Tasted twice, once showing suave and smooth, with 'enough' volume, but still on elegance and understated. Fresh pure fruit, and some length. The second time, in a rather disappointing tasting of all the Delon wines at the chateau, there was some of the thickness of texture of the vintage, but it still seemed tight and lean and the whole rather pinched. Rating: 89-90+? L&S (Apr 2016)
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The launch of a second wine seems to have increased the quality of Clos du Marquis, which was already high. Savoury, sweet and well balanced, with none of the firmness the wine can show in its youth, this has plenty of oak as well as bramble and red fruit intensity. Drinking range: 2022 - 2030 Rating: 94 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com (May 2016)
The blend is 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. This is a massive step up from the second wine, with dark fruits, cherry stone, dusty, really quite floral and perfumed, The palate has a very full and convincing texture, quite supple and plush for the vintage on the left bank, with a lovely weight of blackcurrant fruit, perhaps lightly desiccated. Still medium-bodied though, there is no grandeur here, but it is classic, with a well-hidden ripe seam of tannins, and fresh acids. Good potential here. Rating: 16-17/20 Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com (Apr 2016)
Very good, broad, spicy Cabernet fruit; discreet at first but fine and long. Good middle richness and the classic firmness of Las Cases on the finish. A separate wine, not a second label. Drinking range: 2020 - 2030 Rating: 91 Steven Spurrier (Apr 2016)
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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