Latour 1996

Pauillac, First Growth

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Tasting Notes

The 1996 Latour was the first to be made in the new vat room that was completed in the nick of time before the fruit came in. Frédéric Engerer told me that they had no "Plan B" if it had not been ready! He also told me that the 1996 underwent little sorting and no green harvest. It was picked around 22-23 September. Now at 20 years of age, it has quite a complex bouquet that is approaching full maturity, laden with blackberry, charcoal, pencil lead and cedar scents that display impressive precision. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, well balanced with a keen thread of acidity. It is foursquare, correct and very "Latour": saline in the mouth with good depth towards the finish and this bottle showing a dash of black pepper and a hint of licorice on the finish. While not in the same division as say, Mouton-Rothschild or Château Margaux this vintage, it remains a splendid, if quite "serious" Latour. Drink this now and over the next 15-20 years. Tasted July 2016.

Score: 95

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2016 - 2031 28 October 2016

Fabulous aromas of crushed raspberries, plums and blackberries. Mind-blowing nose. Full-bodied, with soft and silky tannins and a long caressing finish. Hard not to drink now, but leave it alone.--'95/'96 Bordeaux retrospective. Best after 2010. 17,000 cases made.

Score: 96

James Suckling, Wine Spectator Maturity: 2010+ 01 January 2007

Mature rim. Inky mineral nose. Delicate, lively wine. Really racy. Very dry finish. A bit gawky.

Score: 18

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2008-2020 18 October 2006

A spectacular Latour, the 1996 may be the modern day clone of the 1966, only riper. This vintage, which is so variable in Pomerol, St.-Emilion, and Graves, was fabulous for the late-harvested Cabernet Sauvignon of the northern Medoc because of splendid weather in late September and early October. An opaque purple color is followed by phenomenally sweet, pure aromas of cassis infused with subtle minerals. This massive offering possesses unreal levels of extract, full body, intensely ripe, but abundant tannin, and a finish that lasts for nearly a minute. Classic and dense, it displays the potential for 50-75 years of longevity. Although still an infant, it would be educational to taste a bottle. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2050.

Score: 99

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2015-2050 30 June 2000

Fifty-six percent of the 1996 production made it into the grand vin, a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. It is a massive, backward wine that comes close to being a monster. The wine reveals an opaque ruby/purple color, as well as reticent but emerging aromas of roasted nuts, blackberry fruit, tobacco, and coffee, with hints of pain grille in the background. Massive and full-bodied in the mouth, it possesses extremely high tannin, fabulous concentration and purity, and an impeccably long finish. This wine, bottled in July, 1998, will require at least a decade of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2040.

Score: 99

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2012 - 2040 30 April 1999

A spectacular Latour, the 1996 may be the modern day clone of the 1966, only riper. This vintage, which is so variable in Pomerol, St.-Emilion, and Graves, was fabulous for the late-harvested Cabernet Sauvignon of the northern Medoc because of splendid weather in late September and early October. An opaque purple color is followed by phenomenally sweet, pure aromas of cassis infused with subtle minerals. This massive offering possesses unreal levels of extract, full body, intensely ripe, but abundant tannin, and a finish that lasts for nearly a minute. Classic and dense, it displays the potential for 50-75 years of longevity. Although still an infant, it would be educational to taste a bottle.

Score: 99

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2015-2050 01 June 0200

Saturated ruby-red. Dark berries, violet, licorice and a note of torrefaction. Explosive, pure flavors are almost too big for the mouth. Finishes with big, sweet tannins and expanding, exhilarating flavors of pruneaux and crystallized dark berries. Perfectly integrated oak. A great Latour. (95+ points)

Score: 95

Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar 01 May 1999