Tasting Notes and Scores
I tasted this wine three times in January, rating it 88, 89, and 90 with similar tasting notes. The wine is close to being outstanding, exhibiting a saturated dark ruby color, and excellent aromatics, consisting of black fruits intermixed with licorice, dried herbs, and roasted meat smells. It is full, with impressive extract, a fleshy texture, low acidity, excellent purity, and a long, deep, chewy finish. This 1996 will be drinkable at a young age, yet keep for 15-20 years. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2017.
-Wine Advocate #122 Apr 1999
The 1996 Talbot is an excellent effort from this large St.-Julien estate. Black/ruby/purple-colored, with a pronounced nose of Provencal olives, black currants, licorice, and Asian spices, this is a powerful, dense, richly fruity wine with fine intensity, moderate tannin, and medium body. This attractive St.-Julien will be one of a handful of 1996s that can be drunk a few years after bottling. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2015.
-Wine Advocate #115 Feb 1998
An excellent effort from this large St.-Julien estate, Talbot's 1996 reveals a deep, saturated dark ruby/purple color, followed by a sweet, expressive nose of smoke, herbs, and jammy black fruits (overripe cherries and blackcurrants galore). Dominated by its Cabernet Sauvignon component, this medium-bodied, moderately tannic wine should develop more quickly than many of the backstrapping Medocs of this vintage. It possesses decent acidity, intensely sweet fruit, and fine purity and delineation. I do not see it evolving into an outstanding (90 points) wine, but it is not far off the mark. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2017.
-Wine Advocate #110 Apr 1997
The 1996 Talbot comes from an era when I think this Saint-Julien lost its way a little. It was picked from 16 September until 12 October with intermittent breaks to avoid showers. It has a relatively light bouquet with tertiary black fruit, cedar and incense, gaining a little vigour with aeration although it never fully lets go. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit on the entry, balanced but light in style with a touch of soy and black pepper towards the finish. It is certainly classic in style but it just needs more backbone and stuffing. Tasted at the centenary Château Talbot vertical at the property.
Lots of blackberry, licorice and light tar aromas. Full-bodied, with chewy tannins and a long finish. This needs time.--'95/'96 Bordeaux retrospective. James Suckling