Saint-Émilion & Pomerol, 1996

1996 was a great Bordeaux vintage for the left bank (the northern Médoc in particular), with many sensational wines showing why it is the finest winemaking district on earth: powerful, full-bodied Cabernets that require considerable ageing to reach their full potential. Although similar in quality to 1995, the 1996 vintage produced more sensational wines at the top end of the hierarchical system.

On the other side of the Gironde, Saint-Émilion and Pomerol also produced some very good wines, yet were much more irregular. This was mainly due to heavy rains around harvest time, with a cool, damp August and showers in September. Meanwhile, the Médoc experienced a rather windy September, which helped dry out any moisture on the vines and consequently concentrated sugar content.

Opening prices for the 1996 vintage broke all records and were up by 50%+ on 1995, setting the trend for the current market. There were also some very good dry whites from the elite growers of the Graves, while Château d’Yquem really shone in Sauternes. 

The wines

1996 was a semi-great year for the right bank, as Merlot experienced a degree of rot and dilution due to heavy showers and was picked in damp, muddy conditions at the end of September. This caused irregularity, with some very good wines as well as some not so good due to dilution, high acidity and tannin. Saint-Émilion wines were generally less fruity than 1995, with slightly more austere tannins, while the best Pomerols are quite rich and tannic.

Saint-Émilion & Pomerol, 1996

1996 was a great Bordeaux vintage for the left bank (the northern Médoc in particular), with many sensational wines showing why it is the finest winemaking district on earth: powerful, full-bodied Cabernets that require considerable ageing to reach their full potential. Although similar in quality to 1995, the 1996 vintage produced more sensational wines at the top end of the hierarchical system.

On the other side of the Gironde, Saint-Émilion and Pomerol also produced some very good wines, yet were much more irregular. This was mainly due to heavy rains around harvest time, with a cool, damp August and showers in September. Meanwhile, the Médoc experienced a rather windy September, which helped dry out any moisture on the vines and consequently concentrated sugar content.

Opening prices for the 1996 vintage broke all records and were up by 50%+ on 1995, setting the trend for the current market. There were also some very good dry whites from the elite growers of the Graves, while Château d’Yquem really shone in Sauternes. 

The wines

1996 was a semi-great year for the right bank, as Merlot experienced a degree of rot and dilution due to heavy showers and was picked in damp, muddy conditions at the end of September. This caused irregularity, with some very good wines as well as some not so good due to dilution, high acidity and tannin. Saint-Émilion wines were generally less fruity than 1995, with slightly more austere tannins, while the best Pomerols are quite rich and tannic.

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