"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. Despite the sweetness of the tannin, I would recommend cellaring this wine for 7-8 years. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2035."
Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate - 98 points
"The 1996 Leoville-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."
Neil Martin, The Wine Advocate - 98 Points