2017 2ème Cru Classé Saint Julien


A very focused, very pure rendition, laden with cassis, plum reduction and boysenberry puree fruit that is mostly waiting in reserve. A cold cast iron edge imparts a sense of restraint, while smoldering tobacco, charcoal and alder notes are deeply buried on the finish. The opposite of flamboyant. In need of time. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Best from 2025 through 2040. 12,500 cases made. Drinking range: 2025 - 2040James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator (Jan 2020)

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The 2017 Léoville Las-Cases was picked between 15 September and 4 October, cropped at 37hl/ha and as usual, comes from the oldest vines that average around 50-years old. This year there is 13.28° alcohol. It is matured in 90% new oak and contains 7.5% vin de presse. It has a very clean and precise bouquet with blackberry, just a touch of blueberry, violet and a hint of bay leaf. This gains intensity with aeration but it is not as detailed as last year’s 2016. The palate is medium-bodied with more supple tannins than usual (that word is apt – there is nothing “soft” about this Saint-Julien). It has great depth with layers of black fruit laced with graphite and a pinch of white pepper, whilst it delivers fine salinity on the sappy finish. Excellent. Drinking range: 2022 - 2050 Rating: 93-95 Neal Martin, (May 2018)

79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot. 90% new oak. pH 3.72, IPT 71. Very dark with black core. This invites you in but doesn't say much in terms of aroma. It is dark, intense and sober at heart but with flashes of colour to suggest a future revelation. Super-fine texture, so much finer than I remember earlier vintages, especially at this young age. Seems almost delicate already but has amazing and effortless concentration. Already elegant. And unexpectedly juicy on the finish. Very very long. Fruit purity persists to the end. (JH) 13.28%. Drinking range: 2027 - 2045 Rating: 18 Julia Harding MW, (Apr 2018)

One of the very few wines in this vintage that truly stains the glass with its wonderfully vibrant anthocyanins. This is an exceptional wine - Léoville just knows how to knock it out of the park again and again. An early vintage meant everything was blended and in barrels before Christmas, with 7.5% press wine, so this has had some time to settle down already. There's huge persistency through the palate, very similar to last year. It has presence and a grip that doesn't want to let go, and you don't want it to either. It continues to reveal itself over the course of the glass, showing slate, cassis, blackberry and charcoal. It's not as powerfully knitted as the 2016, but watch out for those tannins. I expect this will be a wine that, like the 1996 and 2016, will close down and evolve extremely slowly. Stunning aromatics. 90% new oak. 3.72pH. Drinking range: 2027 - 2042 Rating: 97 Jane Anson, Decanter (Apr 2018)

The flagship 2017 Léoville Las Cases is made from 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Merlot, still aging in 90% new barrels, and it’s unquestionably one of the greatest wines in this complex, far from homogenous vintage. Inky black colored with sensational richness in its black currants, scorched earth, graphite, and charcoal aromas and flavors, this blockbuster barrel sample is full-bodied, powerful, and concentrated. It has bright acidity, building tannin, and is going to need 5-7 years of cellaring to be drinkable. Rating: 95-97 Jeb Dunnuck, (Apr 2018)

This is very muscular with formed and bright tannins that give the wine super drive and length. The tannins build on the finish with a lovely integration of black fruits. Serious for the vintage. Rating: 96-97 James Suckling, (Apr 2018)

This has the vintage’s fresh acidity, which does a wonderful job of driving the core of blueberry, black currant and blackberry fruit along. Light anise and graphite accents lend typicity, with a sleek mineral edge on the finish. Rock solid. Rating: 93-96 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator (Apr 2018)

There was no frost here in the Léoville-Las-Cases vineyard. The harvest was as early as anywhere else, the only comparable years in the past being 2011 and 2003, both super-warm years. The first pickers went out on September 15th, finishing up only on October 4th. The blend this year is led by 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, not a particularly unusual figure from this domaine which often uses 75% to 85% Cabernet, with 11% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot. The yield was 37 hl/ha, the alcohol 13.28%, total acidity 3.67 g/l and IPT 71. Sometimes Las-Cases impresses with its succulent expression, all black cherry and damson fruit, but here we have a more brooding expression of this vineyard, with scents of black olive, desiccated cherry, with a little violet cream lift. It has a beautiful substance, freshness and light to it despite its rather focused, introverted aromatic presence. The palate shows more fruit, with creamed black cherry and black plum, alongside seams of black olive and cocoa bean running underneath, underpinned by beautifully ripe tannins and grip. It is so composed, so silky and succulent, but with great structure which feels like it is calmly waiting in the wings rather than brooding and bold as the nose perhaps suggested. It is fresh, bright , pure, and frankly it is brimming with delicious potential. This is a great Las-Cases in the making. Rating: 96-98 Chris Kissack, (Apr 2018)

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.