Although 1996 was one of the wettest years for port on record, the Douro region produced a large, abundant crop. The year was not declared as a Vintage, however a few good port wines were produced which are noted for being fruity and forward. A 1996 Vintage Port would make for an excellent 26 year old gift for a special anniversary this year.
1996 was an outstanding vintage for Italian wines. In Piedmont, tricky weather all summer yielded to a period of hot and dry weather from mid-September through to mid-October. This enabled the late-ripening Nebbiolo to achieve a classic balance between fruit and structure. The best Barolos and Barbarescos are substantial on the palate and give every indication of a long life ahead, offering a superlative drinking experience if kept well. Like Piedmont, Tuscany had a cooler than average summer and this enabled a long, slow ripening of the grapes. The wines are richly aromatic, deeply coloured and abundantly fruity - making them brilliant 25 year old wine gifts for a birthday or anniversary.
The 1996 vintage produced exceptional wines that broke all price records (until the 2000 vintage). The top wines reached full maturity a decade ago, but will keep for many more years.