David’s Cellar Dreams:
Cellar Dreams is not about 100 point scores or labels, just very simply sensational wines that I would love to have in my cellar. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to taste some great, great wines. Sometimes the excitement has revolved around the company and people I am with, other times the occasion; and of course, always quality. Most importantly they are wines that I would love to drink either today or in the future.
As the list progresses it is not meant to be contentious, but fun and all about enjoyment, because after all that is what wine is about: pleasure, friends and memories. I hope you enjoy this section in our website. If there are wines that you think I should include or taste, do let me know, there nothing I love more than making discoveries….
2000 Ch Léoville Las Cases 2ème Cru St Julien
Just occasionally we are all lucky enough to drink a bottle of wine that stops us dead in our tracks. I had such a moment just a few days ago. Enjoying a wonderful dinner with some of the most illustrious wines from the great 2000 vintage, there it was: Bam! 2000 Ch. Léoville Las Cases St Julien – wow what a wine. 1st growth quality in every way but name…
“Super Second” is common wine-speak today for those great 2nd growth properties with 1st growth aspirations and quality ideals. It is fair to say that Léoville Las Cases was possibly the first to assume such a title. In a similar way to Ch Palmer (nestling alongside the vineyards of Ch Margaux) and Ch Cos d’Estournel (marching alongside Ch lafite), Las Cases assumes one of the greatest vineyard locations in the northern Médoc bang next door to a Pauillac great, Ch Latour. Indeed, whilst its vineyards sit in the commune of St Julien, for many it has a closer resemblance in style to the bold and robust fruit characteristics of Pauillac as opposed to the more delicately scented fruit characteristics that one finds in St Julien.
In the 18th century the famous estates of Léoville Las Cases, Léoville Barton and Léoville Poyferré were a single property – Léoville – making one of the Médoc’s largest productions. But due the vagaries of French inheritance laws and the Revolution, 25% of the estate was split in the late 1700s to create what is today Léoville Barton. Then again in 1740 the equivalent of another 25% was separated to create Léoville Poyferre. Today Poyferré and Las Cases still share a courtyard and chais where the Château stands. The 50% that remained makes up what is today Ch Léoville Las Cases comprising 95 ha sitting alongside the Gironde river (arguably where the very best terroir in the Médoc lies). It is a substantial domaine planted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and a small proportion of Petit Verdot. The gravel soils and unique microclimate due to its close proximity to the river provide the perfect conditions for growing and maturing grapes, creating one of Bordeaux’s greatest wines particularly in the finest of years. Sometimes I find its wines can almost be too robust and powerful; the magnitude of weight and structure can sometimes be a little overbearing. But in 2000 all the component parts fit into place to create one of the most rewarding wines that Bordeaux can produce.
The 2000 Vintage: Whilst it initially got off to a slow start, the extraordinary months of July, August and September with slightly less rainfall than average helped to create some of the finest Médoc wines in the past 25 years. The berries had thick skins, concentrated flavours and managed to retain an ever-important freshness and life. All key ingredients in the making of a great wine. And so to the wine itself.
Tasting Note: Deep brooding opaque colour, hiding its 15 years of age. Wonderfully complex aromas of liquorice, plums and hints of roasted fruits. In the palate this is a wine of layered power as its dense dark berried fruit flavours fill and coat the mouth. This is a wine of extraordinary concentration and has the brooding weight that one so often associates with its illustrious neighbour, Ch Latour. Rich and beautifully full, with hints of cocoa, Valrhona chocolate, and wonderfully sweet currant fruits, whilst still remaining forever fresh and lively. Undoubtedly a delicious glass today, but one really feels that this can develop further in the bottle over the next 5 years and has the ability to age comfortably up to 2030 and even beyond. An absolutely great wine. 19/20