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Vintage information 1996:

Critically lauded for both the red and white wines on release. Both colours were high in acidity, but the concentration of fruit seemed equal to the challenge - many lower appellation whites were never nice.
Today, many reds are showing some development to the aromatics, but most, including the majority of nice whites are still far from mature. Those that have the fruit concentration are anyway very tasty, those that haven't are disappointingly acidic and have little else about them. There are major problems with p.ox for whites. Jan.2010

1996 Ponnelle Pierre, Bonnes-MaresJun. 2011
Medium plus core of relatively young looking colour. The aromas are deep, a little raisined plus soil and a low level forest-floor note. Full, slightly fat, silky-smooth texture – roll the wine around in your mouth and you will eventually feel some tannin which delivers a lick of bitter-chocolate flavour in the finish – a hint of astringency too. The acidity starts in a very understated way, but peaks in the mid-palate, decaying in tandem with the high-toned flavour. On the first day this wine is certainly flirting with me, but behind the smile is a strict upbringing – I don’t expect a virtuoso performance before it’s twenty-one – but it has potential! Day two and this is very composed and chic; a strong mineral note reminds that it comes from the soil – despite being dressed by Chanel – super.
1996 Leroy (Maison), BourgogneMar. 2011
Medium colour. The nose starts a little disappointingly with something that reminds me of brett – this is backed-up with a metallic taste – my first bottle like this. Time in the glass and the aroma is less overt, eventually showing a baked tart red fruit. In the mouth the metallic taste is transient, leaving a smooth, nicely acidic wine with decent intensity of warm round fruit and a mouth-watering finish. My last bottle was much finer but if brett is the culprit, all or none of my remaining bottles could have it. Still as the character faded this was very drinkable indeed.
1996 Gallois Dominique, Charmes-ChambertinMar. 2011
Deep and vibrant – lovely colour. The nose has lots of maturity about it, and certainly plenty of complexity; depth, a little morel mushroom, also a little cigar-box that slowly morphs into cedar-ish hints, not unlike the of 2004 pyrazines but in no way over-powering. In the mouth there’s lots of intensity here; super acidity and very understated tannin – very long with a quite mineral flavour. Sweetness of fruit remains an undertow. You could get a great idea of of a mature Charmes by drinking this already – and that’s a very different personality to a young Charmes – but have no fear, there’s another 20 years of interest here for sure. Yum.
1996 Grivot Jean, Nuits St.Georges Les RoncièresDec. 2010
Medium-plus colour. The nose has a junior version of what I thought a hint bretty in the villages wine, but to be honest, I do like it at this low level where it seems more mineral. Well behind is a very dark red and black fruit bubbling under the horizon. After the villages, this is a big mouthful of wine – plenty of furry tannin, very good acidity and even more impressive intensity. It remains a little linear at the core, but the finish lingers well. Not surprisingly this seems less mature than the villages, but frankly today it is quite exciting and just as drinkable as the Lavières. I’m so glad that I have some ‘big’ bottles waiting too!
1996 Château Chorey-les-Beaune - Germain, Beaune Les TeuronsNov. 2010
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose is wide, and reasonably deep – lovely warm red fruit aromas that are edged with a little green seasoning – eventually the nose fills with floral top-notes too, aromatically this gets better and better, peaking after about 90 minutes. In the mouth there’s good acidity and extra density, hence, texture too after the Mugnier. Much less ‘ephemeral’ than the Mugnier but here is much more flavour and dimension, indeed there’s a core of density that implies a few more years are required to fully unwind it. Lovely wine. Very drinkable in this format today, but clearly it’s still a baby.
1996 Grivot Jean, Nuits St.Georges Les LavièresNov. 2010
Medium colour. The nose is wide and a little wild, perhaps a soupçon of brett? Maybe not, a clearer fruit note does come through, but there is plenty here that suggests a measure of aromatic maturity. If the nose hints at maturity, the palate less so; excellent acidity is the base of a taught and wiry aspect to this wine – quite narrow and primary in the mid-palate. I would say, despite the aromas, this needs at least another 3 years in the cellar for something equating to the first stage of marturity. That said – it is quite drinkable now – in this format.
1996 Castagnier Guy, Bonnes-MaresMar. 2010
Medium, medium-plus ruby-red colour. The nose is quite mineral, edged with macerating dark fruits and the faintest hint of brett – at this level it’s quite nice. There is still a velvet texture to the (now) medium tannins, and despite its age there is still more than enough fruit extract to balance the acid-led mid-palate flavour fireworks. It’s an impressive burst of power that leads you, mouth watering, into a very good finish. Perhaps there’s another 4 or 5 years left for absolute maturity, but this is very drinkable today, very drinkable…
1996 Hospices de Beaune, Corton Charlotte DumayDec. 2009
Still medium-plus colour, but it’s all a garnet-red now. The nose has a little marmite, brown sugar and just a little dried brown leaves. There wine is clearly based on it’s acidity, but a sweetness runs through its core, and boy, does that sweetness last – impressive length. The flavour is a little ‘beefier’ than I’d prefer, perhaps with a faint oxidation too, but the faintly grained tannin is 100% ripe and fading. Enjoyed, but I’m not sure about that oxidative flavour, without would have been an easy ‘rebuy’…
1996 Thomas-Moillard, Corton Clos du RoiDec. 2009
Medium-plus colour. With any volume of wine in the glass, the aromas tend towards leafy, clean notes over a tighter, darker depth. As the glass drains the aromas first add a little raisined fruit before a very, very pretty red fruit comes centre-stage – really impressive. Slightly forward acidity – the 1996 vernacular – and slightly metallic flavours – the young Corton vernacular. The tannin builds as you roll the wine around your mouth – this is very much a 12-year-old youngster. There’s plenty of mid-palate depth that hints toward earthy flavours, but it remains reasonably primary. There’s almost ‘enjoyment’ here, but wait another 2-3 years before returning!
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