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  • 98 WAWine Advocate
  • 98 NMNeil Martin
  • 94 WSWine Spectator
  • 96 IWCInternational Wine Cellars
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Wine Advocate

98 Points, Robert Parker Jr., The Wine Advocate: "Having previously rated it nearly perfect, I was apprehensive of a letdown about tasting the 1996 Leoville Las Cases once it had been bottled, but that concern was quickly dismissed once I put my nose in the glass. A profound Leoville Las Cases, it is one of the great modern day wines of Bordeaux. This wine's hallmark remains a sur-maturite (over-ripeness) of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Yet the wine has retained its intrinsic classicism, symmetry, and profound potential for complexity and elegance. The black/purple color is followed by a spectacular nose of cassis, cherry liqueur, pain grille, and minerals. It is powerful and rich on the attack, with beautifully integrated tannin, massive concentration, yet no hint of heaviness or disjointedness. As this wine sits in the glass it grows in stature and richness. It is a remarkable, seamless, palate-staining, and extraordinarily elegant wine - the quintessential St.-Julien. Despite the sweetness of the tannin, I would recommend cellaring this wine for 7-8 years. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2035." 4/99 Robert Parkers original tasting note: "Let me make it simple - this is the most prodigious Leoville-Las Cases since the 1982, and it may be as profound as that historical wine! When I saw Michel Delon in January, 1997, when we were tasting the 1993, 1994, and 1995 vintages, he could not conceal his excitement over what he thought would be the blend for the 1996 Leoville-Las Cases. As he stated, never had he harvested Cabernet Sauvignon so ripe, high in sugar, and intensely concentrated. The Merlot and Cabernet Franc were disappointing, save for one parcel of very old vine Cabernet Franc that made it into the final blend. The selection employed by Delon at Las Cases continues to be dragonian, with only 40% of the harvest making it into the grand vin. For the first time in years, no Petit Verdot was utilized. Even I have a hard time finding the words to describe wines of this quality. It is an opaque purple/black/blue color. Although still in its infancy, the nose soars from the glass, offering amazingly penetrating and pure aromas of cassis, minerals, and spice. Despite the fact that 70% new oak casks are used, I could not find any evidence of new oak in the nose - a testament to the incredible richness of 1996's late-picked Cabernet Sauvignon fruit. Extremely full-bodied, magnificently concentrated, yet brilliantly balanced (nothing is out of place), this seamless, potentially legendary classic will require 10-12 years of cellaring. It has 35-40 years of aging potential. Remarkably, Las Cases has produced nothing less than a top-notch wine in the decade of the nineties. Readers would be foolish not to consider buying the magnificent 1995 and marvelous 1994, but believe it or not, the 1996 towers over those two gorgeous wines. A candidate for perfection?" 4/1997

Neil Martin

98 Points, Neal Martin, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 1996 Leoville-Las Cases is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 16% Cabernet Franc picked between 25 September and 10 October (for fascinating insight, read Robert Parker's remarks about the blend with Michel Delon in the original tasting note). Now at 20 years, it has evolved into an absolutely stunning Saint Julien, clearly one of the best wines from the estate this decade. The bouquet is beautifully defined with intense black cherries, cedar, mint and a touch of oyster shell that seems to gain intensity in the glass. The palate is seamless from start to finish, extraordinarily pure, the 70% new oak totally assimilated of course, impressive weight and power allied with genuine finesse and tension towards the silky smooth finish. It stands as one of the best wines of the vintage without one iota of doubt and it will last 30-40 years without problem. You might call it "proper Claret." You might call it "delicious." Tasted July 2016." 10/16