La Mission Haut Brion 1996
Tasting Notes and Scores
Wine Advocate August, 2012 Fully mature, with a big, fragrant bouquet of damp earth, weedy underbrush, asphalt, Asian soy, and ripe plums and cherries, this medium-bodied 1996 appears to be on a fast evolutionary track. It reveals plenty of delicious fruit, soft tannins and enough acidity to provide definition. I was surprised by how open-knit and mature this wine has become. Anticipated maturity: now-2020. A backward, somewhat austere, muscular style of La Mission Haut-Brion, the color is still dense, opaque ruby/purple and the aromatics are shut down but promising, offering up black fruit, a hint of chocolate, and some sweet oak. The wine is a brawny, full-bodied La Mission that is going to take some time to reach its apogee. it may remain a somewhat austere wine compared to the top vintages for La Mission. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2025 (90)
The first bottle is corked. The second displays a very fine, cedar and tobacco infused nose: quintessentially ’96 claret. Does not quite have the precision of the ’05 or ’00 but more vigour than the ’95. The palate is medium- to full-bodied, becoming quite sinewy in the glass, assertive and “big-boned” but always keeping one eye on elegance and natural harmony. Just builds beautifully on the palate with a superb persistency on the leafy, slightly peppery finish. Lovely wine but could do with a couple more years in bottle. A completely different animal to the bottle I met a couple of years ago, this 1996 has just take ages to settle. Drink 2012-2040. Tasted May 2008.