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Professional Ratings: 99 The Wine Advocate, 96 International Wine Cellar, 95 Wine Spectator
Region: Margaux, Bordeaux, France
Varietal: Bordeaux Red Blends
Other Info: Collectible Wines, Great Wine Gift
Item no. 91336
The 1996 Chateau Margaux, which was bottled in September, 1998, is undoubtedly one of the great classics produced under the Mentzelopoulos regime. In many respects, it is the quintessential Chateau Margaux, as well as the paradigm for this estate, combining measured power, extraordinary elegance, and admirable complexity. I tasted the wine on three separate occasions in January, and in short, it's a beauty! The color is opaque purple. The wine offers extraordinarily pure notes of blackberries, cassis, pain grille, and flowers, gorgeous sweetness, a seamless personality, and full body, with nothing out of place. The final blend (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc) contains a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. It tastes complete and long, although backward. My instincts suggest this wine will shut down, but at present it is open-knit, tasting like a recently bottled wine. The fruit is exceptionally sweet and pure, and there are layers of flavor in the mouth. I do believe this wine will develop an extraordinary perfume, and possess a high level of richness. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2040.
Bright full ruby. Pure, perfumed aromas of cassis and violet. Dense and tactile in the mouth; a huge, chewy wine with major extract but also considerable refinement. Almost painfully backward today, and a bit less perfumed than it was in the year or so after the bottling, but the huge tannins show no hardness. Another great expression of cabernet sauvignon from the '96 vintage. Drink 2015 through 2040. 96+
Fully formed now, with a rush of steeped currant and black tea notes that are melded with a backdrop of anise, sandalwood, bergamot and charcoal. The long, suave finish lets the perfume linger, with a weighty feel. This seems to mark the start of the refinement of tannins; despite the power, this is all grace and elegance.