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Bordeaux 2016: Château Léoville Las Cases

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

As ever the St Julien’s of the Delon empire slow great purity and balance in 2016. Château Léoville-Las-Cases, even by the very high standards of this property, has produced an exceptional wine. The aromatics are deep and powerful but not at all over laden. There is such wonderful vibrancy here too on the palate. And the length – wow! It is a brilliant wine. Coming from entirely different terroir Clos du Marquis, often mistakenly identified as the second wine of Léoville-Las-Cases, also looks very good indeed. For me 2016 is the finest vintage here since the amazing 2009 and 2010 vintages. If these two vintages have fractionally greater depth, the balance in 2016 surpasses both.

The summer of 2016 was the driest recorded at the properties since 1900, with a period of drought that lasted 80 days. This was despite the first half of the growing season being incredibly wet, save for the window of fine weather that accompanied flowering. Following the significant rainfall on 13 September, the remainder of the growing season consisted of dry, warm days and cool nights which allowed the skins and pips to mature whilst retaining the freshness of the fruit. Picking began on 30 September and completed on October 19.

The following wines were tasted on 3/4/17 at Château Léoville-Las-Cases. I also tasted Château Potensac which I will include in a later post on the wines of the Médoc in 2016. Suffice to say it is excellent and well worth considering if you can still find it available. Liv-Ex reports on the pricing of these Delon wines can be found here.

La Petite Marquise du Clos du Marquis, St Julien, 2016

Deep colour; black cherry and blackcurrant fruit; vibrant and up; vibrant and lively – vivant! Fleshy on the middle but bright – but also with flesh. Bodes well.  Second vintage of the second wine. More Merlot and young vine than for big sister Clos du Marquis. [61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38.5% Merlot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc, 25% new oak, 15,000 bottles made]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2021-2026. 88-90+

Clos du Marquis, St Julien, 2016

Deeply colour; vibrant and lively edge; pretty fruit; aromatic; bright fruits; cherry; black cherry; some cassis; mineral; nice entry; texture here; flesh but also balance; feels nimble and appetizing; attractive length. Good acidity. [73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 55% new oak]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2023-2036. 93-95

Le Petit Lion du Marquis de Las Cases, St Julien, 2016

Healthy looking; vibrant edge; depth; minerals notes; cherry; some soft ripe fruits with some kirsch; nice sweet entry; very Bordeaux; emphasis on the fruit; nicely balanced; has real zap; don’t feel the tannins. [54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 30% new oak, 13.4% alc, TA 3.9, pH3.69 IPT 79]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2023-2028. 90-92

Château Léoville-Las-Cases, Grand Cru Classé, St Julien, 2016

Deep and saturated look; very dark; legs; wow; cassis; schist; mineral; great nose; great beauty; purity; good entry; sweet ripe fruit; exceptionally pure Cab; length and matter; very deceptive. Excellent length. A wonder. Such terrific balance and yet nimble on its feet. Brilliant wine. [75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 90% new oak, 13.6% alc, TA 3.8, pH3.66 IPT 82]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2024-2046. 97-100

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