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The 1996 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is really beginning to drink with style, wafting from the glass with an inviting nose of blackberries, cassis, cherries, rich soil tones, Cuban cigar and subtle hints of mint and bergamot. Medium to full-bodied, rich and fleshy, with an expansive, sumptuous core of fruit that's underpinned by ripe acids and ripe, powdery virile tannins, it concludes with a long, penetrating and sapid finish. This unusually Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated vintage was tightly wound for its first two decades, but as time passes it's the château signature that's dominating the cépagement. It's one of the wines of the vintage in 1996. 97pts WK Feb 2022
The 1996 Pichon-Lalande is just as awesome from bottle as it was from multiple cask tastings. For Pichon-Lalande, the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon is atypically high. This wine normally contains 35-50% Merlot in the blend, but the 1996 is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot. Only 50% of the estate''s production made it into the grand vin. The color is a saturated ruby/purple. The nose suggests sweet, nearly overripe Cabernet Sauvignon, with its blueberry/blackberry/cassis scents intermixed with high quality, subtle, toasty new oak. Deep and full-bodied, with fabulous concentration and a sweet, opulent texture, this wine was singing in full harmony when I tasted it in January. Given the wine''s abnormally high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, I would suspect it will close down. It possesses plenty of tannin, but the wine's overwhelming fruit richness dominates its personality. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2025.
Robert Parker (Wine Advocate #122, Apr 1999)
The 1996 Pichon-Lalande has long been one of my favorite wines from this period. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot, it has a quintessential Pauillac nose: very intense, brilliant and delineated, with pure blackberry, graphite and mint aromas bursting from the glass. The palate seems to have softened just a little over the last couple of years, and there is great depth here. Dense black fruit, laced with cedar, hints of espresso and leather, fans out toward the grippy finish, which is just beginning to entertain more secondary aromas of sage and spice on the aftertaste. In many ways the '96 presages the style of wine that Nicolas Glumineau pursues today. Brilliant. Tasted at a vertical tasting at the château.
Presents a taut, brisk feeling, with savory, cedar, singed vanilla and pencil shaving notes weaving around a core of bramble, cassis and blackberry fruit. The cedary spine holds the finish, offering an old-school feel. Should last a while, though it won't flesh out any more. For fans of the more austere style.--Non-blind Pichon Lalande vertical (July 2014). JM
Deep ruby-red. Very sexy aromas of currant, blackberry and brown sugar, all lifted by an ineffable floral quality from the thoroughly ripe cabernet sauvignon that comprises three-quarters of the blend. Dense, fresh and thick with extract; a wonderful combination of texture and guts. Has a core of steel and a powerful structure I haven't found in more recent vintages from this chateau. A very serious style of Pichon-Lalande, with much less merlot than usual. Finishes with terrific length and grip. Drink between 2005 and 2025.
What a treat it is to taste these two Pichon Lalandes straight from the chateau’s cellar. The 1996 Pichon Lalande is stratospheric from the very first taste. The deep, layered bouquet alone is deeply transfixing. Smoke, mocha, dark spices, lavender, crème de cassis, a host of dark-fleshed fruits and a touch of warm, resonant sweetness from the French oak draw me in. All of those sensations follow through to the palate, where the wine is massive, intense and totally enveloping. Time has softened the tannins to the point the 1996 is ready to drink, but there is enough sheer concentration here to support another 20-30 years of exceptional drinking. I am not sure I possess the vocabulary to describe just how captivating the 1996 is, but I do know this: If I had an opportunity to pick up a few well-stored bottles I would take it in a nanosecond. Readers holding the 1996 should be thrilled. The 1996 Pichon Lalande is a magnificent wine with plenty of upside. In word: fabulous.
– vinous.com, Feb 2016
Quality 964 | Brand 992 | Economics 905 |
Quality: Above the average quality score of its peer group for the 1996 vintage, 810 Brand: Strong restaurant presence, featuring on 36 of the world's top wine lists, including Amber - Mandarin Oriental Economics: Above its peer group average price of £120 for the 1996 vintage Production: Lower production than its peer group average of 151,058 bottles
- www.wine-lister.com June 2017
At probably full-maturity, this is a gorgeous Pauillac. rich, supple, and concentrated, you find a wealth of dark currants, tobacco leaf, cigar box, spice, blackberry, peppery herbs, and leather on the nose. The palate is even better with its silky textures, length, and soft, luscious, earthy, tobacco-tinted fruits that linger. Popped and poured, it showed great from the get-go.
I have been lucky enough to have this vintage of Comtesse three times in the past year, and two of the three bottles (including this one) have been brilliant. Considered one of the wines of the vintage at the time, this is packed full of signature Pauillac but also signature Comtesse. Silky seductive tannins at this point, powerful but with delicacy, soft saffron and cedar notes, with a smoked campfire finish. A higher proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the bottle than in most years, and it has helped it to remain enticingly firm. 50% of production went into the first wine. Tasted by Jane Anson July 2021. Inside Bordeaux
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