Perfectly transparent garnet and heavy sediment with an understandable amount of brick. I mean: COMPLETELY CLEAR. Way lighter than PINOTS I drink regularly. Effusive floral dank fruit off the nose, Beautiful sweet peach and nectarine spice, of course the cherry is reduced to near-maraschino levels, but it is deep and wet-woody and alive; no prune and only a certain level of brandy-soaked raisin. Nutty complication weaving crazy dusty satin flower and cloth with blackberry still vibrant and going nowhere.
This wine is a weird middle ground of still-ridiculous fruit and everything headed South in a way that is nearly incomprehensible to wrap oneself around. We’re used to tired wines showing overt areas of this and that, but this is a different bird. I’m not saying it is not ready to drink or even fading–it’s different than that.
In the mouth, bright raspberry and pomegranate vie for excellence over the dirty wager of earth and solemnity. Clean and focused, it has no odd wavering down idiotic side-trails, only a solid straight freeway through faded fruit and breathy dessert. Tannins quite still an issue and the finish has a bitter note I am loving. Anything to reflect life and vibrancy in a wine like this.
This wine has not had perfect provenance and assuredly winery-cellar versions will show beautifully for another two decades. 96 was such an interesting year. We were told it was a bad year and to avoid or drink early and they were cheap and I bought a ton and then about 5 years in, they started going… oh hey, maybe we were wrong, 96 is going to flush out nicely. I wish I had bought more. This is beautiful wine and Merry Christmas.
1996 BEAULIEU VINEYARD Cabernet Sauvignon GdLPR Rutherford Napa Valley 13.5