Tasted at the Château Palmer vertical in London, the 1996 Château Palmer is a wine that never quite fulfilled its potential. There is satisfactory fruit intensity on the nose, blackberry and truffle, a touch of vanilla and violet developing with time in the glass. The palate still feels a little backward, but there is good grip and freshness. This is a harmonious 1996 Margaux and yet it feels conservative and straight-laced on the tobacco-infused finish. It is quite a "serious" Palmer, yet it does not quite back it up in terms of complexity or, for want of a better word, "soul." Good...but you end up wanting more, especially having tasted the likes of 2000, 2005 and 2010 alongside. Drink 2016-2030.
Gorgeous aromas of currant and flowers follow through to a full-bodied palate, with silky tannins and a medium finish. A little more bottle age will open it even more. Very pretty.--'95/'96 Bordeaux retrospective. Best after 2008. -JS
40% Merlot, 55% Cabernet Franc, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. Pretty dense crimson. Not especially intense on the nose. Sweet start and then a little biscuity. Reminds me a little of the 1966. Chewy end and some freshness but not quite enough. Some gaminess. Medium weight and a certain amount of acidity and dryness. Not heart stopping. But neat and reasonably long. Good for sore throats. But it does fade away a bit on the finish.
55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc (last Cabernet Franc at Palmer), 40% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot. Cooler but sunny summer. Great Cabernet in this vintage in Bordeaux generally. A more classic Palmer. Deep youthful garnet. Open, sweet dark and spiced fruit. Smell the sun. Spice and truffles coming through as it opens up. You can still smell the sweet toasty oak though this was not the first vintage of new vats. Rich sweet pure fruit. Firm but rounded tannins and long aromatic finish. Fine cedary aftertaste. Very pure and direct and frank, some herbaceousness adding aroma but not greenness. Drink 2007-2022. Date tasted 14th Sep 09.
This wine, a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot, is performing well after its July, 1998 bottling. It boasts an impressively saturated purple color, in addition to a backward yet intense nose of black plums, currants, licorice, and smoke. Following terrific fruit on the attack, the wine's structure and tannin take over. There is plenty of sweet fruit, and the tannin is well-integrated, but the wine requires 7-8 years of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2028.
A blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot, the 1996 Palmer is a powerfull, dense, backward wine that recalls the 1986. The wine is more difficult to judge because of the high Merlot component, and the fact that this wine has not yet totally fleshed out. It is an impressively buillt, medium to full-bodied, muscular, rich claret. If it develops more complexity and puts on a bit of weight, it will be an outstanding Palmer, with less early charm than top vintages, but built for the long haul. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2025.