By Chateau Palmer
1996 Palmer from Château Palmer, Margaux, Bordeaux
In scrutinising the variegated tapestry of Bordeaux vintages, the 1996 Palmer from Château Palmer stands as a triumph of viticultural prowess and a testament to the resilience and charm of the Margaux appellation. This particular year marinated in a climatic paradox, where early rain gave way to a parching summer, testing the mettle of winemakers across the region.
Harmony out of Adversity: A Profound Investment Vintage
The impact of such weather anomalies often presages noteworthy vintages - and for those who seek to blend pleasure with prudence, an exemplary wine investment opportunity arises. The 1996 vintage exhibited qualities distinct from its brethren - a stern backbone of vivacious acidity encased in supple tannins; it is a tale of struggle and eventual triumph on the palate.
The Nuances that Invoke Rarity
The 1996 Palmer from Château Palmer radiates with aromatic complexity that weaves dark berries and violets with an undercurrent of subtle oak expression, flirting with perfection. As one delves deeper into this tipple's ruby essence, hints of tobacco and cassis unfurl their splendour - evoking visions of the illustrious château and its storied terroir.
On tasting, the wine dances with elegance - rounded, yet maintaining an assertive structure indicative of noteworthy longevity. Even now, this Margaux marvel shows immense potential for further maturation, making it an astute acquisition for any wine investor or enthusiast poised for long-term gratification.In conclusion, embracing the 1996 Palmer from Château Palmer within one's portfolio represents not just a sound economic decision but also an indulgence in vinous history. This vintage is emblematic of what makes Bordeaux's left bank an empyrean for fine wine devotees – reflecting both its ancestral lineage and a cameo of climatic drama that further elevates the narrative engraved in each bottle.
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Scores and tasting notes
Compared to the ’95 Palmer, this is more reticent on the nose with more secondary aromas: fresh tobacco, sandalwood, leather and a slight clayey scent that turns overtly chocolaty with 20-30 minutes in glass. Good definition though and the palate does not disappoint. Medium-bodied, perhaps slightly aggressive tannins, particularly compared to the ’95, a little angular towards the finish with cedar, strawberry and stoned fruits (dates and a touch of fresh fig) right on the end. Again, it needs more time and the ’95 seems to have more breeding, but this remains a worthy Palmer that just needs to loosen up and enjoy itself a bit. Drink 2010-2025. Tasted March 2008.
Neal Martin - Wine Journal Jan 2009
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 Jr - Wine Advocate #122 April 1999
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. Tasted May 2015.
Neal Martin - The Wine Advocate, 29 May 2016