|Grapes||Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Merlot|
|Classification||2ème Cru Classé|
85% Cabernet Sauvignon this year. A good Cabernet year, very ripe. Gorgeously intense dark fruit on the nose. Spicy and pure and dark fruited. Paper-fine tannins, great finesse and tenderness. Well defined. Dry and cleansing on the finish. Super-fine texture and very long. Subtle and long and gorgeously dry. Drinking range: 2006 - 2028 Rating: 18-18 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com (Jun 2017)
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The 1996 Leoville-Las Cases is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 16% Cabernet Franc picked between 25 September and 10 October (for fascinating insight, read Robert Parker's remarks about the blend with Michel Delon in the original tasting note). Now at 20 years, it has evolved into an absolutely stunning Saint Julien, clearly one of the best wines from the estate this decade. The bouquet is beautifully defined with intense black cherries, cedar, mint and a touch of oyster shell that seems to gain intensity in the glass. The palate is seamless from start to finish, extraordinarily pure, the 70% new oak totally assimilated of course, impressive weight and power allied with genuine finesse and tension towards the silky smooth finish. It stands as one of the best wines of the vintage without one iota of doubt and it will last 30-40 years without problem. You might call it "proper Claret." You might call it "delicious." Tasted July 2016. Drinking range: 2020 - 2050 Rating: 98-98 Neal Martin, www.robertparker.com(Oct 2016)
85% very ripe Cabernet Sauvignon. This was the year that Delon really pushed up the prices. Amazingly deep crimson. Very fresh and rigorous. Very firm and was probably pretty tough in its youth. Long and absolutely classic. No hint of modernity – except for the super-ripe, super-sorted fruit. Very clean and breezy. Drinking range: 2012 - 2040 Rating: 18 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - www.JancisRobinson.com(Sep 2016)
Deep dark damson colour and little sign of age. Sweet red fruit and the first touch of undergrowth. Then more cassis, a touch of mint. Lovely fine dry texture, very fine and smooth. Fresh, quite tight. Still not really ready? Very fresh and a long powerful but fresh finish. Great length. Digestible. High-percentage Cabernet vintage. 2010-2030 Rating: 18 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com(Sep 2011)
Having previously rated it nearly perfect, I was apprehensive of a letdown about tasting the 1996 Leoville Las Cases once it had been bottled, but that concern was quickly dismissed once I put my nose in the glass. A profound Leoville Las Cases, it is one of the great modern day wines of Bordeaux. This wine's hallmark remains a sur-maturite (over-ripeness) of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Yet the wine has retained its intrinsic classicism, symmetry, and profound potential for complexity and elegance. The black/purple color is followed by a spectacular nose of cassis, cherry liqueur, pain grille, and minerals. It is powerful and rich on the attack, with beautifully integrated tannin, massive concentration, yet no hint of heaviness or disjointedness. As this wine sits in the glass it grows in stature and richness. It is a remarkable, seamless, palate-staining, and extraordinarily elegant wine - the quintessential St.-Julien. Despite the sweetness of the tannin, I would recommend cellaring this wine for 7-8 years. 2007-2035. Rating: 98 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com(Mar 2005)
Saturated bright, dark ruby. Perfumed, vibrant, very youthful aromas of cassis, violet and bitter chocolate. Dense and powerful, with great clarity of flavor thanks to a terrific spine of acidity. Almost painfully structured wine but not at all hard. Finishes very long and gripping, with a note of bitter chocolate. Drink 2012 through 2040. Rating: 96-96 Stephen Tanzer, www.vinousmedia.com(Jul 2002)
Château Léoville Las Cases
St Julien Deuxième cru 1855 One of the leading "super-seconds" - a second growth chateau who's wines rival, in terms of quality and often price, the fabled First Growths of the Haut-Médoc. Before the Revolution, the Leoville estate was one of the largest and grandest in the region. At the time, it was in the aristrocratic ownership of the family of the Marquis de Las-Cases-Beauvoir. Unsurprisingly, the Marquis had to flee. To avoid Leoville being seized, the family decided to sell up but the complicated ownership of the estate, which was split between siblings, prevented the sale of Leoville as a whole and, in the end, only a small portion was sold off, to Hugh Barton, and this became Château Leoville Barton. The remainder of the estate came back to the Marquis' family when his son, Pierre-Jean, inherited most of Leoville, the only exception being a small portion inherited by his sister Jeanne. Jeanne's daughter married Baron Jean-Marie de Poyferré and, in 1840, this portion of the estate sheered off to become Château Leoville Poyferré. To stop further divisions among inheriting children, a holding company was founded to own Château Las Cases. Théophile Skawinski, who managed the estate, bought some shares which later passed to his son-in-law André Delon. The Delon family continued to buy share as they became available until, eventually, they became the owners of Château Leoville Las Cases. The bulk of Las Cases's vineyards - the Grand Clos - sit at the very northern end of St Julien, facing Château Latour across the Ruisseau de Juillac. The vines are planted to 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. The hand-picked grapes are fermented in an unusual array of wooden, stainless-steel and cement tanks. Wines spend 20 months in oak, with the proportion of new wood for the grand vin varying from 50% to 100% depending on the vintage. Château Leoville Las Cases have one of the most highly regarded "second wines" in Bordeaux - Clos du Marquis. The first vintage was in 1902, long predating most of its competitors. Its status as a true "second wine" is sometimes disputed, as there is a distinct Clos du Marquis vineyard, a little way to the west of the Grand Clos, although the cuvée does include some declassifications from the grand vin and fruit of younger vines. Its status as a "second wine" also belies the quality which exceeds many of the region's "first" wines.
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