1996 Château Lafite Rothschild - Pauillac
In-Store Notes1996 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, First Growth, Pauillac, Red Bordeaux, France. 100 Points, Parker.
Château Lafite Rothschild Description
The growing season was excellent in 1996, with optimal conditions for the grapes. August was tough, cold, and rainy; drenching the winemakers' spirits. Fortunately the sun came back in September: these are the three phases of this vintage which produced this rich, dense, structured, and complex wine. Certain enthusiasts find that the "96" evokes the elegance of 1953, and the power of 1959: this vintage lives up to its high praise, and can be cherished after ages!
Wine Spectator: 96 Points
Wine Advocate: 100 Points
Tasted three times since bottling, the 1996 Lafite-Rothschild is unquestionably this renowned estate's greatest wine. As I indicated last year, only 38% of the crop was deemed grand enough to be put into the final blend, which is atypically high in Cabernet Sauvignon (83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot). This massive wine may be the biggest, largest-scaled Lafite I have ever tasted. It will require many years to come around, so I suspect all of us past the age of fifty might want to give serious consideration as to whether we should be laying away multiple cases of this wine. It is also the first Lafite-Rothschild to be put into a new engraved bottle (designed to prevent fraudulent imitations). The wine exhibits a thick-looking, ruby/purple color, and a knock-out nose of lead pencil, minerals, flowers, and black currant scents. Extremely powerful and full-bodied, with remarkable complexity for such a young wine, this huge Lafite is oozing with extract and richness, yet has managed to preserve its quintessentially elegant personality. This wine is even richer than it was prior to bottling. It should unquestionably last for 40-50 years. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2050. The wine of the vintage?
Steven Tanzer: 96 Points
Full, deep ruby, by far the darkest of these vintages. Knockout nose of great precision: cassis, black cherry, lead pencil, licorice, dried herbs and mint. Densely packed and extremely unevolved; a powerfully structured wine with uncanny precision and penetration. Finishes with powerful, firm tannins and exceptional mounting persistence. An infant, but a great Northern Medoc '96 in the making. Drink 2015 to 2040.
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