1996 Léoville-Las Cases, St-Julien (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #199075 98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 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.' Tasted July 2016. (NM)  (10/2016)

96 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 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+  (7/2002)

Jancis Robinson

 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)  (10/2016)

K&L Notes

98 points Robert Parker for Wine Advocate: "Having previously rated it nearly perfect, I was apprehensive of a letdown about tasting the 1996 Léoville Las Cases once it had been bottled, but that concern was quickly dismissed once I put my nose in the glass. A profound Léoville Las Cases, it is one of the great modern day wines of Bordeaux. This wine's hallmark remains a sur-maturité (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."


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Price: $349.99

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Additional Information:

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 M├ędoc 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.
Sub-Region:

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.