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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.
A racy, silky red. Intense aromas of blackberries and raspberries. Full- to medium-bodied, with a lovely concentration of fine tannins and a long, long finish. Not as good as the '95. Best after 2002.
Owner: Jean Hubert Delon
Manager: Jean-François Klee
Blend of the 1996 vintage: 16% Cabernet Franc, 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot
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