by a plumy, opulent richness with good structure and plenty of backbone. It has more depth and complexity than you would expect in one so young, yet is almost an indulgent wine, luscious and sensual in its appeal." (5/2002)

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Price: $79.99
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