Château Léoville Las Cases, 2ème Cru Classé, St Julien, 1996

  Château Léoville Las Cases

The 1996 Leoville-Las Cases is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 16% Cabernet Franc picked between 25 September and 10 October (for fascinating insight, read Robert Parker's remarks about the blend with Michel Delon in the original tasting note). Now at 20 years, it has evolved into an absolutely stunning Saint Julien, clearly one of the best wines from the estate this decade. The bouquet is beautifully defined with intense black cherries, cedar, mint and a touch of oyster shell that seems to gain intensity in the glass. The palate is seamless from start to finish, extraordinarily pure, the 70% new oak totally assimilated of course, impressive weight and power allied with genuine finesse and tension towards the silky smooth finish. It stands as one of the best wines of the vintage without one iota of doubt and it will last 30-40 years without problem. You might call it "proper Claret." You might call it "delicious." - 98 Points - Neal Martin, Tasted July 2016.

Contains Sulphites.

About Château Léoville Las Cases

Following the death of the Marquis de Las Cases, the vast Leoville estate was split into three. The Marquis’ son Jean-Pierre took the third that is now Leoville Las Cases, the Marquis’ daughter, Jeanne’s share became what we know as Leoville Poyferre following her marriage to the Baron de Poyferre and the final third was auctioned off and purchased by Hugh Barton.

The great clos of Leoville Las Cases with its grand gates and stone lion is one of the most iconic images of the Medoc. This vast vineyard occupies the most favourable site in the northernmost corner of St Julien. The vineyard is separated from the Grand L'Enclos of Latour by a little ditch. If the 1855 Classification were to be rewritten today, Leoville Las Cases would certainly be a prime candidate for promotion.

Jean-Hubert Delon manages the estate producing wines of great stature and nobility. When Las Cases is on song, it is hard to find anything as enthralling; it is one of the great Cabernet based wines of the world. They have recently introduced a very impressive second wine, Le Petit Lion du Marquis de Las Cases. Clos de Marquis hails from plots to the west of the D2 which weren't part of the original Leoville estate. These vineyards are surrounded by three notable second growths: Leoville Poyferre, Leoville Barton and Pichon Lalande.

Appellation: St Julien

St-Julien may not have any first growths like its neighbour Pauillac but has a raft of high-performing Châteaux in its ranks, second through to fourth growths, Including Ducru-Beaucaillou, Léoville Las Cases, Léoville-Poyferré, Léoville-Barton. Gruaud-Larose and Talbot. For many St-Julien is quintessential claret, robust, powerful but refined subtle and poised. Gravelly soils dominate, hence wide plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot.

Grape Blend: Cab. Sauvignon | Merlot | Cab. Franc | Petit Verdot

The full complement of permitted Bordeaux varieties (excluding the rarely used Carmenere & Malbec) and the classic left bank Bordeaux blend. The Cabernets and Merlots usually dominate the blend with small percentages of Petit Verdot blended in for colour, structure and complexity. Several producers outside of Bordeaux have tried to emulate this with a Bordeaux style blend of their own, a particularly successful example being Cain Cellars in the Napa Valley and their splendid Cain Five.