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. (JS, Web Only-2007)
Tasted blind as a vintage comparison at the Valandraud vertical, the 1996 Latour is a wine that continues to perplex. I just think that given the vintage, the team would have made a far superior wine nowadays. That said, it is still a very fine Pauillac. Here, it conveyed a sense of "airiness" on the bouquet, more backward and surly than other bottles tasted with attractive damp earth and leather aromas. It feels strict and uncompromising when compared to others. The palate is medium-bodied with light and supple tannin, tart red berry fruit, black pepper and plenty of tobacco indicating its Pauillac origins. This is a well balanced, correct and elegant Latour, not the powerhouse of the 2000 or 2005, yet continuing to give drinking pleasure unabated after two decades. (NM)
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. (ST) 95+
The last bottle of the 1996 Latour that I tasted was part of a mini-vertical that was one of the most ingenuous and generous flights of wine I have tasted in a long time, as my friend paired the 1996 Latour up with the 1896 Latour at a double blind tasting in February of this year! Needless to say, the one hundred years’ worth of bottle age between the two vintages was sufficient to convince none of us that it was the same property, but both wines acquitted themselves beautifully. I was surprised at how well the 1996 Latour was starting to show, given that it is a classically-styled Latour from a very tannic and powerful vintage in the Medoc, but the wine is already starting to drink with some generosity. The bouquet is superb, offering up scents of black cherries, cassis, cigar ash a touch of tariness, gravelly soil tones, smoke and a whisper of balsam bough in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with firm, still plenty chewy tannins, fine focus and balance and a very long, nascently complex and quite promising finish. This is nowhere near as unapproachable as I would have supposed the combination of Latour and 1996 would be, but I would be inclined to give it another decade in the cellar and really let the fireworks get rolling properly. Drink between 2027-2085. 94+
Beautifully ornate nose with equal parts stalk, leaf, herb and black fruit. Freshly balanced palate with delicacy and refreshment, and surprising elegance for Pauillac from a big vintage. Wonderful complexity on the finish, earthy and open and meaty on the length. 18/20 points. (RH)
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