I had this wine on four occasions, and it was never easy to evaluate. The color is a dark purple, but not nearly as saturated as many Pauillacs, or, for that matter, St.-Juliens or St.-Estephes. Moreover, the wine is excruciatingly tannic, as well as tightly-knit and closed. It will undoubtedly be an excellent Lynch-Bages - fruity, solid, and medium-bodied - but restrained. Is this wine moving toward a more elegant style that longtime fans of this chateau are not likely to admire? While there is plenty of sweetness, the wine is not revealing as much density, muscle, or fullness as other top vintages. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2014. Readers should remember that 1995 seemed similarly tight and lacking the rich, dense mid-palate when I tasted it at the same stage, but it has filled out beautifully over the subsequent year. Let's hope the 1996 does the same thing.
The 1996 Lynch Bages has turned out to be considerably better than my early spring barrel tasting report suggested. Tasted on three separate occasions in November, it had fleshed out significantly, exhibiting more depth than in my initial tasting reports. The wine is low in acidity, but it possesses an opaque black/purple color, as well as extraordinary sweet, full-bodied, cassis fruit aromas intermixed with cedar, fruitcake, and licorice scents that soared from the glass at each tasting. With superlative structure, a boatload of ripe tannin, massive body, and dazzling intensity and power, this may be the greatest Lynch Bages produced since the 1989 and 1990. Anticipated maturity: 2001-2025.
Lynch Bages has turned out an outstanding 1996. It offers an opaque purple color, and outstanding aromatics consisting of dried herbs, tobacco, cassis, and smoky oak. Full-bodied and classic in its proportions, this dense, chewy, pure Lynch Bages will have considerable longevity. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2025.
The 1996 exhibits a dark plum/ruby/purple color that is just beginning to lighten at the edge, surprisingly velvety tannins and a classic Pauillac bouquet of lead pencil shavings, cedarwood, black currants, sweet cherries and spice box. This medium to full-bodied, elegant, savory, broad wine is still five years away from full maturity. It should continue to drink well for another 10-15 years. Drink: 2011-2025.
In the flight of young wines, with all the vintages of the nineties represented, this wine stood out for its absolute purity of creme de cassis, ripe fruit, medium to full body, high tannin, wonderful sweetness, massive richness on the mid-palate, and abundant power, density, and ripeness. It is clearly the finest Lynch Bages since the 1989 and 1990. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2025.
Good colour. Slightly hot, rubbery nose. Alittle extracted. On the nose, ripe, evensweet, but a lack of grip and a lack of realclass. Fullish body. Slightly astringent at theend. Good at best. Drink 2005-2015
If any château in all of the classified growths consistently outperforms its original status, it is Lynch Bages. Indeed, this château has long been prized by Pauillac lovers who seek good value, yet well made wine. The property is situated just outside the quiet village of Pauillac north of Latour and Pichon Lalande. It is owned and run by Jean-Michel Cazes, a highly admired and charismaticBordelais whose vision and joie de vivre have influenced many wine lovers the world over.
Due south of St Estèphe lies the appellation of Pauillac, the king of Left Bank communes. It is home to three first growths as well as a plethora of other classified growths. Pauillac's renowned well-draining, gravelly soils enable its dominant grape Cabernet Sauvignon to reach fantastic heights of complexity and concentration. As a result, Pauilac's wines tend to be full-bodied with compact tannins and good freshness. Its aromatics are often what one associates with classic Bordeaux: pencil shavings, black currant and occasional mint. Some of the most famous châteaux of the commune are Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild, Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande and Lynch Bages.