A very rare midweek drink for me, but I just fancied a glass of red with last night's loin of Rossendale lamb, and while rummaging in the cellar, I noticed a pair of Jaboulet neck labels winking at me. Having finally clambered within reach of the rack containing them, I saw this was my last two bottles of a case, which I bought from the Wine Society back in 2001 (£13.25 a bottle then) after being seriously impressed by it at a TWS Jaboulet tasting. Only the second bottle I've tried since taking one to the Rhone offline in New Brighton in 2004, in the days of the Liverpool offlines. 1996 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Crozes-Hermitage Domaine Raymond Roure Exceptionally long cork that tried to break in two, but I just caught it. Must remember that when I come to open the last bottle. Really good Burgundy red colour that, without reference to the very deep colour of earlier bottles, certainly does not look 22 years old. The first impression on the nose is that it's a bit high toned, but, while that never quite goes away, it tones down, and some restrained red fruit comes through, the fruit seeming to darken all the time: cherries, blackcurrants, blood, sweat and a touch of something fresh and floral like a minty apple. Soft, mature attack. Elegant, precise sweet fruit: very poised. Gosh, this is gorgeous. Lovely texture - just slightly leathery. The tannins have now all completely resolved. Very long after, the precise fruit lingering. There's no sense of over-maturity or funk at all. Delicious stuff. I ended up accidentally finishing most of the bottle (just leaving the dregs and substantial sediment). Remarkably clear headed this morning, and 13% is not exactly low alcohol, though lower than many. I just hope the gout gods do not make me pay for the indulgence.