The sheer bombastic energy and towering concentration of the 1996 are on grand display, yet with a harmony, focus, even an elegance and sheer allure so many failed to capture...A triumph.
99 points, Tyson Stelzer
A sculpted Champagne, with a steely backbone of acidity swathed in a fine and silky texture, offering rich flavors of baked apple and plum fruit, almond financier, crème de cassis, honey and toasted coconut. Long and mouthwatering, and still very, very young.
97 points, Alison Napjus (December 2014)
Medium-light yellow. Toasty/bready and developed with a lot of matured complexity, plus a slight whiff of cork floating over it. Palate is somewhat thin and tart, very acid and lacks balancing flavour. I suspect the cork has scalped the flavour. Searingly tart and tangy, racy and lean as a racehorse. Later: improved vastly in the glass. No longer musty or scalped, but displaying tremendous complexity, lots of toasty-bread character with genuine lees-aged and bottle-aged influences. Palate soft and rich, nutty and toasty, smoothly mellow and dry, with depth and finesse. A very good drop of aged Champagne.
95 points, The Real Review (July 2011)
What a ridiculously good year for Champagne 1996 was...One of my more minor regrets was not buying more...
Honey biscuits, sugar dusted lemon drops, mineral, yeasty flor-like characters and a whiff of coffee are just some of the things I think I’m smelling. In the mouth dry, tight and vigorous with super fine bubbles and minerally flavours, light citrus fruit, yeast and cracked wheat. It’s smooth, elegant and lengthy with a suggestion of hazelnuts and vanilla on the finish. Beautiful wine of supreme balance and charm.
95 points, The Wine Front (August 2008)
As it develops in bottle, this wine retains all its intense acidity. But it has now brought in a toast and yeast character that gives it even greater complexity. It is a wine that is also a Champagne, now in full flow of mineral richness, still with a long way to develop.
95 points, Wine Enthusiast (2010)
Femme is Duval-Leroy's top cuvée. This, from the great 1996 vintage, is as much wine as sparkling experience. It has great depth of flavor and a powerful steely background, with tight acidity. The grapefruit flavor is only superficial, because behind this crispness, the wine shows considerable richness.
94 points, Wine Enthusiast (2008)
Located 150 km east of Paris, Champagne is the French wine region renowned for producing the finest, most rich and complex sparkling wines in the world. The elegance, longevity and racy acidity of these wines are attributed to the influence of the chalky soils of the region and the cool, marginal continental climate. The region spans an area of 35,000 ha and has 4 main growing areas, each favouring one of the three noble Champagne varieties; Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Champagne has a vineyard quality hierarchy based on the soils, aspect and overall quality of the grapes. Like Burgundy, these quality designations are allocated to the vineyards of the village. Of the 319 villages of Champagne, 17 have Grand Cru status and 44 villages are designated Premier Cru. All Champagne is produced by Traditional Method. The vast majority of Champagne is a blend of the three varieties and may also be a blend of several vintages producing the popular Non Vintage (NV) house styles. Top quality blends from exceptional years are sold as Vintage (Millésime) Champagne.