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Cellar Collection: Château Talbot, 1996

Bottles produced: 335,000
Grapes: 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot
Yield: 52 hL/ha
Alcohol: 12.8%
Format: Magnum
Drink from/to: 2010-2025

Price UK: £200 (magnum)
Price US: $250 (magnum)

The vintage: Budbreak came on 25th March after a cold start to the year, followed by a mixed May then a heatwave in June that saw good flowering. July was cool and wet for the first half, hot and dry in the second half, then August alternated between rain and a heatwave. There was fine weather again in September and most of October. All in all, it was a very good vintage for the Médoc.

The wine: Manual harvest was followed by sorting in the vineyard then vinification in oak vats. The wine matured in small oak barriques (50% new) for 18 months before blending and bottling.

Decanter review/reaction: At this stage the colour is firmly in the rich claret zone – ruby red, not overly intense but full of life. The wine is very enjoyable and has that lovely St-Julien signature of rich black fruits floating over a bed of air, as the acidity in the Cabernet takes flight. This gives it a sense of poise and confidence, and again the signature mouth-watering finish. It’s not going for intensity and punch, but for complexity and elegance without sacrificing fruit – there are dark, spicy notes in here. 93 points – Jane Anson, December 2018

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