1996 Grands Echezeaux
By Domaine Rene Engel
1996 Grands Echezeaux from Domaine Rene Engel, Burgundy, France
Tucked away in the revered cellars of collectors and enthusiasts worldwide, the 1996 Grands Echezeaux from Domaine Rene Engel has been whispering tales of a magnificent harvest and poignant winemaking finesse. This vintage stands as a testament to a year marked by climatic serendipity and meticulous cultivation in the fabled terroirs of Burgundy.
A Vintage Defined by Precision and Patience
Understanding the 1996 vintage requires appreciation for its initial reticence, budding into a glorious display of maturity over time. The wine's early life showed a structured backbone of tannins with an acidity that promised longevity—a prophecy that has been handsomely fulfilled as the years progressed.
In the glass, this deep ruby elixir exudes a complex bouquet of ripe cherries, ethereal violets, and a whisper of earthy truffles—an aromatic symphony befitting the opulent Echezeaux Grand Cru. The characteristic minerality, indicative of the Domaine Rene Engel's mastery over this robust plot, eloquently punctuates each sip.
The Enlightened Choice for Discerning Collectors
The astute wine investor recognises that the 1996 Grands Echezeaux from Domaine Rene Engel is more than a bottle—it is an archive of history, encapsulating an extraordinary year in Burgundy. It remains one of the most covetable treasures for those looking to diversify their investment portfolios with finesse and substance.
This particular vintage is imbued with the echoes of time's passage, rewarding patience as it unfolds. One now encounters a lush palate graced with notes of blackberry compote, seasoned by hints of clove and sweet tobacco, seamlessly interwoven with velvety tannins that carry forth a finish as enduring as its storied provenance.
Concluding Reflections on This Investment Grade Vintage
As I reflect on the myriad vintages I have had the privilege to encounter, the 1996 Grands Echezeaux from Domaine Rene Engel commands attention for its historical significance and blossoming complexity. A paragon amidst peers, it offers the connoisseur an opportunity to possess not just a splendid Burgundian creation but a slice of vinous history poised to further entwine its legacy with graceful aging.
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Scores and tasting notes
The 1996 Grands Echézeaux Grand Cru, from the late Philippe Engel, has a very enticing, but it would appear, fully mature bouquet with wild mushroom and woodland/damp earth aromas infusing the loose-knit black fruit. There is perhaps just a touch of volatile acidity here, at least on this bottle. The palate is medium-bodied and it felt a little disjointed at first. However, we were afforded time and it coalesced nicely, though I remarked upon a slight "fish oil" note towards the finish that lent it an Oriental personality. The tannins feel softened after almost 20 years and there is just a touch of dryness. It's a fine Grands Echézeaux, though I have tasted better vintages before, including the 1991 tasted alongside. Drink now and over the next five years.
Neal Martin - The Wine Advocate, 30 December 2015