Bright ruby with a palish rim. Intense, fragrant aromas of strawberry, iris, coffee, white pepper and bay leaf are lifted by an aromatic spice note; one can recognize the Cabernet Franc here. Rich, dense and suave, with very pure red fruit, cedar and herb flavors that coat the palate and are nicely carried by vibrant, harmonious acidity. Finishes with outstanding length, noble tannins and a late spicy, floral kick. This outstanding Mouton has improved enormously since its release. (ID)
Incredible nose of ultraripe fruit, it's yet subtle and complex. Full-bodied, with very ripe, almost sweet fruit and a long, long caressing finish. Superb. This is edging out the 1995. (JS, Web-2007)
The bottle I opened was fabulous on the nose with aromas of currants, cedar, sweet tobacco, incense, and flowers. It was full-bodied, with very fine silky tannins and similar flavors as the aromas. However, a slightly green undertone came thorough on the palate.
It is four years since I last tasted the 1996 Château Mouton-Rothschild. Approaching 20 years old, the nose is now open for business but remaining classic in style, a mixture of red and black fruit, hickory, cedar and just a hint of lavender. It is very complex and beautifully defined. The palate is medium-bodied with a slightly herbaceous, undergrowth-tinged opening, the tannins just a little abrasive at the moment, exerting a firmness in the mouth. I feel it is almost as if the palate has not kept pace with the aromatics, requiring more substance to fill out the foursquare finish. If you like a slightly more austere Pauillac then you will adore this, though I don't think it quite reaches the potential that it showed a few years ago. (NM)
This is the wine that Jean-Marc Quarin wrote about at length in relation to decanting it. This bottle was opened an hour before tasting. Very dark crimson with a little more sign of evolution than the 1995. Solid meat extract sort of nose -- very much a notch up from the Clerc Milon and Armailhac. Very concentrated. Quite refined tannins and lovely savour. Worth waiting for, I think, and Philippe Dalhuin is convinced that it needs some aeration before serving. It is pretty solid but there is lots there. Funnily enough this seems a little more burnt on the nose than the drought vintage of 1995. 18/20 points. (JR)
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