Château Léoville Las Cases 2019
• 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.
“The 2019 Léoville Las-Cases was picked from 18 September to 8 October and matured in 90% new oak barrels. Typically deep and limpid in colour, it has a knockout nose with penetrating blackberry, bilberry and blueberry fruit struck through with an accentuated marine/oyster shell element. The palate is beautiful, the fine-grain tannins framing delineated, mineral-infused black fruit. There is a clarity to this Grand Vin that places it amongst Jean-Hubert Delon's finest releases in recent years and it is blessed with astounding length. You come away with the feeling of a nascent wine boasting immense coiled-up energy that will guarantee its longevity. Stunning." - Neal Martin, vinous (June, 2020), Ratings: 96-98, Drink: 2026-2070
“The 2019 Léoville Las Cases is a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 11% Merlot. Harvest began early for the Merlot, on the 18th of September, and the Cabernets were picked in October, finishing on the 8th of October. The IPT number (measurement of tannins) is 80—the same as 2018. The alcohol came at 14.02% (lower than 2018), but it does seem a little lower than this percentage, probably because the pH is a little lower this year, at 3.67. It is aging in French oak barriques, 90% new. The color is opaque purple-black, with a nose that unfurls slowly in the glass, beginning with vibrant, expressive black fruit notes of freshly crushed blackcurrants, ripe blackberries and fresh black cherries, followed by a beguiling array of floral and earth nuances—candied violets, lavender, fragrant soil, underbrush, crushed rocks and black truffles. The medium to full-bodied wine dances ever so gracefully on the palate, demurely revealing tightly wound layers of of bright, crunchy black fruits and tantalizing floral and mineral sparks, supported by a rock-solid structure of firm, finely grained tannins and fantastic tension, finishing with epic persistence. Although the style is completely different, the barrel sample is behaving a lot like the Haut-Brion sample was when I tasted it, in that it appears to be holding just that little bit extra back right now. I have to call it as I see it today, but I wouldn't be surprised if when I come back to taste this from bottle, it shows me all that and a lot more." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (6/18/2020, Bordeaux 2019 Issue), Ratings: (97-99)+
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