Chateau Pichon Lalande   Pichon Lalande

1996 Pichon Lalande

By Chateau Pichon Lalande

1996 Pichon Lalande, Bordeaux, Pauillac, France

One can scarce evoke the hallowed terroir of Bordeaux's Pauillac without the whispered reverence for the venerable 1996 Pichon Lalande from Chateau Pichon Lalande. This vintage, a beacon in Bordeaux's illustrious history of wine-producing prowess, encapsulates an extraordinary year where weather gods smiled benevolently, bequeathing us with conditions that brought forth grapes of unparalleled quality.


An Exemplar of Pauillac’s Prestige

The 1996 Pichon Lalande distinguishes itself with an astute balance—a resplendent act juxtaposing power and elegance. This is due to a season marked by idyllic climatic oscillations; the summer of '96 was predominantly dry and warm, punctuated with essential rainfall, leading up to an impeccable September harvest. Replete with the quintessence of Cabernet Sauvignon, this vintage bears witness to the greatness of its varietal incarnation amidst the gravely soils that fervently whisper tales of grandeur.


Vintage Depth and Investment Potential

The palate is bestowed with an opulent tapestry of dark berries, cassis and hints of tobacco—a narrative spun from soil to bottle with remarkable finesse. Ample tannins lend a robust frame still unyielding in youthful resilience. Savvy wine investment connoisseurs recognize in this rare libation not only an experience but also an appreciating asset. Indeed, the solidity of structure and complexity of the 1996 Pichon Lalande promises further enhancement as it weaves through additional years of maturation.

In sum, this vintage is a minstrel's ode to the meticulous cultivation and vinification that Chateau Pichon Lalande is renowned for—a harmonious blend that remains emblematic of the estate's prestige. An essential cornerstone for any investor’s cellar, its place in the pantheon of fine wines is both undisputed and unrivalled.

To imbibe in the 1996 Pichon Lalande now, or to await its apogee with bated breath – that is the delightful conundrum it presents to each who possess it. A testimony to an extraordinary year yielded by Pauillac's heartland; this commanding yet graceful ensemble speaks vividly to those seeking investment-grade wines with assured maturity potential.

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Scores and tasting notes


Tasted at the Chapon Fin restaurant in Bordeaux. This remains my benchmark Pichon Lalande in recent years. It is that essence of untrammelled Cabernet Sauvignon that governs the bouquet: blackberry, cigar box, cedar and a touch of mint – pure Pauillac heaven. The palate is a little foursquare on the entry, but there is also an unerring symmetry that is utterly captivating. What is more, one feels that it has barely started to flex its “muscles”. Tasted September 2011.

Neal Martin - Wine Journal Mar 2012


The 1996 Pichon-Lalande has long been one of the high points of this Pauillac estate and now at 20 years of age it is firing on all cylinders. You cannot have any complaints against the nose: intense blackberry, cedar and graphite, all beautifully delineated, demand your attention. The palate offers exquisite balance, refined and yet intense, the Cabernet Sauvignon clearly in the driving seat but assisted by the Merlot that imparts the crucial fleshy texture on the finish. Red berry fruit, cigar box, mint, juniper berries ... this is a complex and riveting Pauillac wine that is going to cruise along its drinking plateau for many years. This is outstanding. Tasted July 2016.

Neal Martin - The Wine Advocate, 28 October 2016


The 1996 Pichon-Lalande is just as awesome from bottle as it was from multiple cask tastings. For Pichon-Lalande, the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon is atypically high. This wine normally contains 35-50% Merlot in the blend, but the 1996 is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot. Only 50% of the estate's production made it into the grand vin. The color is a saturated ruby/purple. The nose suggests sweet, nearly overripe Cabernet Sauvignon, with its blueberry/blackberry/cassis scents intermixed with high quality, subtle, toasty new oak. Deep and full-bodied, with fabulous concentration and a sweet, opulent texture, this wine was singing in full harmony when I tasted it in January. Given the wine's abnormally high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, I would suspect it will close down. It possesses plenty of tannin, but the wine's overwhelming fruit richness dominates its personality. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2025.

Robert Parker Jr - Wine Advocate #122 April 1999

Vintage performance