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Palmer 1996

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Margaux
Grape VarietyCabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

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Tasting Notes

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.

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, May 2016
Robert Parker, Bordeaux Book (4), December 2003

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

James Suckling, Wine Spectator, October 2009

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.

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2011

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.

Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, September 2009
Read more tasting notes...

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.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (122), April 1999
Robert Parker, Bordeaux Book (3), November 1998

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.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (115), February 1998
Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.