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Chateau Leoville Las Cases 1994

Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Julien, Bordeaux, France
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Winemaker Notes

The largest vineyard plot of Léoville-Las Cases known as the Grand Clos, are located in the norther portion of the St-Julien with only the Juillac tributary separating its vineyards from those of Latour. 97 Hectares are planted to 65 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. The vineyard underwent major replanting during the 1950s after the frost. Today the vines average 30 years of age. Grapes are harvested by hand, crushed and then may be fermented in temperature controlled wood, concrete, or stainless steel vats of varying size depending on the style of the vintage. Starting in 1987, Léoville-Las Cases began employing a state of the art, reverse osmosis machine to help extract excess water from the grape must. Use of this technique is considered controversial by some people. However today, that technology is by many of the top Bordeaux Chateaux. People questioning the technologies effect of wine need only to taste 1990, 1996, 2000 and other top years. Those are all better vintages for Leoville Las Cases, than previous famous years like 1982. According to Delon, reverse osmosis is only used in select vintages. Leoville Las Cases produces a structured style of Bordeaux wine. In the top vintages, buyers should be aware that these years of Leoville Las Cases take 15-20 or more years to develop and shed their tannic structure. At that point in time, the Bordeaux will wine display cedar, cassis, dark berries, truffle and tobacco notes in a style that often resembles a First Growth Pauillac.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Michel Delon, a great man, is the consummate proprietor, meticulously administering this vast estate spread out along the St.-Julien/Pauillac border, separated from Latour's finest vineyard by a mere ten feet. The 1993-95 vintages from Delon are brilliant wines. Leoville-Las-Cases remains one of the irrefutable reference points for high class Bordeaux. One of the more massive Medocs of the vintage, this opaque purple-colored wine exhibits fabulous richness and volume in the mouth. Layers of pure black-cherry and cassis fruit are intermixed with stony, mineral-like scents, as well as high quality toasty oak. Medium to full-bodied, with a sweet, rich entry, this wine possesses plenty of tannin, yet fabulous extract and length. Leoville-Las-Cases is one of the half-dozen great wines of the Medoc in 1994. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2025. This lion never falls asleep on the job!
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Chateau Leoville Las Cases

Chateau Leoville Las Cases

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Chateau Leoville Las Cases, St. Julien, Bordeaux, France
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Chateau Leoville Las Cases is one of the largest and oldest classified growths in the Medoc region of France. Originally the other two Leovilles, Leoville Poyferre and Leoville Barton were part of the large estate. Today Leoville Las Cases comprises over 209 acres and has been run since 1950 by the Delon Family. Currently, the estate is run by the well-known Michel Delon.

The estate stretches from Chateau Beychevelle down to Chateau Latour, and the main estate is a picturesque, enclosed 100 acre vineyard depicted on the label. The winery is established as a Second Growth. vineyard.

St-Julien

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An icon of balance and tradition, St. Julien boasts the highest proportion of classed growths in the Médoc. What it lacks in any first growths, it makes up in the rest: five amazing second growth chateaux, two superb third growths and four well-reputed fourth growths. While the actual class rankings set in 1855 (first, second, and so on the fifth) today do not necessarily indicate a score of quality, the classification system is important to understand in the context of Bordeaux history. Today rivalry among the classed chateaux only serves to elevate the appellation overall.

One of its best historically, the estate of Leoville, was the largest in the Médoc in the 18th century, before it was divided into the three second growths known today as Chateau Léoville-Las-Cases, Léoville-Poyferré and Léoville-Barton. Located in the north section, these are stone’s throw from Chateau Latour in Pauillac and share much in common with that well-esteemed estate.

The relatively homogeneous gravelly and rocky top soil on top of clay-limestone subsoil is broken only by a narrow strip of bank on either side of the “jalle,” or stream, that bisects the zone and flows into the Gironde.

St. Julien wines are for those wanting subtlety, balance and consistency in their Bordeaux. Rewarding and persistent, the best among these Bordeaux Blends are full of blueberry, blackberry, cassis, plum, tobacco and licorice. They are intense and complex and finish with fine, velvety tannins.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

JBK19560_1994 Item# 19560