When last sampled in 11/2010 the 96 Sociando-Mallet was drinking well, but was at the very early part of its drinking window. Tonight's sample had evolved a bit more, although it's still a young wine despite being over age 15. There is still a firm structure of tannins and acids to support further aging.
The color is a very deep ruby, even though the wine had thrown enough sediment to require decanting. The bouquet is still quite fruity, suggesting black currants, black cherries, and plums, although there's also a whiff of leather and tobacco. The palate calls to mind cassis and kirsch, with earth, leather, and tobacco.
This wine compares favorably to a mature Pauillac from a good vintage. I can't believe I only paid $35 for it back when it was released.