1996 Haut-Bages Libéral, Pauillac

SKU #110567 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Tasted blind at Farr's horizontal. A dense, surly, blackberry/liquorice tinged nose. A lot of new oak yet to be resolved. Dates and raisin. A very high extraction on the toasty palate. Blackberry, kirsch, liquroice. Quite decadent, but good purity and definition. Certainly well-made. Cherry-tinged finish. Good length. Tasted September 2006. (NM)  (9/2006)

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Price: $99.99

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Staff Image By: Steve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/12/2018 | Send Email
This super consistent under the radar 5th Growth seems to be quietly snatched up by in the know connoisseurs looking for classic Pauillac that doesn't break the bank. This starts with aromas and flavors of pencil lead, cedar closet, dusty cherry and red plum that blends in with notions of milk chocolate. The middle is firm and clean with a lingering finish of mineral and persistent sweetness.

Staff Image By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/12/2018 | Send Email
This great bottle of Pauillac is perfect for a special occasion. If you don't want to settle for anything less that the real deal, the Haut Bages Liberal is an excellent choice; this wine has the pencil lead breed, the powerful dark fruit, the completely integrated tannins and the long finish that top 1996's are famous for.
Drink from 2018 to 2026

Staff Image By: Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/12/2018 | Send Email
The bouquet opens with very pretty notes of crushed brambly fruits, violets and just a hint of old school barnyard and toast. The fruit is concentrated and rich on the palate, with great structure from the velvety tannins that seamlessly mell into the soft but structured acid driven finish, which has just a hint of minty green pepper, a classic hallmark of the great ’96 vintage. This is a beautiful wine and would make the perfect steak accompaniment.

Staff Image By: James Bradshaw | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/12/2018 | Send Email
Many of the 1996s from Bordeaux are showing beautifully, and the Haut-Bages Libéral is no exception. Exhibiting the softer side Pauillac, this smooth and supple red seduces with nuance rather than power. Aromas of spice box waft from the glass and are followed by a distinctly floral touch. On the palate, it joins delicious ripe, cherry fruit with wood spice and hints of savory herbs. While the flavors work together impeccably, it's this 1996's texture that steals the show. Soft and plush, it effortlessly glides across the palate, while the finish leaves you with a delicate dusting of tannin. Always one of the finest values out of Pauillac, you'd be hard pressed to find another bottling this good under $100. An exceptional representative from a celebrated vintage. Don't miss it!

Staff Image By: Clyde Beffa Jr. | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/12/2018 | Send Email
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We tasted this wine in Bordeaux last year. A great value 20+ year old Pauillac. Still lively with a modern touch of toasty oak and red berry fruit flavors. This property is next to Latour and Pichon Lalande so the terroir is fantastic. Decant and serve with rack of lamb. Still has five plus years cellar life ahead.
Drink from 2018 to 2025

Additional Information:

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.
Sub-Region:

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.