Magnum shoot out - France vs. Italy (Switzerland): From Magnum, served blind. Medium ruby. Expressive nose of dark fruit with a touch of barnyard, cut hey, minerals and cedar wood. Medium bodied with excellent mid mouth feeling, freshness and great complexity. Long finish. A really grand Pauillac, forget about the price...
From Magnum bottle. First explosive animalic notes of horse saddle, barnyard and earth, lead pencil/graphite, but also tons of black currant/cassis, black cherries, sweet spices, dark chocolate, crushed flowers and later some sweet delicious note of marzipan. Shows more and more different flavors over the course of the evening. It's full-bodied and dense, without being heavy and has medium-high acidity and medium-high tannin that is super velvety. Long and complex finish. Once again, an absolute showstopper. A breath-takingly complex, deeply expressive but elegant and finessed Lafite... it just can't get any better than this...
Flawless cork with deep stained edge. Dark reddish purple in color. Abundant fresh classic cabernet aromas- cassis, leather. Beautiful nose- a long deep inhale showed no sharp edges at all. First sips reveal glycerin, dark fruits, (Will thought he tasted avocado), fat on the tongue but finishing with a freshness, finesse, that begs you to sip again. Tannins are seamlessly integrated. Longer time in the glass heightened the enjoyment- it opened up but never got flabby as one would expect with a great wine. This wine requires more contemplation than what is possible when you just share just one bottle with others. We opened a bottle of Shafer Hillside alongside, which was beautiful. It's unfair to make a comparison, but time in the glass made the Lafite more interesting/complex and the Shafer less so.
Dreamer no 2: Un nez spectaculaire, éminemment Médocain avec ses notes de graphite (mine de crayon), de cèdre, très expressif et envoûtant. En bouche le vin est puissant et fin, très serré, avec encore des notes de mine de crayon, des prunes. C'est long et plein, d'une dimension spectaculaire! Encore très jeune, il est à au moins 10 ou 15 ans de son plateau de maturité. Un peu fermé à ce stade, il s'impose par sa texture exceptionnelle. Futur très grand vin. 97+ pts
I'm hearing Etta James with "At Last." I've wanted to taste this wine for years. And finally, or should I say, at last, you're here in my glass, and I can say without reservation, where that wine went next. Right where it was supposed to be!
If you're looking for the wine of the vintage, stop your search. I am thinking we have a winner, and that says a lot for 1996 Left Bank Bordeaux! The intense powerful, complex nose with its attention grabbing forest floor, earth, some, cassis, Cuban tobacco and cedar wood is off the hook. And that's just the start of the party. The wine has this beautiful purity of fruit, velvet textures and lushness to it, that makes impossible not to want to take another sip. The finish lingers, expands and gains in complexity for well over 60 seconds!
Yes, this is more than expensive. But if you have the money, or very wealthy friends, this is real deal.
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(Lafite) Enter 1996 Lafite Rothschild. If there is a vintage of Lafite that is undervalued, it is certainly the 1996. I have always loved this Lafite and found it to be amongst their finest vintages…ever. The nose was full of deep, dark cassisy fruit. The Poet marveled at its concentration, also finding its ‘tannins so fresh.’ This wine was red carpet fabulous. An exotic mix of deep bouillon, chalkboard and dank fruit made for a mouthwatering mix.
(Lafite Rothschild) The 1996 Lafite Rothschild left no doubt as to who was in charge, at least up until now. It was a lean, mean fighting machine! It was waxy and spiny like the other 1996s, but also elegant city. There was pungent anise to go with emerging cassis and nut aromas. Lit kindling and cedar joined the party in secondary fashion. The palate was super rich – finally a 1996 with upfront density! It was not only rich, but also big and thick in the mouth, and its acidity was clearly the best of the bunch, so fine yet so sharp, as in ‘on point.’ There were green flashes like lantern, and its finish was precise, linear and singular in its greatness (97+).
(Lafite-Rothschild) Very tight wine but impressive nonetheless. Hints of tar, fresh tobacco, violets, pencil lead & cassis. Perfectly symetrical in the mouth with no hard edges but in the beginning the wine was not giving up much fruit. As it aerated over dinner it began to show its greatness. Layers of massive fruit allied with stunning finesse and a very long finish. I know there is more fruit there and lots more aromatic fireworks to come in the future. I would let this lie for 10 years.
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