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Pichon Baron 1996

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

View all vintages of this wine | View all wines by Château Pichon-Longueville Baron


Tasting Notes

The 1996 Pichon-Baron now has a superior bouquet to the 1995. There is much better definition here, and the scents of blackberry, graphite, smoke and a touch of gravel are all very harmonious and focused - quintessential Pauillac. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin and very fresh in the mouth. Hints of blood orange suffuse vivid black fruit tinged with a core of mineralité toward the finish. This is a seriously fine Pichon-Baron that seems to be pulling away from the 1995. Easily the peak of the nineties. Superb. Tasted at the Pichon-Baron vertical at the château.

Neal Martin, vinous.com, May 2018

The 1996 Pichon-Longueville Baron is beginning to drink beautifully. Unwinding in the decanter and glass with aromas of cassis, pencil shavings, black truffles, burning embers and loamy soil, it's medium to full-bodied, deep and seamless, with an attractive core of fruit that's framed by powdery tannins and succulent acids, concluding with a long, blood orange-inflected finish. While it can't match what this château achieved in 1989 and 1990, it's showing very well today. Drink 2016-2040.

William Kelley, RobertParker.com, February 2022

Clearly more depth in colour than the preceding three years, and this is classic Pauillac, as with the 1995, but a little more structured. Cedar and cassis notes, still sombre and stubborn tannins, opens to show woodsmoke, cold ash, and touches of eucalyptus. 59IPT, 80% new oak.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, May 2022

Complete, very sophisticated. Dry finish with lots of tannins well smothered by evolved fruit. Not heavy, very delicate. This is a vibrato wine that dances on the palate. Much more lift than most. Drink 2005-18

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, September 2006

Pichon Longueville Baron's 1996 has turned out to be even better than I thought from cask. The high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend (about 80%) resulted in a wine that has put on weight in the bottle. An opaque purple color is accompanied by beautiful aromas of tobacco, new saddle leather, roasted coffee, and cassis. It is dense, medium to full-bodied, and backward, with moderately high tannin, but plenty of sweet fruit, glycerin, and extract to balance out the wine's structure

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (122), April 1999

Showing none of the austerity which characterise some 1996s, this is a truly classy Pichon Baron. There's plenty of generous black fruit already displaying complex layers of classic Pauillac character, supported by long tannins and a clean delineating acidity, leading to a well-rounded and spicy finish. Delicious, absolutely charming and undoubtedly great value!

Farr Vintners, December 2007
Read more tasting notes...

The 1996 Pichon-Longueville Baron has a deep garnet core with some bricking on the rim. The nose is fragrant and generous with more red fruit than black, cedar and tobacco, fine definition, perhaps a little rustic in keeping with the winemaking at the time, but certainly giving lots of pleasure. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin -- a cohesive Pauillac with plenty of depth and fine balance. The acidity lends this plenty of freshness and it does not shortchange you with plenty of tarry, cedary fruit. You come away with the impression that this Pichon Baron is going to continue to improve although I would not burn anyone at the stake for opening it now. If you cannot afford the First Growth then this (and Pichon Lalande) would be where I would come. Drink 2016-2035.

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, October 2016

Tasted at Roberson's Pichon Lalande/Pichon Baron vertical. It is a number of years since I have tasted this outstanding expression of a great Left Bank vintage. It has a sublime nose, slightly melted in character with pencil lead, blackberry, pencil box and some tertiary notes, moving more towards secondary aromas quicker than the Pichon Lalande '96 tasted alongside. The palate is medium-bodied with a touch more piquancy than the Pichon Lalande, perhaps not quite the harmony or complexity, but fresh and lively with notes of tar, cedar and brambly black fruits. I like the citric acidity threaded through this wine, lending so much vivacity and freshness. Very good ageing potential. Not in the same class as Pichon Lalande, but a thoroughly enjoyable Pauillac. Tasted September 2010.

Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, March 2012

I felt that this was over-extracted in its youth and was consequently parsimonious with my score. However, it shone at Farr's 1996 blind horizontal. A fresh, lifted, cedary nose with excellent definition. Reserved, understated but classy. The full-bodied palate is quite toasty but fresh with good delineation. Blackberry, tar, cedar and just a faint touch of white pepper. Harmonious and focused. Very persistent finish. Excellent. Tasted September 2006.

Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, September 2006

Jean-Rene Matignon had been the winemaker for 10 years at this point and has made a brilliant wine that took its time to come around but is tasting delicious right now, exceptionally enjoyable and enticing. Supple tannins, plenty of grilled cedar and tobacco leaf, plump-textured cassis and blackberry brambled fruits, still fairly backward and young, just very much a classic Pauillac that has poise and lift. A dark horse, not seen as impressive as Comtesse in its youth, but now flexing its muscles. Drink 2023-2036.

Jane Anson, Decanter.com, January 2021
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.