I’ve written before that 1996 is a perfect year to be buying Bordeaux from. It’s one of the best vintages of the 20th century, given 96/100 in the Wine Advocate which puts it (along with 1982, 1990, 2009 and 2010) in their top five ever. Many of the wines are also drinking absolutely perfectly right now, but are not even close to going over the hill.
The problem of course is availability. You can’t just expect to casually stroll into a store or go online and pick up a few nice value 1996s. Certainly not ones like this, perfect provenance ex Bordeaux bottles of perhaps the greatest vintage ever made by one of the Médoc’s best value estates. Well rated, and with still another decade ahead of it, if one can resist drinking it all straight away.
However, not for the first time, but perhaps for the last, I’ve dug up a special. Potensac is one of my absolute favourites, and their 1996 is an absolute stunner. As Neal Martin says below, it is one of the “over-achievers” of the vintage. Quite a statement given the quality of the year and of Potensac in general. I’ve used Martin’s most recent note from 2016 below, but here’s a couple of quotes from various Robert Parker notes on this, which explains partly Martin’s line that “this vintage has quite a reputation”…
“The 1996 Potensac is the finest wine I have ever tasted from this estate”
“This will be a wine to buy by the case for readers looking to maximize their purchasing power”
“This is the most amazing wine this estate has ever produced. There is terrific fruit intensity and purity, as well as moderate tannin in the medium-bodied, impressively rich finish.”
Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
1996 Château Potensac, Haut-Médoc
The 1996 Potensac is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 19% Cabernet Franc. This vintage has quite a reputation, indeed, at 20 years of age it stands up as one of the over-achievers of the vintage. It has a lively, very pure blackcurrant and bilberry-scented bouquet with crushed stone aromas, very youthful and backward. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, dense tarry black fruit tinged with cedar, a dash of spice towards the structured finish with a lingering saline aftertaste. It will easily give another 10-15 years of drinking pleasure. 90 pts., Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate