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Château Léoville-Las-Cases

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Address: 33250 St Julien-Beychevelle

Telephone: +33 (0)5 56 73 25 26

E-mail: leoville-las-cases@wanadoo.fr

This is the largest of the three Léovilles and over the past thirty years widely regarded as the best. A second growth in 1855 but now seen as a first growth in all but name Château Léoville-Las-Cases has been run by the Delon family for several generations and they have done a marvelous job in the vineyard and with the winemaking.  If Montrose is the Latour of St Estèphe, then Las Cases is its equivalent in St Julien and not so surprising given that its vineyards neighbour Pauillac and Latour next door.

Clos du Marquis is terrific and one of the best and most reliable wines in the Médoc. It is not the second wine [that is Le Petit Lion] but comes from a series of separate St Julien vineyards entirely.

Vineyard/Terroir: 97 hectares planted with 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Average age 30 years, 8000 vines per hectare and yields of 42-50 hectolitres per hectare.

Winemaking/Elévage: Temperature controlled fermentation followed by twelve to twenty-four months ageing in 50-100% new oak depending on the vintage.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Opaque; colour tight to the rim; deep earthy purple at edge; lovely seam of blackcurrant fruit on the nose; really sits there up in front of you and begs you to drink it! More composed on the palate; tighter with interwoven oak; plenty of guts and matter and vibrant acidity; lots going on here; really good palate impression and finish; excellent length. [85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot, 13.8% alc, TA 3.74, pH 3.70, IPT 76, 85% new oak]. Drink 2025-2045. 95-97+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated colour; opaque; pure blackcurrant aromatics; some cassis; wonderful purity; creamy notes; blackcurrant fruit; some black cherry then there is oak; little dominant on the palate but will fill out; lots of texture and fruit; balanced; material and density but also balance. Really nicely done. [79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 33hl/ha, 85% new oak, 3.49 pH, TA 4.11 13.8% alc, IPT 70.] Drink 2025-2035. Tastes at Las-Cases 30 March, 2015. 94-95+
  • 2013 Deep and dark looking; saturated but has life and vibrancy at edge; blackcurrant purity on the nose; cool with some smoke and graphite; layers and almost a certain opulence; very pure; creamy blackcurrant flavours on the palate, opulent and full in the middle – really full of fruit. Lots of material and tannin here but fruit to back it up. Nothing wrong with this at all. One of the best wines tasted on the left bank. [74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 13.1% alc, TA 3.76, pH 3.69, IPT 63, 31hl/ha, 9.5% press win, 85% new oak]. TastedChâteau Léoville-Las-Cases 31/3/14. Drink 2020-2035. 91-93+
  • 2012 Deep and saturated looking; vibrant edge; very deep nose; enticing, focused and precise; layers; excellent depth of fruit on the nose. The palate is full of fruit, material and ripe tannin; there is a lot of stuff here but it is very focused indeed. There is a roundness and ripe quality which gives a balanced and harmonious feel to the palate. Excellent length and very nicely done. 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc 80% new oak, 13.47 alc IPT 70 pH 3.6. 94-96+ Tasted at the Chateau Friday, April 12, 2013.
  • 2011 Deep black, dense; tight to rim; brooding and deep; sweet fruit but pretty backward; lots of depth; smoky note; layers and layers of fruit on the palate; saturated and dense but with very nice tannin. This really is St Julien’s answer to Latour and made from excruciatingly low yields of 27 hl/ha. Exceptional length. Very focused effort, bags of potential here in this brooding, powerful wine. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc. 13.4% alc. 80% new oak. Tasted 5/4/12 at the chateau. 94-96+ Apr ’12 UGC primeur tasting
  • 2010 Very deep looking; cassis, blackcurrants; sturdy and intense; little reduced and on further aeration the scale of the wine is revealed; scale and strength and depth to the aromatics; powerful stuff; stalky blackcurrants on the palate; strong and stalky; powerful if a little unyielding at present. Traditionally styled and powerful. Drink 2020-2045. 96+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated in colour; blackcurrant, cassis and graphite; quite bold and muscular; very, very deep and brooding; real depth; thick and dense palate with lots of extract and material; tannins very ripe, considerable and chewy and nicely done. Lots of depth and chew here. Very big and broad. Dense wine with excellent length. 95-97/100 [82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc 13.7 alc, IPT 74]  Tasted 7April 2011 at the Chateau.
  • 2009 Deep; cassis and blackcurrants, some wine gums and tar and asphalt; palate full and saturated with wonderful tannin ripeness; blackcurrant tones dominate with real sap and freshness too. Very, very good. Drier finish than Leoville-Poyferre and even Leoville-Barton [in terms of the battle of the Leovilles!]. Seemingly more structured and tannic. Very long term here. 2020-2045. 98+ MW Institute tasting Nov ’13.
  • 2008 Deep; some chalky minerality; some red fruits; little dumb; minerals, spices and chewy tannins; quite dry on the finish. Feels a bit austere and compact at present. 88+
  • 2007 Deep; some youthful tones at edge; some animal and earthy tobacco notes and ripe black fruits; layers but tightly wound; dense and layered palate; spicy blackcurrants; flesh is here but plenty of grip and structure too. 92+/100
  • 1987 Deep for the vintage; strong nose with tobacco and cedar; palate structured and drinking well. Tannic twist at the end. Very good in the context of the vintage.  88/100 April ‘93
  • 1986 Dark; powerful and masculine; tobacco, cedar and dark inky blackcurrant cassis fruit; tannic and sinewy this wine could last forever. St Julien’s Latour. Great length, great fruit and great tannins. 97/100 Tasted Jan ‘90
  • 1967 Tea coloured at edge but some depth; fragrant with some tobacco and spice; far from dead old bones but does feel old. 80/100 Aug ‘02

Le Petit Lion

  • 2015 Deepish; vibrant purple at edge; blackcurrants and cassis; black cherry; cool entry; harmonious; nice acidity; lacks great depth but it’s the acidity that keeps things alive; cherry and blackcurrant notes; quite sappy on the finish with freshness. Le Petit Lion represents less than 25% of the harvest. [60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.9% alc, TA 3.81, pH3.60, IPT 62, 30% new oak]. Drink 2023-2030. 88-90+
  • 2014 Deeply coloured; tightish to rim; vivid purple; creamy blackcurrants; fresh with some black cherry; graphite; blackcurrants; sturdy palate; nice core of fruit; [label created in 2007]; elegant finish. Good stuff. [57% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc 33hl/ha, 30% new oak, 14.2% alc, TA 3.97, 3.55pH, IPT 62]. Drink 2022-2027. Tasted Las-Cases 30 March, 2015. 87-89+
  • 2013 Deep at core; vibrant edge; fresh looking; spicy blackcurrant tones; nice lift; plums; attractive and some depth aromatically; good fruit on the palate with focus; quite full and attractive; soft and approachable at present. Settled. Rounder and more generous than expected. [53% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc, 13.1% alc, TA 3.62, pH 3.73 IPT 58, 20% new oak, 9.5% press wine]. TastedChâteau Léoville-Las-Cases 31/3/14. Drink 2017-2028. 86-88
  • 2012 Deep and saturated; minerality; blackcurrants; cassis and some blackcurrant lift; purity here; life and spice too; nice entry; cassis; blackcurrant; nice balance this is attractive and quite supple and round. 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc 13.53 % alc 20% new barrels yield 33hl/ha IPT68. pH 3.59 89-91+ Tasted at the Chateau Friday, April 12, 2013.
  • 2011 Deep and dark; tight to rim; legs; some cassis, wet stone; bold palate, quite big and fat with lots of material; chewy and dense in the mouth; acid too; chewy and grippy. Sappy with bite. Goodish length 42.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 54% Merlot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot 13.6% alc 22% new oak. Tasted 5/4/12 at the chateau. 87-89+ Apr ’12 UGC primeur tasting
  • 2010 Deep and dense; some cassis, some mineral, graphite; palate sweet entry, quite thick but well handled; chewy and dense; good length. Quite attractive 88-90/100 [52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot 13.7 alc, IPT 63] Tasted 7 April 2011 at Chateau Léoville Las Cases.

Clos du Marquis

  • 2015 Deep and saturated look; colour tight to the rim; lovely aromatics; layers and freshness; blackcurrants and cherry notes with dark chocolate hints – but very layered; nice fruit; really lots of flesh in the middle; extraction but nicely done; lots of nicely judged fruit; cherry and blackcurrants; freshness; nice freshness here. Beautiful Clos du Marquis. Nice tannins and good finish. Freshness but also lovely purity and life here. [66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.8% alc, TA 3.85, pH 3.67, IPT 67, 39hl/ha, IPT 67, 50% new oak]. Drink 2023-2035. 93-95
  • 2014 Deep and bold colour; fresh purple at edge; saturated; focused and saturated fruit; core here on the nose; bold statement; cassis and blackcurrant tones; some graphite too; layered; cool entry on the palate; very nice fruit; purity here [which defines this place]; depth and structure but plenty of cool flesh; tannins ripe and nice chew at the back; blackcurrants notes on the finish. Very good length. [74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 33hl/ha, 50% new barrels, 13.85% alc, 3.97 TA, 3.63 pH, ITP 68]. Drink 2023-2035. Tasted Las-Cases 30 March, 2015. 91-93+
  • 2013 Deep and serious looking; tighter to the edge; vibrant; creamy blackcurrant aromatics, cassis & feels deep; very nice aromatics; little oak at the edge but plushness to the fruit; density and depth but not over-extracted; tannins ripe and fresh finish with good length. Great effort. [73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 13% alc, TA 3.57, pH 3.77, IPT 61, 50% new oak, 6% press wine, 31hl/ha]. TastedChâteau Léoville-Las-Cases 31/3/14. Drink 2020-2030. 89-91+
  • 2012 Very saturated looking; cassis, blackcurrants, freshness and purity; lots of stuff going down here; real polish and layers; full; quite taught palate with lots of extract and material and very nicely handled it all is too. Very concentrated but manages surprising elegance and freshness. Really lots of material here and grip too. Tannin feels ripe. No problems here at all. Good length. Good buy I expect. 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. 40% new oak, 13.5% alc, IPT 65 pH3.64 Tasted at Chateau Leoville-Las-Cases Friday April 12, 2013. 92-93+
  • 2011 Deep and arterial; tight to rim; quite deep and dense; wet rock, dense, some cassis; quite sturdy, tannic wine with very evident structure, density and grip; not too puckering on the finish so roundness to the tannins obviously. Feels pretty good potentially. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc 13.6% alc 40% new oak. Tasted 5/4/12. 90-91+ Apr ’12 UGC primeur tasting
  • 2010 Thick and saturated with colour; legs; brooding cassis and blackcurrants; intense and deep. Lots of blackcurrants on the palate, deep and intense; little thick but good concentration, chew and extract. Extract and tannin. Good length. 91-93+/100 [75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc 13.6 alc, IPT 66] Tasted 7 April 2011 tasted at Chateau Léoville Las Cases
La Petite Marquise, St Julien [second wine of Clos du Marquis]
  • 2015 Deeply coloured; fresh purple at edge; little reductive; blackcurrants; some sour cherry notes; plums with little spice; quite round; full; not weighty but enjoyable; nice sap and chew; lively finish. This second wine represents 13% of the overall Clos harvest. [52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Merlot, 13.9% alc, TA 3.86, pH 3.59, IPT 59, 39hl/ha yield, 25% new oak]. Drink 2021-2026

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