DRC La Tache 1996 750mL (Slightly Soiled Label)
Fantastically pure with the classic spice box, hoisin and soy nose followed by big, rich, very structured flavors that display notes of earth, leather and tea. The tannins are big, ripe and are completely buffered by the sap with length that is simply phenomenal. This remains completely primary in character and seems not to have budged at all since it was bottled. A genuinely great vintage for La Tâche that is softer in the mouth than the '96 Grands Ech and this should improve for another decade and last for 50 years. Very classy juice. Note: while it's happened only twice, the '96 can be intensely vegetal on the nose and not exhibit the purity that the wine is justifiably famous for; however, I have tasted so many outstanding bottles of the '96 LT that I view these two examples as outliers.