1996 Lagrange, St-Julien
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright medium ruby. Highly complex aromas of blackberry, violet pastille, eucalyptus, leather and game. Wonderfully sweet but with terrific grip, even a touch of youthful austerity. Very classy, subtle wine with terrific inner-mouth energy. Builds very slowly on the back half, finishing with noble, fine-grained tannins and terrific grip. This makes the 1995 seem almost cooked by comparison. Still needs at least five or six years of cellaring. 'We always had unusual tastes in this wine, like eucalyptus and menthol, due to the cool September nights,' noted Ducasse. 93(+?) points.
Wonderful aromas of blackberry, light spices and currant follow through to a full-bodied palate, with chewy tannins and a long finish. Still tannic and tight. '95/'96 Bordeaux retrospective. Best after 2008. (JS, Web-2007)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This impeccably run, Japanese-owned property has fashioned a superb 1996. Opaque purple-colored, with a backward yet promising nose of classically pure cassis intermixed with pain grille and spice, this medium to full-bodied, powerful yet stylish wine possesses superb purity, a nicely-layered feel in the mouth, and plenty of structure. It will not be an early-drinking St.-Julien, but one to lay away and enjoy over the next 2-3 decades. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2022. (RP)
Very direct and fresh and tight and classic with a great spread over the palate. Just a bit more fleshy than the Fiefs 1996 (which I kept to compare). This has more energy and fruit than the Fiefs 1996 but there didn't seem to me to be an enormous difference between them. Very refined. Direct.
Chateau Lagrange is a 3rd Growth St. Julien owned by the Suntory group and comprising of 270 acres situated next to Gruaud Larose. The estate went through major improvements and huge investments through the 80s 90s and 2000s and now has been resurrected into the amazing producer it always had potential to be. 93 points, Neal Martin: "A blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot, the 1996 is even more subdued on the nose than the 1996, with overt cedar and tobacco aromas. But good definition, perhaps with a little more clarity than the 1995. Unfurls reluctantly to reveal more smoky aromas. Surprisingly supple on the entry, good balance with superb ripeness on the mid-palate with dense, ripe black fruits, touches of blueberry and black plum with a touch of citrus orange in the background. The finish is very well defined and focused. Excellent – but it needs time. Tasted September 2008." (11/2008, Wine Journal)