Château Léoville Las Cases was originally part of the ancient Château Léoville estate which up to the time of the French revolution was the largest estate at over 120 hectares. It took up a vast portion of St-Julien in the 17th and 18th century. At the time of the revolution Léoville was owned by four family members split between the Marquis de Las Cases and his brother and two sisters. The Marquis encouraged the revolution and the Léoville estate was seized as a national asset. After the revolution, the remaining decedents of the family fought to have their land resorted to them. The quarter that had been owned by the Marquis was sold in 1826 to Hugh Barton and became Léoville Barton. The legal battle came to a successful conclusion in 1840 when Pierre Jean de Las Cases and his sister Jeanne were formerly recognised as the owners of the remaining Léoville estate. Marquis Pierre Jean de Lascases, the eldest son inherited half of the original Château Léoville estate, Pierre Jeanwas Maréchal de Camps (Field Marshall) under Napoleon. His son Adolphe inherited Las Cases on his death and the Gaston, Gabriel and Clothide all inherited equal shares on Adolphe’s death. Gabriel soon sold his share to Clothide who then owned 8/12th of the property.
It was at this time Théophile Skawinski the estate’s general manager acquired a share. Skawinski was a good leader and clever businessman. His son in law André Delon inherited his share and over the next generations the Delon’s increased their share. Today Jean Hurbert Delon, Skawinski’s great, great grandson runs the property.
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, launched at the Exposition Universelle de Paris, 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 and today its prices often match those of the First Growth estates. The modernists coined the phrase Super Second; this was for those Médoc estates that if the 1855 classification were rewritten today would be promoted to first growth châteaux standing. Léoville Las Cases sits at the top of this list as for decades its wines combine the vigour, concentration and texture of great Cabernet Sauvignon with an exotic black fruit perfume that makes its complexity stand out in youth and develops with age.