98 points Decanter
This has to be one of the wines of the vintage. More deft and cedary than the bigger boned 1986 vintage (also tasted), this is light delicate and elegant. Again, ink and spice on the nose, with stunning cedar and blackcurrant fruit with a touch of undergrowth, graphite and cigar box. Beautifully fresh with sublime melting tannins. (JS)(11/2015)
94 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Tasted at the château, the 1996 Cos d’Estournel was aged in 65% new oak (unlike the 1995 which was 100%) and is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot. It has a straight down the line, intense and focused, graphite and melted tar bouquet. It is almost Pauillac in style, no surprise given its proximity. The palate is medium-bodied with fresh acidity, finer tannin than the 1986 Cos d’Estournel tasted alongside, but sharing those same leitmotifs of black pepper and sea salt. I like the nonchalance of this Cos d’Estournel. At 20 years it is not an ostentatious wine, not determined to go out and impress, but its nuance, stylishness and classicism grow on you. Its virtues seem to register only after you swallow the wine and find yourself tempted back for more. Excellent. Tasted July 2016. (NM)(10/2016)
94 points Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
Saturated deep ruby. Ineffable aromas of black fruits, minerals, licorice and Havana tobacco. Rich, dense and thick; powerful but harmonious. Layered texture over a strong backbone. Very long on the palate, with thoroughly ripe, noble Cabernet tannins. Superb. (ST) (5/1999)
Stored on it’s side in a climate controlled cellar since purchase.