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2018 Leoville Las Cases

2018 Leoville Las Cases

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Critic Reviews

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 | 100 JD
The 2018 Léoville Las Cases is 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 was aged in 90% new barriques. Deep purple-black colored, it needs a fair bit of coaxing to reveal striking scents of blackcurrant pastilles, wild blueberries and redcurrant jelly, giving way to notions of crushed rocks, lavender, Indian spices, unsmoked cigars and black truffles, plus a provocative waft of rose oil. The full-bodied palate is densely laden with black fruit preserves and earthy layers, accented by bright, lively red berry and floral sparks. It has a rock-solid frame of firm, ripe, grainy tannins and bold freshness, finishing very long and wonderfully minerally. The tannins are so beautifully approachable even at this youthful stage, making it delicious to drink now, but afford it 5-6 years in bottle to allow those finer nuances to emerge and drink it over the next 40+ years.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 99 RP
This has such a textured, ripe, plump and poised black fruit character that is clear from the aromatics alone. Mouthfilling with huge texture and density, full of licorice root, black chocolate shavings and cocoa pod with crème de cassis edging. This is delicious and has chewy tannins that you can pick up with a shovel. One of the ’wines of the vintage’. Only 2% of press wine (unusually low, as it can go up to 15% in some years). It grips on tight to the finish - extremely impressive. 90% new oak. 80IPT. 3.65pH. A yield of 35.5hl/ha. Drinking Window 2028 - 2050.

Decanter | 99 DEC
An elegant, complex nose of blackberries, blueberries and herbal and spice notes with dark-chocolate and earthy undertones. Violets, flowers and graphite, too. It’s full-bodied with firm, layered tannins and a crushed-stone undertone throughout the fresh, velvety and layered palate. Very complex, muscular and formed. The finish is endless. Lowest percentage of press wine ever in this. So deep. Try after 2027.

James Suckling | 99 JS
Layered with dry tannins and concentrated texture, this major wine offers an impressive structure and promises considerable aging. Black-currant fruits are still tied to the tannins. The wine exudes richness and a classic profile. To say this wine will age is an understatement. Do not touch before 2028 at the earliest.

Wine Enthusiast | 98 WE
The 2018 Léoville Las Cases is a very sensual wine. Silky and nuanced, the 2018 exudes extraordinary finesse from start to finish. The 2018 is a bit closed in on itself at first, but then again, that is Las Cases. At the same time, the tannins are nowhere as brooding as they once were. Inky dark fruit, crème de cassis, mocha and a whole range of savory Cabernet nuances run through a dense, packed Las Cases that is all class. The 2018 is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 9% Merlot and that spent 21 months in oak, 90% new. One of the recent developments at Las Cases has been a decease in the use of press wine, about 2.7% for the 2018 versus the average of 5-10% and the 15% or so that was the norm in the 1980s. I imagine that, plus the ripeness that is common these days, goes a long way towards explaining the seductive quality of many recent vintages. This is a fabulous effort from proprietor Jean-Hubert Delon and his team.

Antonio Galloni | 97 AG
Reserved, even reticent, at first, but like a cold fireplace brought back to life it slowly reveals beautifully handcrafted notes of cassis, plum reduction and blackberry puree along with hints of charcoal, warm cast iron and sweet bay leaf. A violet note chimes on the seriously long finish, adding a tantalizing treble note. A precise, regal, terroir-driven wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2028 through 2042. 10,000 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 97 WS

Wine Details for 2018 Leoville Las Cases

Type of Wine Bordeaux Red : Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend : The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.



For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.



France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.



France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.



With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.


Region Bordeaux : Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.

The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Subregion Left Bank
Appellation Saint Julien

Overview

Producer Chateau Leoville Las Cases : The infamous estate of Leoville Las Cases has a long and interesting history that intertwines with two other Saint Julien properties on the Left Bank of the Medoc. This once massive Leoville estate, owned by Alexander de Gascq was broken apart upon his death in 1840. What transpired next would change the landscape of Saint Julien and the Medoc forever…

Before the property was separated, a portion was culled from the original vineyard and sold to Thomas Barton, which was the inception of Leoville Barton. The remaining portion of the estate was divided between de Gascq’s eldest son, Pierre Jean de Las Cases and daughter Jeane. Jeane would pass her inheritance on to her daughter and wife of Baron Jean-Marie Poyferre de Ceres, and Leoville Poyferre was birthed. The final portion of the estate was named for its inheritor, Jean Pierre de Las Cases.

While the three estates have a shared history of their respective inductions and while Las Cases and Poyferre may still share a building and parking lot, they are very much different and individually unique in terms of wine. Las Cases is farthest north bordering Pauillac and the renowned property of Chateau Latour. In fact, only a small stream, “The Juillac” separates the two vineyards.

The 98 hectares of Leoville Las Cases are planted to 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. There are remaining Petit Verdot vines on the property; however, in recent years that number has dwindled allowing the planting of Merlot to increase.

The heart of the vineyard is known as the Grand Clos. The walled in parcel is situation in the northern most part of Saint Julien, where it neighbors Latour. The Grand Clos parcel is 50 hectares of terrain which consists of two small hills of deep gravel soils placed on top of clay and sand with a south eastern exposure. This parcel is designated for the planting of the estates Cabernet Sauvignon, while Merlot grows near the bottom of the slopes. Given its more northern location it enjoys a unique micro-climate and at its highest elevation reaches 15 meters. The remaining parcels have terroir with a soil structure of mostly gravel with gravelly sand and gravelly clay.

Today the Delon family owns the historic Las Cases estate and is committed to continuing its legacy and increasing the quality of wine. A second wine named Petit Lion du Marquis de Las Cases was introduced in 2007. While Clos du Marquis is often considered the second wine of Leoville Las Cases, it is very much its own wine. The fruit is sourced from the same vineyards each year and though it is produced by the same team as Las Cases, the chateau prefers to think of Clos du Marquis as its own, unique, Saint Julien wine. Annual production between all three wines is around 25,000 to 30,000 cases.

Las Cases was designated a Second Growth in the Official Classification of the Medoc in 1855 and has since been a leading, Saint Julien producer. It has raised in popularity and is highly coveted by wine enthusiasts and collectors alike.

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