The 1996 Pichon-Longueville Baron has a deep garnet core with some bricking on the rim. The nose is fragrant and generous with more red fruit than black, cedar and tobacco, fine definition, perhaps a little rustic in keeping with the winemaking at the time, but certainly giving lots of pleasure. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin -- a cohesive Pauillac with plenty of depth and fine balance. The acidity lends this plenty of freshness and it does not shortchange you with plenty of tarry, cedary fruit. You come away with the impression that this Pichon Baron is going to continue to improve although I would not burn anyone at the stake for opening it now. If you cannot afford the First Growth then this (and Pichon Lalande) would be where I would come. (NM)
Good full ruby-red. Roasted plum, leather and smoked nuts on the nose. Silky and layered in the mouth. Sweet and suave, with a complicating mineral quality. Suggests solid extract but ultimately a wine of very good rather than outstanding intensity. Finishes with fine tannins and persistent, slow-building flavor. (ST)
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