With one of the longest and most pedigreed histories in the Medoc region, Chateau Leoville-Las-Cases has passed through the hands of some of France’s most notable and wealthiest noble families, culminating in the Las Cases family - the final royal family to hold title to the Chateau. Up until the French Revolution, after which large portions of it were sold off, it was one of the largest vineyards in Bordeaux.
Today, the estate remains family owned by the Delons, of which brother Jean Hubert and sister Genevieve manage proceedings. Famed for producing a wine of structure, power, and traditional style, the 2016 vintage has earned outstandingly high praise, including a score of 100 from Andrew Caillared and a 19/20 from Jancis Robinson who praised its “extraordinary vitality and energy” and proclaimed it “glorious to taste now.”
Absolutely fantastic. This is one of the most exciting young reds I have tasted in a long, long time. It shows intense aromas of berries, currants and minerals, with hints of mint. Full-bodied and packed with fruit and tannins, its long finish is refined and silky. A benchmark for the vintage. Las Cases has always wanted to make first-growth quality in a top-notch vintage, and it certainly did in 2000. Best after 2012. 100 points, Wine Spectator.
Along with the Medoc first growths, Leoville Barton, Chateau Montrose, Sociando Mallet, and a handful of other producers, Leoville Las Cases continues to make a wine meant for very long-term cellaring. When I did my earlier tastings of the 2000, my projected maturity dates were 2012-2040, but it is looking more like 2020-2050. This full-bodied blend of nearly 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.4% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc still has a youthful ruby/purple colour, notes of graphite, kirsch liqueur, blackcurrants, and lead pencil shavings, with good acidity, the tell-tale purity, layered ripeness and intensity, and a profound finish. 98+ points, Wine Advocate.
Small but mighty, the appellation of St.-Julien, on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, has long enjoyed a reputation for exceptional quality and consistency. Compared to its neighbours in Bordeaux, St.-Julien produces the highest proportion of classified-growth wines, with more than three-quarters of the vineyards devoted to top-ranked producers. They include several “Super Second” chateaux and many other outstanding classified growths and Cru Bourgeois. Saint-Julien wines are beautifully balanced, with a great richness, depth of colour, and elegance. Cabernet Sauvignon prevails, with Merlot and Cabernet Franc used for blending in the classic Bordeaux style.