There is a restrained and sophisticated start to this, very appetising on the nose, then the mid-palate fleshes out convincingly. Lots of lovely, warm cherry and plump plum juice gives a lovely ample feel - but not at all baggy thanks to a line of clean minerality and some 'just' chewy tannin. This is already attractive, sleek and long but with some firm lines too. Impressive. Historically thought of as the Las Cases second wine - this in fact is great wine in its own right - and quite distinct from the estate's top release. It is really the 'Petit Lion' that is a true second wine this year (and very good it is too!). Clos de Marquis is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc from a specific plot on the west side of the road as you drive along the D2. The 'Clos' vineyard where confusingly the Léoville Las Cases comes from is on the east - and has quite distinct soil. Rating: 93 L&S (Apr 2015)
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The 2014 Clos du Marquis has an attractive, perfumed bouquet with ample red berry fruit intermixed with wild heather, cedar and light brine aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, very well judged acidity, very cohesive and demonstrating real structure and sophistication towards the finish. This is a sublime Clos du Marquis that should give 20 years of drinking pleasure. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2021 - 2035 Rating: 92 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Mar 2018)
Muted, inky nose. Then some weight of fruit in the middle before a pretty austere and green finish. More ripeness please! Drinking range: 2022 - 2030 Rating: 15.5 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Feb 2018)
The 2014 Clos du Marquis is a rich, powerful wine. Sweet tobacco, herb, anise and leather notes give the wine its distinctive savory/earthy profile. The 2014 is plump, juicy and quite dense for the year. The tannins are a bit rustic, but the 2014 is very nicely rendered. Today, the 2014 is a bit less gracious than it was from barrel. It will be interesting to see if the wine is going through a phase of awkwardness or if it is destined to remain somewhat rough around the edges. The blend is 74 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 22 % Merlot and 4 % Cabernet Franc. Drinking range: 2019 - 2029 Rating: 91 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Feb 2017)
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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