Château Leoville Las Cases 2018
• Domaine: Château Léoville Las Cases
• Appellation: Saint-Julien
• Classification: Second Growth, 2ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
A tireless pursuit of excellence is deeply entrenched within the winemaking philosophy at Château Léoville Las Cases. It is no wonder this Saint-Julien estate is considered one of the original “Super Seconds,” and could be promoted to a First Growth if the 1855 Classification were to be revised. With its exceptional terroir, rigorous adherence to tradition, and openness to new winemaking technology, Château Léoville Las Cases could be considered one of finest examples of great winemaking in the Médoc.
Château Léoville Las Cases was one of the oldest and largest estates in the Médoc. This sprawling Saint-Julien property was the first estate credited for producing 2nd Growth Wines in Bordeaux. In the mid 18th Century, the massive estate was split into three smaller parcels – Château Léoville Las Cases, Château Léoville Barton, and Château Léoville Poyferre. Château Léoville Las Cases led the way in terms of viticultural technique during the 18th Century. It was one of the first châteaux to cultivate smaller berries for winemaking and use pine trellises in the vineyards. They were also one of the first producers in Bordeaux to age wine in French Oak Barrels and use a Sulphur cleaning solution between vintages. These may not seem like novel ideas now, but in the late 18th Century they were revolutionary. Château Léoville Las Cases continued to lead in the 19th and 20th centuries by being the first Bordeaux producer to have a separate label – Clos du Marquis.
Château Léoville Las Cases is family owned and has been for over a hundred years. Michel Delon and his son Jean-Hubert are considered to be the men responsible for taking the Château’s production to new heights. Perfectionism is in their blood and they are not afraid to invest in state-of-the-art technology that rivals some of the First Growth Estates. These 97-hectare vineyards are a stone’s throw away from Pauillac and views of the First Growth powerhouse, Château Latour, can be seen at the property. It is of no coincidence that the wines of Léoville Las Cases possess the same strength and remarkable ageability of this Pauillac First Growth. Many a drinker has commented that this St-Julién estate’s wines drink a lot more like Pauillac wines because of their sheer fortitude and classic elegance.
Château Léoville Las Cases hosts numerous plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and a small portion of Petit Verdot. The vines are on average 40 years old, with some exceptions that are almost a century old. The winemaking team tends the vineyards with loving care and the vines are harvested by hand for the Grand Vin. In 2007, Château Léoville Las Cases introduced a second wine called Le Petit Léon in 2007. The purpose for Le Petit Léon was to raise the bar for the Grand Vin and serve as a more user-friendly wine that is ready to drink. That being said, Le Petit Léon still has the enormous ageing potential of its sister wine. Château Léoville Las Cases produces wines that unfold beautifully after 15-20 years due to their painstaking commitment to quality. Their meticulous attention to detail is imitated by many, achieved by few, and surpassed by none.
"Pure magic and one of the finest expressions of this estate I could imagine, as well as a perfect wine, the 2018 Château Léoville Las Cases comes from a mix of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc that spent 19 months in (I believe) all new French oak. Its dense purple color is followed by a profound wine loaded with notions of crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, melon, crushed stone, tobacco, and violets. Full-bodied, concentrated, and massive on the palate, yet also incredibly well delineated and precise, it has a wonderful mix of seemingly ripe, sunny fruit from a warm year yet the minerality, purity, and precision of a cooler year. This wine is going to be just about immortal; however, do your best to hide bottles for a solid 10-15 years." Jeb Dunnuck, 2018 Bordeaux From The Bottle (3/11/2021) Rating: 100 Drink 2031-2081
“We produced great Cabernet Franc this year,” Directeur Général Pierre Graffeuille told me during my visit to Léoville Las Cases. Even though only 3% of the press wine was added back, he was also absolutely glowing about the quality of this too. And he should be—the finished blend for the 2018 Léoville Las Cases is yet another triumph for this great estate. Composed of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and 9% Merlot, harvested September 15 to October 4 with yields of 35.5 hectoliters per hectare, it has 14.49% alcohol and will be aged in barriques, 90% new. Very deep purple-black in color, it is a little closed to begin, slowly emerging from the glass to reveal subtle woodsmoke, violets, tilled soil and underbrush scents over a core of warm cassis, wild blueberries and redcurrant jelly plus hints of rare beef and iron ore. Full-bodied, rich, super concentrated and bursting with latent energy, this is an atomic bomb waiting to go off in your mouth. It has a rock-solid foundation of firm, very ripe, very finely grained tannins and bold freshness supporting the muscular fruit through the epically long, amazingly nuanced finish. Simply breathtaking. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/23/2019, Bordeaux 2018 Issue), Ratings: 98-100
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