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1996 BORDEAUX:  MEDOC
November 10, 1999

Wine
Identity

Gerald's
Ranking

Group
Ranking

Total
Points

1sts/2nds
Lasts

Chteau
BEYCHEVELLE
Saint-Julien
$43.99

4

5 78 2/1/2

Chteau
BRANAIRE
(Dulac-Ducru)

Saint-Julien

$50

3 7 85 2/0/4

COS D’ESTOURNEL
Saint-Estephe
$125

2 3 67 3/2/2

Chteau
LAFITE-ROTHSCHILD
Pauillac

$299.99

5 6 80 2/1/2

Chteau
LATOUR
Pauillac

$299.99

1

1 64 4/0/4

Chteau
LYNCH-BAGES
Pauillac
$60

8 7 74 1/3/2

Chteau
PICHON-LONGUEVILLE
Comtesse de Lalande
Pauillac

$140

6 2 66 3/3/2

Chteau
TALBOT
Saint-Julien

$38

7 8 98 0/0/3

Tasting Notes by :  Gerald Weisl

The 96 Bordeaux are highly regarded in France.  It is a vintage which will be long-lived (some of the wines having 20-30 years of life (well-stored).  Monsieurs Bettane and Desseauve put it on a level with 1961, 1982, 1989 and 1990. 

I have tasted some of these wines previously and was very impressed by the power of Lafite-Rothschild and the richness of Beychevelle, a property whose wines I like, but am not crazy about.  I was surprised by the Beychevelle at a trade tasting earlier in the year.  So here we've put it to the test.

These wines are, of course, generally dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon.  In a warm year, one expects deep colors and firm tannins.  That is exactly what we found.


The group last place wine (something has to finish in last place, even if it's a wine which will win other tastings--keep that in mind when your read tasting assessments, please).  Some tasters found Talbot to be stinky and vegetal, while other tasters described it as having a green tea character.  Some found it earthy while another characterized it as being velvety.  It was, perhaps, a shade out of its league on this occasion.  I thought the flavors were cedary, verging on pencil shavings and that it had a plummy, correct Cabernet flavor. 

The 7th place wine was the Branaire-Ducru.  Some said it had "not much aroma."  One taster found a "grassy" character, while another felt it had hints of "roasted vegetables."  Some found it "very dry,"  while others felt it was "very tannic."    One taster said  it had "not too much aroma."  Yet I found lots of sweet fruit, ripe plums and an ample amount of sweet oak!  This, for me, was a terrific wine.

Lafite-Rothschild placed sixth.  One taster felt it had a slight "chemical" note, while another described it as having a fragrance reminiscent of "pineapple...exotic...star anise."  Another taster felt the aromas recalled lavendar and blue fruits rather than red fruit aromas.  It was described as lower in acidity and having a short finish.  I felt it was a 2-star wine (on a scale of three), showing deep red fruit, lovely oak and being nicely framed.  My notes indicate "big, rich, built-to-last with lovely fruit and balanced tannins."  

Chateau Beychevelle finished in 5th place.  It was desrcibed as being of an "international style," having lots of sweet oak.  Descriptors such as "open-knit," "coffee," "band-aid," "tobacco" and "pencil shavings" were employed by some tasters.   One asked "Where's the beef?", while another found it to have a long and lingering finish.  I found cedary, creamy, woodsy, sweet notes to its nose and a vanillin and mildly leathery character in the mouth. 

Lynch-Bages finished in fourth place.  The panel found "vegetal," "sweet oak," "velevety",  "chocolate and caramel," notes along with "hints of coffee," "roasted plums," "milk chocolate" and cedar.  While I found some red fruit notes along with a mildly herbal character, it seemed a bit shallow compared to the competition.

Cos d'Estournel was the third place wine.  "Exploding, extremely aromatic..." was how one taster described the wine.  Another felt it had "...the most expansive palate."  "Sweet oak."   "Tobacco."  Others felt the wine had "brittle tannins" and was "light on fruit."  I found lots of cedar, pencil shavings, violets and layers of complexity.  This will probably develop over the next 15-25 years!

Pichon-Lalande was the second place wine.  It was "different...Rhone-like" to some, while others felt it had the "strongest oak."  Some found herbal or vegetal notes, as this was described as having hints of "olives and ripe green peppers."  Pichon was further described as "harmonious...complete...intense and concentrated..."  I felt the wine was, at this stage, deeper on the palate than on the nose.


The top wine was Chateau Latour.  "The most different," intoned one participant.  "Too acidic," replied another.  A third claimed it was "...very balanced."  It gained favor with some for its "warm fruit and very long finish," while others felt the wine had "smooth tannins."  I can add the words "wow!" and "profound" to the list.  This is certain to be a long-lived wine!

WEIMAX TASTINGS ARCHIVE

1998 CHTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE September 12, 2001

1999 "High Roller" CHARDONNAYS  September 5, 2001

1998 BORDEAUX  August 22, 2001

1997 VOSNE-ROMANE Tasting  August 1, 2001

1999 CALIFORNIA ZINS  July 25, 2001

1998 CABERNET SAUVIGNONS  July 11,  2001

OLD CALIFORNIA CHARDONNAYS June 6, 2001

1997 ECHEZEAUX May 30, 2001

1999 NORTH COAST ZINFANDELS May 23, 2001

1999 West Coast Merlots May 9, 2001

1999 WEST COAST PINOT NOIRS May 2, 2001

1997 BARBARESCO  April 25, 2001

Mostly RUSSIAN RIVER PINOT NOIRS  April 11, 2001

1997 NAPA CABERNETS April 4, 2001

1995 BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO March 28, 2001

1997 CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY & MOREY SAINT DENIS
with one 1996...March 14, 2001

1997 GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN  March 7, 2001

1996 BAROLO  February 28, 2001

1978-1979 California Cabernets January 10, 2001

1997 California Cabernets November 8, 2000

1997 TUSCAN SANGIOVESES  November 1, 2000

1997-1998 Chteauneuf-du-Papes & CALIFORNIA WANNABEEs  October 25, 2000

Mostly 1998 PINOT NOIRS  October 11, 2000

1996 CALIFORNIA CABERNETS  October 4, 2000

MATURE CLARETS  September 27, 2000

1997 RED BORDEAUX  September 13, 2000

1997 NAPA CABERNETS   September 6, 2000

1998 CALIFORNIA CHARDONNAYS   August 30, 2000

1997 CLOS DE VOUGEOTS August 23, 2000

SYRAH & PETITE SIRAH  August 9, 2000

FANCY CALIFORNIA MERLOTS   August 2, 2000

1996 FAMOUS CALIFORNIA CABERNETS  June 14, 2000

WEST COAST SYRAHS  June 7, 2000

1997 CABERNETS  May 31, 2000

VIOGNIERS of RECENT VINTAGE May 24, 2000

1997-1998 ZINFANDELS  May 10, 2000

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE CLARETS May 3, 2000

1996 California CABERNETS  April 12, 2000

1996 FRENCH RED BURGUNDIES   March 29, 2000

CALIFORNIA vs ITALIAN (Tuscan) SANGIOVESE  March 22, 2000

WEST COAST PINOT NOIRS  March 8, 2000

AUSSIE SHIRAZ TASTING  March 1, 2000

FRENCH CHAMPAGNES (NV BRUTS)  January 5, 2000

1996 BORDEAUX (MEDOC) TASTING  November 10, 1999

CABERNET-INFLUENCED VINI FROM ITALY November 3, 1999

CABERNETS OF THE WORLD TASTING October 27, 1999

 

THE VINO-FINO TASTERS (A private tasting group)
THE VINO-FINO TASTERS (A private tasting group)
VINO FINO: 1999 PINOT NOIRS May 16, 2001
VINO FINO: 1996 SAINT-MILION Tasting April 18, 2001
VINO FINO: CARNEROS CHARDONNAYS March 21, 2001

VINO FINO:  1984/1985 Napa CABERNETS (John Vignau Memorial Tasting)  October 18, 2000
VINO FINO:  1997 CALIFORNIA CABERNETS Sept. 2000
VINO FINO:  1997 BORDEAUX - MEDOC
VINO FINO:  1997-1998 SANGIOVESES
VINO FINO:  SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE CLARETS

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