Tasting Notes Latour 1996
A spectacular Latour, the 1996 may be the modern day clone of the 1966, only riper. This vintage, which is so variable in Pomerol, St.-Emilion, and Graves, was fabulous for the late-harvested Cabernet Sauvignon of the northern Medoc because of splendid weather in late September and early October. An opaque purple color is followed by phenomenally sweet, pure aromas of cassis infused with subtle minerals. This massive offering possesses unreal levels of extract, full body, intensely ripe, but abundant tannin, and a finish that lasts for nearly a minute. Classic and dense, it displays the potential for 50-75 years of longevity. Although still an infant, it would be educational to taste a bottle. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2050.
Tasted at the Grand Cru Classe opening dinner at Haut-Brion. Sitting next to me, Frederic Engerer rather scorned the ’96, commenting that it would have been a better wine if made nowadays. I think he is being a bit mean. The nose is initially very conservative with sultry aromas of blackberry, tar, cedar and graphite, similar in profile to the 2003 but leaner and less intense. The palate is medium-bodied with great definition and freshness, perhaps a little “dusty” compared to recent vintages with a drier vintage than might be accepted nowadays. Still, it has a delightful touch of smoke and black truffle on the austere finish. Very fine indeed. Tasted June 2011.