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1996: Montrose, Léoville Las-Cases, Longueville Pichon Comtesse de Lalande

October 15, 2020

A dinner at Origin Grill, Singapore, on 13 October 2020 produced a lovely coincidence – an unplanned trio of 1996 Left Bank clarets. Great minds do really think alike. Used to be famously backward, mirroring its 1986 counterparts, the wines tasted that evening have all advanced in maturity and are now at their drinking best. I’d strongly suggest that you stop hogging them as trophies and start appreciating them on the palate. Be sure to allow plenty of time for aeration, for they do really take a long time to wake up in the glass. Many thanks to sommelier Britt Ng for the impeccable arrangements and wine service.

2015 Domaine Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er, courtesy of Sanjay. Lovely clarity with a crystalline quality beneath a gentle layer of crème de la crème, revealing excellent detail as it fleshed out with delicate overtones of nutmeg, clear citrus, pomelo and white floral notes with sublime acidity that is superbly integrated, morphing into the distilled essence of a classic Puligny. Excellent.

1996 Château Montrose, courtesy of Vic. Evolved purple, proffering a mild pungent earthiness within a gentle glow of green capsicum. Dryish at first, gradually fleshing out with fine presence and intensity, displaying excellent definition with sublime acidity as it tapered to a grippy finish amid further notes of toffee. Excellent.

1996 Château Léoville Las-Cases, aired in bottle for two hours prior. Darkish purple. Rather understated on the nose, almost alarmingly soft and uninvolving at first on the palate. It then snapped into place as a well-balanced, fairly seamless and rounded feminine proposition with fine presence of mature dark fruits facilitated by receded tannins, finishing with a dash of austerity. Still somewhat underwhelming compared with another bottle tasted in February 2020 which was stunningly gorgeous.

1996 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, courtesy of MH. Dark with characteristic leafy notes on the nose that is quite the signature of Pichon Lalande (likely from its bit of petit verdot in the blend). Dryish with an open relaxed feel, gelling together very well with a delectable expanse of delicious red fruits and plums, fleshing out with excellent weight and supple detail though that leafiness remained distinctly discernible. Excellent.

2013 Alois Kracher No. 6 Grande Cuvée Trockenbeerenauslese. Peaches and nectarine dominate with excellent concentration, exerting superb control whilst evoking a sense of delicacy and earthy detail amid intense characters of tropical fruits without overwhelming the palate. Excellent.

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