Went to a friend's house for dinner last night in Arezzo, and in addition to inviting a beautiful leggy brunette from Atlanta for the evening, he also pulled out two pretty 1996s for dinner – La Mission and Latour.
The Latour was the star, with intense aromas of raspberries, mint and flowers. It was full-bodied, with well-integrated tannins and a tight finish. It was thoroughly subtle and refined for such a structured wine. It was just beginning to show what it has. It was more elegant and refined than I remember, like many of the top wines from the '96 vintage.
The La Mission was very good but more ready to drink and showed a tobacco character that verged on herbaciousness – a character that I am not fond of. I would still score it in the high 80s.
I am really excited about tasting a large range of 1996 claret next week. I leave tomorrow morning, flying from Rome to Bordeaux. I hope to blog from there daily. So tune in.
One other thing during the week that was interesting if you love claret. Remember the evening when Alison Napjus’ friends stopped by my house? I also popped the cork on a magnum of Verdignan 1990. It was a silky and enjoyable red with subtle black licorice and currant aromas and flavors, medium body and a silky, caressing finish. It was not a complex wine but a delight to drink. I originally only gave this wine 85 points back in 1993. I liked it more than that the other night, Maybe 87 points. But I remember that the wine only cost me about 20 bucks back in the early 1990s.
Bordeaux offers value in wines from top vintages. Don’t forget. Keep your eyes out for big bottles of lesser ranked wines in such vintages as 2000, 2003 and 2005. These wines will give you pleasure for a long time for the least amount of pocketbook pain.
William Newell — Buffalo, NY — September 15, 2006 2:24pm ET
Dan Jaworek — Chicago — September 15, 2006 5:25pm ET
Steffen Pelz — Austin, TX — September 15, 2006 6:24pm ET
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — September 16, 2006 2:14am ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — September 16, 2006 4:26am ET
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