The 1996 Léoville-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.' Drink through 2050. (NM)
Saturated bright, dark ruby. Perfumed, vibrant, very youthful aromas of cassis, violet and bitter chocolate. Dense and powerful, with great clarity of flavor thanks to a terrific spine of acidity. Almost painfully structured wine but not at all hard. Finishes very long and gripping, with a note of bitter chocolate. Drink 2012 through 2040. (ST) 96+
Incredible nose of blackberry, mineral, cedar and currant. Full-bodied, with silky and refined tannins and a medium caressing finish. It's a beautiful wine that begs to be drunk now but will age and improve for a long time. (JS, Web-2007)
85% Cabernet Sauvignon this year. A good Cabernet year, very ripe. Gorgeously intense dark fruit on the nose. Spicy and pure and dark fruited. Paper-fine tannins, great finesse and tenderness. Well defined. Dry and cleansing on the finish. Super-fine texture and very long. Subtle and long and gorgeously dry. 18/20 points. (JH)
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