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CHÂTEAU LÉOVILLE LAS CASES

2016 2ème Cru Classé Saint Julien

Grapes Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc
Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Saint Julien
Classification 2ème Cru Classé
ABV 13.6%

75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc. Like so many this year, not giving much away on the nose. More graphite and serious buttoned-up blackness than actual fruit, so 'severe' comes to mind, but it's not harsh, easy to hold in the mouth even though tannins are obvious. Lots of coal-black depth. Impressive, very long-term. The black mineral sensation stays and stays. Drinking range: 2030 - 2060 Rating: 92-94 L&S (Apr 2017)

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The 2016 Léoville Las Cases is the finest vintage I’ve ever tasted from this estate; in fact, in this reviewer’s opinion, this magical, perfect wine couldn’t be better. Made from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc aged 22 months in 90% new oak, it reveals a deep, saturated purple color as well as a thrilling bouquet of crème de cassis, iris flowers, graphite, crushed rocks, and freshly sharpened lead pencils. A perfect example of the old saying “an iron fist in a velvet glove,” it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a deep, layered, stacked mid-palate, flawless integration of its acidity and tannins, and a monster finish. The balance and purity here are off the charts. Hide bottles for a decade or so and enjoy over the following half a century. Drinking range: 2029 - 2079 Rating: 100 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com(Mar 2019)

This is really dense, yet remarkably polished and poised, delivering wave after wave of blueberry, açaí berry, raspberry and blackberry puree notes, all while warm tar and sweet tobacco details cruise underneath. There’s a long, smoldering cast iron note through the finish that adds both austerity and authority in a truly unique manner. Drinking range: 2025 - 2045 Rating: 98-98 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator(Jan 2019)

The 2016 Leoville-Las Cases comprises 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc picked between 30 September and 19 October, during which the harvesters were out in the vines for 16 days. It is matured in 90% new oak and delivers 13.60% alcohol and an IPT of 82. It is initially tightly coiled on the nose and needed coaxing from the glass. There are scents of small black cherries, boysenberry, crushed violets and a slight flintiness that emerges with time. The definition is very impressive—you can almost pick the aromas out one by one. The palate is awe-inspiring. The tannins are so filigree, in fact not dissimilar to their neighbor across the border at Château Latour. That seam of graphite lends this Léoville Las-Cases a Pauillac-like personality, but ignoring stylistic similarities, it is the intensity, depth and arching structure that astounds, with detail on the finish that rivets your feet to the spot. Then the finish is ultra-precise, one of the most mineral-driven that I have encountered in almost 20 years visiting the estate, plus it is endowed with one the longest aftertastes you will find in 2016. Yeah, it's good. Drinking range: 2030 - Rating: 98-100 Neal Martin, www.robertparker.com(Apr 2017)

5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc picked between 30 September and 19 October, the result aged in 90% new barrels. IPT 82. Amazing combination of the stoniness and backbone of traditional Las Cases with extraordinary vitality and energy, all overlaid with fully ripe fruit. Such richness! Round tannins but the most youthful wine I have yet encountered. Extremely minerally and thrilling. Jean-Hubert Delon bemoans the fact he will not be alive to see it at its peak, and is convinced it will shut down at some point. It is glorious to taste now. Drinking range: 2026 - 2050Jancis Robinson MW OBE - www.JancisRobinson.com(Apr 2017)

A brick house, with layers of cold charcoal, smoldering tobacco, warm cassis, dark plum and blueberry reduction flavors all working seamlessly together. The charcoal edge underscores the entire finish, which is focused and ridiculously long. Rating: 96-100 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator(Apr 2017)

A unique Las Cases that harkens back to some of the great classics such as 1985 or 1986 with its solid backbone of tannins and a walnut, licorice and blackcurrant character. Full and powerful, characterized throughout by a steeliness that shows its strength and energy. Better than the 2015. Ultra-classic. Rating: 98-99 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com(Apr 2017)

Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 75% of the main blend, with 14% of 80 year old Merlot and 11% of Cabernet Franc, and aged in 90% new oak. It is hard to think of a vintage when this is not a great wine, but in 2016 it is exceptional, comparable to the majestic 1996. It has all the intensity, richness and depth, but it lets the light in. The yield is fairly high at 40hl/ha, with 3.66pH balancing a tannin index of 82IPT. This is the highest ever at this property and yet the wine is elegant, gorgeous and juicy, with an endless array of black fruits and graphite. The tannins are right there pushing at the front of the mouth, but remain pliable. No need to worry about this ageing long into the future. Drinking range: 2027 - 2050 Rating: 99 Jane Anson, Decanter(Apr 2017)

Léoville Las Cases is usually a brutish, powerful wine, especially when young. The 2016, on the other hand, is a wine of total finesse. There is almost no sensation of tannin, even though the wine has the highest degree of tannin ever measured here. Sometimes wines can go from the merely outstanding into the realm of the sublime. That is very much the case with the 2016 Léoville Las Cases. I could describe the aromas and flavors, but that seems superfluous for a wine that delivers so much pure pleasure. Silky (yes, silky) tannins wrap around a super-expressive finish laced with the essence of blue/purplish fruit, crème de cassis, lavender and blueberry jam. Rating: 95 - 98+ Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com(Apr 2017)

Jean-Hubert Delon has made the most of the superb vintage in 2016 to produce a Las-Cases that’s typically concentrated, backward and even a little forbidding. But scale the walls of the tannins and savoury, compact berry fruit and the view is beautiful. Drinking range: 2030 - 2045 Rating: 95 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com(Apr 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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