One of the best 96s that we tasted in mid 2000s. They are still developing beautifully. See below some recent notes by wine reviewers. For those who are new to Bordeaux, 96 was a great Left Bank vintage. Regarded as the best in the 90s after 1990. Treat yourself to this and you will understand why people still return to Bordeaux given the astronomical famous Burgundy wines.
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'What a treat it is to taste these two Pichon Lalandes straight from the chateau’s cellar. The 1996 Pichon Lalande is stratospheric from the very first taste. The deep, layered bouquet alone is deeply transfixing. Smoke, mocha, dark spices, lavender, crème de cassis, a host of dark-fleshed fruits and a touch of warm, resonant sweetness from the French oak draw me in. All of those sensations follow through to the palate, where the wine is massive, intense and totally enveloping. Time has softened the tannins to the point the 1996 is ready to drink, but there is enough sheer concentration here to support another 20-30 years of exceptional drinking. I am not sure I possess the vocabulary to describe just how captivating the 1996 is, but I do know this: If I had an opportunity to pick up a few well-stored bottles I would take it in a nanosecond. Readers holding the 1996 should be thrilled. The 1996 Pichon Lalande is a magnificent wine with plenty of upside. In word: fabulous.' (Vinous - AG 97+, tasted 2016)
'Full of concentrated blackberry and blackcurrant fruits, with sweet cedar and saffron spice notes as it opens, gentle liquorice root and charred oak on the finish. A higher proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the bottle than in most years (certainly at the time), and it has helped it to remain enticingly firm. 50% of production went into the first wine.' (Decanter 95 pts, tasted 2021)