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January 22, 2014

Leoville Las Cases 2009

Leoville las cases - Copy

‘The 2009 is one of the greatest Leoville Las Cases I have ever tasted, which is saying something given the many compelling wines that have been made at this estate.’ Robert Parker

Leoville Las Cases is arguably the greatest amongst the Second Growth wines of Bordeaux and the leading wine in the village of St Julien. Since 2000 Leoville Las Cases has averaged 95 points from Robert Parker, which is remarkable since the five First Growths over the same period average 95.5: in effect Las Cases performs like a First Growth but costs only 25% of the price.

Leoville Las Cases 2009 was released in London en primeur at £2,395 in 2010, trading as high as £2,550 per case by 2011. We can offer Leoville Las Cases 2009 today at its lowest UK merchant listed price since its release at £1,815, 24% beneath its release price and 40% below its trading high; the average UK merchant list price currently is £1,950. Las Cases 2009 has the potential to be the Estate’s greatest ever vintage and one of the greatest ever wines from Bordeaux, although the 100 point scoring 1986 vintage which trades at £2,800 per case and the 95+ scoring 1982 £3,500 per case have set the benchmark.

In order to judge the correct trading value of Leoville Las Cases we took all their vintages over the last 30 years which have scored higher than their average of 95 and applied Liv-ex’s Points Over Price Ratio (POP). The POP is calculated by taking Parker’s scores, deducting 80 and then dividing by the current list price. The average price of Las Cases vintages scoring over 95 points is £2,270.63, while the average POP value is 130.36. This means the 2009 is the most undervalued by price vs. Parker rating with a POP score of 98.11. It is also trading 25% under the average price of the other leading vintages and thereby offers vintage arbitrage. All this strongly suggests Leoville Las Cases 2009 is undervalued by the market.

Las Cases 2009 was one of the wines of vintage in the greatest vintage since 1982. It was also a wine which the critics bilaterally agreed as great, originally scoring 99 from James Suckling and Gilbert & Gaillard, 98-100 from the Wine Enthusiast and Robert Parker. Many also expect the 2009 to be marked up by Parker to 99 or 100 points in the coming years and there is a precedent for this as he rescored the 1986 100 points in 2003, 20 years after he originally scored it 97 points.

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We have tasted this wine on three occasions since en primeur and it is one of the fleshiest, powerful and voluptuous wines we have ever tasted. The incredibly succulent fruit and velvety ripe tannin allow this wine to be drunk now with immense pleasure, yet it’s concentration, balance and power will mean it will improve for 50 years. At £150 per bottle you are getting a wine that transcends winemaking and promises to be one of the greatest wines ever made. Moreover, it offers incredible value compared to its release price, at which level it sold out globally. Whether for investment of future consumption Leoville Las Cases 2009 offers incredible potential!

Robert Parker 98+ points, tasted: Feb, 2012
The 2009 Leoville Las Cases may be the most open-knit and forward Las Cases I have tasted to date. Analytically, it is high in tannin and the alcohol is 13.8%, nearly a record at this estate. This blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc was showing brilliantly at the 2009 tasting I did in Hong Kong and at a later tasting. It boasts an inky/purple color, monumental concentration and lots of sweet, jammy black currant, black cherry and kirsch fruit intermixed with crushed rock and mineral notes. As always, proprietor Jean-Hubert Delon has built a massive wine with exceptional precision, unbelievable purity and aging potential of 40-50 years. I was surprised by the lusciousness of this cuvee on several occasions, and how much more forward it is given the fact that Las Cases can often be forebodingly backward and in need of 10-15 years of cellaring (at age 30, the 1982 is still a baby in terms of development!). The super-concentrated 2009 needs another 5-7 years before additional nuances emerge. This is a brilliant, full-throttle St.-Julien.

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