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June 14, 2017

Chateau Leoville Las Cases 2016

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Leoville Las cases made a wine we loved in 2014, adored in 2015 and in 2016 could become one of the great Bordeaux wines, it is that sublime. Ignoring price for the auspices of artistic splendour, Leoville Las Cases 2016 redefines the Estate. It is the wine of St Julien in 2016, with supreme balance, torque and power only matched by Mouton Rothschild, yet with the distinctiveness of Figeac. It displays opulence and majesty, completing a vertical of three vintages that are unmatched. Neal Martin has awarded it 98-100 points, it is of course one of the wines of the vintage, it is a perfect 100 point wine, set to surpass the 2005. Martin calls the palate ‘Awe-inspiring’, the tannin filigree, comparing it to Latour. He goes on to conclude ‘Then the finish is ultra-precise, one of the most mineral-driven that I have encountered in almost 20 years visiting the estate, plus it is endowed with one the longest aftertastes you will find in 2016. Yeah, it’s good.’ James Suckling has awarded it 98-99 points, he has underscored it, which is the first and last time I will probably ever get to say this about him. However his tasting note is spot on: ‘A unique Las Cases that harkens back to some of the great classics such as 1985 or 1986 with its solid backbone of tannins and a walnut, licorice and blackcurrant character.’

Back to price. While knowing the wine is great, that older exceptional vintages trade where the air is rarefied and that this would be the prime contender to be the next first growth, we never pretended the 2016 would inexpensive. The Estate normally produces 15,000 cases, however they have reduced this year’s release by 40%, which will leave a short-fall in allocation, where global demand will be fierce and a 100 point score will represent exciting upside. Today’s release price is £2,100 per case of 12, or £1,050 per case of 6. This represents a 30% euro increase on last year and places it alongside its finest ever vintage in terms of price. The 98+ scoring 2009 trades at £2,200, the 97+ scoring 2005 £2,150. As such with a median score it is fully priced, although this is surely destined for a perfect score, which will place it in the pantheon of great Bordeaux wines.

Leoville Las Cases WA JS Price Release POP
2016 98-100 98-99 £2,100 £2,100 111
2015 95-97 96-97 £1,590 £1,475 99
2014 96 98 £1,200 £920 75
2013 92 94 £1,040 £860 87
2012 93+ 93 £1,175 £960 87
2011 93+ 95 £1,140 £995 84
2010 96+ 99 £1,880 £2,195 114
2009 98+ 99 £2,200 £2,395 119
2008 93+ 95 £1,250 £895 93
2007 91+ N/A £1,250 £895 109
2006 96 N/A £1,425 £1,150 89
2005 97+ 99 £2,150 £1,680 123

 

Unique for the Médoc, the vineyards of Las Cases are mainly laid out in one block. The walled Grand Clos that borders Château Latour at the north of the St Julien appellation makes up half of the Las Cases Estate and the gate of the Grand Clos vineyard is featured on the wines label. In the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855, there were no Premier Cru wines from the St Julien appellation. Château Léoville Las Cases has been its strongest contender for many decades to be reclassified.

Chateau Leoville Las Cases 2016, 12×75 – £2,100 EP or 6×75 – £1,050 EP

98-100 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2016 Leoville-Las Cases comprises 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc picked between 30 September and 19 October, during which the harvesters were out in the vines for 16 days. It is matured in 90% new oak and delivers 13.60% alcohol and an IPT of 82. It is initially tightly coiled on the nose and needed coaxing from the glass. There are scents of small black cherries, boysenberry, crushed violets and a slight flintiness that emerges with time. The definition is very impressive—you can almost pick the aromas out one by one. The palate is awe-inspiring. The tannins are so filigree, in fact not dissimilar to their neighbor across the border at Château Latour. That seam of graphite lends this Léoville Las-Cases a Pauillac-like personality, but ignoring stylistic similarities, it is the intensity, depth and arching structure that astounds, with detail on the finish that rivets your feet to the spot. Then the finish is ultra-precise, one of the most mineral-driven that I have encountered in almost 20 years visiting the estate, plus it is endowed with one the longest aftertastes you will find in 2016. Yeah, it’s good.

98-99 Points, James Suckling
A unique Las Cases that harkens back to some of the great classics such as 1985 or 1986 with its solid backbone of tannins and a walnut, licorice and blackcurrant character. Full and powerful, characterized throughout by a steeliness that shows its strength and energy. Better than the 2015. Ultra-classic.

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