Tasting Notes Lafleur 1996
Tasted from an ex-chateau bottle at the Lafleur vertical dinner at Attersee in Austria, this is my first encounter with the 1996 and I was hoping that it was better than the disappointing Petrus 1996. It is better that its neighbour, although the challenging growing season seems to inhibit its ambitions. The nose is driven by the expressive Merlot component of the blend with lifted red fruit of raspberry, cranberry, black truffles and later accompanied by a hint of mocha. The aromatics seem to gain intensity in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannins and impressive fruit concentration. Powerful and burly, it does not possess the finesse or delineation of the 1995, but the sinewy finish is attractive. This is a Lafeur whose ambitions were stunted by the growing season. Tasted June 2012.
As I suspected, the 1996 Lafleur is a painfully backward, austere wine that represents a modern day clone of this estate's 1966. It possesses a backward, tannic, Medoc-like character, with none of Pomerol's hallmark generosity. The wine exhibits a saturated dark purple color, as well as a distinctive mineral, black raspberry, and berry-scented nose with the steely, mineral Lafleur character well-displayed. Powerful, long, and rich, but excruciatingly tannic, this wine may or may not resolve all of its tannin. In short, it is an impressively constituted wine that is no sure thing. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2025.