James Suckling 96-97
This is very tannic and powerful with currant and salty undertones. Inky. Blackberry and blackcurrant, too. Full-bodied with lots of power at the end. 80% cabernet sauvignon, 15% cabernet franc and 5% merlot.
The 2021 Leoville Las Cases was picked from 28 September until 8 October and includes just 5% Merlot from the northern sectors of the vineyard due to coulure. They found that increased percentages of Merlot did not contribute to the blend. Matured in 85% new oak, it has an intense nose with black fruit, graphite and light iris flower aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, quite a potent marine influence at play, almost briny (perhaps accentuated by the changeable weather on the day of my visit). Very impressive in terms of depth and backbone/grip with iodine and oyster shells towards the finish, this is a cerebral Las-Cases that will demand patience. Then again, name me a vintage of Las-Cases that doesn’t! Alcohol here is at 13.20%.
Anticipated maturity: 2030-2070
Robert Parker 95-97
One of the wines of the vintage, the 2021 Leoville Las Cases is reminiscent of a hypothetical blend of the 1999 and 1996 only better. Offering up incipiently complex aromas of cassis, plums and dark berries mingled with loamy soil, cigar wrapper and exotic spices, it’s full-bodied, layered and multidimensional, with superb amplitude and concentration, velvety tannins, lively acids and a long, penetrating finish. Uniting classicism and charm, it exemplifies how a great terroir, exigent agronomy and meticulous winemaking can deliver greatness even in a less propitious vintage. It’s a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and a mere 5% Merlot this year, checking in at 13.2% alcohol.
A brilliant Las Cases in 2021. Quite a savoury nose – dark chocolate covered blackcurrants, like a Black Forest gateau as well as such signature Cabernet markers – green pepper, black pepper and mint. This is serious, not as immediately charming or expressive, but grows in stature, expanding slowly while still maintaining a tight, focussed core. Spiced on the tongue, quite marked with sharp fruit that has an almost sour tang to it. You get the Cabernet Franc spice for sure – the highest percentage ever at 15% – alongside structure, length and intention. Acidity is well balanced and the tannins are so fine. Such purity of grape characteristics and terroir markers. Classic in the absolute best sense, there s no hiding with every detail on show and in time this will be brilliant. Ageing in 85% new barrels. 3.66pH.
Anticipated maturity: 2027-2050