Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ending the year with an aged Bordeaux

Over the past year, I have been slowly working through a case of 1996 Château Lanessan. This Cru Bourgeois class Bordeaux from Haut-Médoc is produced by the Bouteiller family. The 1996 vintage is generally considered very successful for left bank wines, especially those from Médoc and Graves. All wines based in Cabernet Sauvignon are supposed to have excellent aging potential.

The grape varietals going into Château Lanessan is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Francs and 5% Petit Verdot. At age 11, this wine has shed most of its baby fat and the secondary aromas has come together nicely. In 2006, Janice Robinson commented here that the prime drinking window of 1996 Lanessan is around 2008 to 2018. I will definetely spread out the consumption of the rest of my holdings to see if it matches Ms. Robinson's prediction.

This is the 7th bottle I have consumed from the case, and it is the best tasting bottle so far. We drank it over a 3 day period without any decanting and the best showing is the second day, though I should point out that it still held up well on the 3rd day.
ABV: 12.5%, Price: $20

Tasting notes:

Nose: Very perfumed notes of leather, tobacco, plum and lead pencil.

Color: Dark garnet core and slighty dusty rim.

Palate: Very balanced mouth feel. Not a fruit bomb but still has lively flavor of red fruits. Nice secondary aromas of olive, earth, leather and oak round out the back of the palate. Tannins already quite soft but the acidity is still sufficient to keep things interesting.

Body: Medium, classic claret style.

Finish: The worst part of this wine is the finish. It is quite clipped (medium at best) even though there are notes of earth, leather and some fruit. At times, there is also streaks of bitterness observed.

The 96 Lanessan may be in the middle of its prime drinking window at the time of writing. Uneducated guess is that it will provide good drinking for the next 5 years with proper cellaring.


Taster B said...

Sounds interesting--we haven't gotten our nerve up to jump into French wine much--we'll have to seek this one out. Thanks!

RougeAndBlanc said...

Hey Tester b,
Thanks for dropping by. If you have a chance to try Lanessan of the 1996, 2000 or 2005 vintage, you won't be disappointed. However, one work of caution: Lanessan is not a pop and pour type of wine (like most Bordeaux), decanting or cellar time is a must.

Dave Schliecker said...

Thanks for leaving the recommendation on the '05 Lanessan on my blog. I'm planning on picking up a bottle this week to try out.