Fabulous, wholly classic and intense nose of pure St Julien graphite. But on the palate, less profound than the nose promised. Some watering at rim. Mellow, relatively soft wine, better without food. No real bite, no unresolved tannins, very approachable. Delightful, but not as serious as expected. Certainly not in decline, but I doubt there is much upside to come.
1996 Bordeaux at RSJ (RSJ, Southwark): A touch closed at first. Youthful, deep black fruit, touch of soil and mineral. Medium bodied, deep, intense black fruit, touch of mineral, tannins still a touch firm, attractive leafy edge, long,firm finish. Excellent ***(*1/2), in need of another 5 years. My 3rd/ Group 2nd.
Red currant, cedar, light worn leather notes. Perfect w rosemary/thyme scented lamb. Opened for 1.5 hours before drinking, was continuing to open up on the nose and gain weight. Hold or drink next bottle. Tannins well-integrated at this point.
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(Chateau Léoville-Barton St Julien) A chance to reassess this wine which seemed opulent and atypical when last tasted in April 2001. The colour is youthful although, unlike all the other wines in this flight, it has the faintest tinge of maturity. A classic nose - minerals and blackcurrant fruit, and an impressive palate - dense, sweet, intense fruit. Lovely texture, ripe tannins and correct acidity. This displays more typicity than when last assessed. Needs two or three years in the cellar.
(Chateau Léoville-Barton St Julien) Similarly dense and dark, a feature that had me mark these two wines as the pair of 1996s. Closed on the nose. Strange, very sweet pastille fruit on the palate. Good tannic structure, but not at all austere. Seems opulent and a touch New World in style. Will be interesting to see what happens to that sweet cassis fruit.
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