La Grande Dame 1996 is a pale gold-green color with brilliant reflections that are typical of the vintage. Effervescence is delicate and extremely steady.
On the nose this wine is exceptionally elegant. Dominant floral notes (mint and white flowers) mingle with hints of fresh fruit (citrus fruits, fresh almonds). As it undergoes aeration, riper notes of vanilla and nougat come to the fore, giving a pleasant roundness to the wine. At this stage a typical Chardonnay characteristic, crisp elegance, clearly prevails over aromatic strength.
In the mouth, the Pinot Noir reveals its true personality. Fruity notes (white peaches, grapefruit and bergamot) dominate an energetic attack on the palate, which is prolonged by the structure and roundedness of the wine. The balance, a combination of freshness and vigour, is ideal. With a finish that is extremely persistent and clean, mineral notes add force to this noble wine.
"Tightly-packed with notes of citrus oil, orange rind, white peach, honeysuckle, and brioche, the medium to full-bodied 1996 La Grande Dame Brut should age well for 15-20 years. Crisp, fresh, and backward, it is another brilliant example from the exquisite 1996 vintage."
The Wine Advocate
"Deep, highly complex aromas of citrus skin, nutmeg, porcini mushroom, toasted almond and clove. Rich, dry and impressively deep; superconcentrated and oily. A chewy, spicy Champagne that seemed to grow fresher as it opened in the glass. Really explosive on the aftertaste, finishing with a clinging quality and powerful spicy, nutty flavors. A major mouthful of Champagne, at its best at the dinner table. Displays the combination of high ripeness and high acidity of this vintage at its best. This thick, rich, very powerful wine is still a bit youthfully disorganized and will be even better for a few years of additional aging. One of the standouts of my recent tastings.
International Wine Cellar
"A touch cheesy in aroma, this settles into apple, peach and hazelnut flavors. On the sharp side, with a grainy texture that emerges on the finish. A powerful, dry Champagne, with a biscuitlike aftertaste. Needs food. Drink now through 2020."
"Selected from the eight grand cru villages in which Madame owned vineyards, this lean, youthful wine is delicious now but could use additional bottle age to broaden out. Toasty and citrusy, there’s a lot of fruit here, yet it retains a great sense of elegance.