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Bordeaux 2015: Château Léoville-Las-Cases

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_0838Once again Domaines Delon have produced an impressive set of wines at their St Julien properties Château Léoville-Las-Cases and Clos du Marquis. If they don’t quite have the truly exceptional depth of the great years 2009 and 2010, these 2015s are not at all far behind. The beautiful fruit qualities that characterise this vintage are writ large in the wines here. Château Léoville-Las-Cases, on terroir that neighbours Château Latour, regularly produces some of the very best wines in the entire Médoc. This is true in 2015. The blackcurrant fruit tones are wonderful. Clos du Marquis, from vineyards further inland from Las-Cases, has also produced impressive St Julien as well as a new second wine, La Petite Marquise.  

Château Léoville-Las-Cases was formed out of the biggest chunk of vineyard that comprised the original single Léoville property, split up in the nineteenth century, eventually becoming the three Léoville chateaux that we know today today. The 98 hectare walled Clos, set beside the Gironde river, is an enviable location to make fine wine. The terroir of Clos du Marquis is set west of Las-Cases, across the D2 road, further inland. It is a distinct property, not to be seen as the second wine of Las Cases, which is Le Petit Lion. In my book Clos du Marquis is one of the best value fine wines in the Médoc, though prices are creeping upwards.

Even flowering and a hot early summer set the stage for a very good vintage in 2015. Useful rain in late July and August helped veraison and early September was sunny with some stormy rain showers. There is nice freshness in the wines in 2015, the result of the cooler September. The fruit tones, as I’ve mentioned, are beautiful, as is the balance. It will be fascinating to see how these wines develop.

The following notes were taken on Monday 4th April, 2016 at Château Léoville-Las-Cases.

La Petite Marquise, St Julien

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

Clos du Marquis, St Julien

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

Le Petit Lion du Marquis de Las Cases, St Julien

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+

Château Léoville Las Cases, Grand Cru Classé, St Julien

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+


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