Even better than the '95, this is less meaty and cleaner with more focus. Seems to be in a very good place and quite ready for another decade of development. No worries at all about using up the case. Beautiful claret.
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(Chateau Lafon-Rochet St Estèphe) Young, but well priced compared with many more illustrious names on the list, and I've always enjoyed the 1996s, even in their youth, for the classic, left-bank Cabernet character that they show. This was no disappointment. Decanted shortly before dining. Full colour, classic stony black fruit nose, and a surprisingly full, ripe, almost creamy texture. Very well poised though, still some youthful fruit, but a nice backbone of approachable tannins, and a lovely, hard and stony St Estèphe character to it. This has moved on somewhat in the last three years, but will still benefit from cellar time. Very good.
(Chateau Lafon-Rochet St Estèphe) A youthful hue. I thought this an open, expressive wine, with exotic notes of black olive and Asian spices, although others were less taken. More tannin than the 1995 on the palate, but matched by a good texture, medium body, firm sweet fruit and correct acidity. The tannins win on the finish though. A lovely, altogether wine which needs time in the cellar.
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