Tasted straight after Lafite, one might expect the Las Cases to be somewhat overshadowed, but as is normally the case, Domaines Delon's flagship estate is more than up to the challenge. Intensely floral, with notes of crème de cassis, cherry jam, gravelly terroir, meat, hedgerow fruit and griotte cherry. This is powerful, concentrated and refined. It possesses wonderful depth but is clearly not a result of heavy extractions. It is lithe, full of vigour, seductive, regal, long and firm. An epic Las Cases which is qualitatively a match for the First Growths.
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.
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.