1996 Lagrange, St-Julien

SKU #110408 93 points 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.  (9/2004)

91 points Wine Spectator

 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)

90 points 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)  (4/1999)

Jancis Robinson

 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.  (2/2010)

K&L Notes

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)

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

- View our bestselling Bordeaux.
Specific Appellation:

Saint Julien

- St. Julien, the smallest of the four famous appellations of the Haut Medoc, is known for highly extracted, finely structured, Cabernet-based reds. It is nestled between Pauillac to the north and Margaux to the south. Like St. Estephe, there are no first growths in this area. Leoville-las-Cases, Leoville Poyferre, Leoville Barton, Ducru Beaucaillou, and Gruard Larose are the second-growths of St. Julien followed by Lagrange which is the only third-growth. Beychevelle, Branaire Ducru, St. Pierre, and Talbot, which are all fourth-growth wines, round out the grand cru classe chateaux. In the last several vintages, wineries from this appellation have been out-performing their traditional rankings making many of the wines from this region some of the best values in red wine today.