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.
Brunello de Montalcino is one of Italys most famous and most expensive red wines. It is produced in the vineyards surrounding the town of Montalcino located about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Florence in the Tuscany wine region.
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