This tasting consisted of each of the varietal components of Las Cases, followed by the final blend for Leoville-Las Cases. The weedy 1988 Merlot reveals a light ruby color with some lightening at the edge. Aromas of herbal tea clash with sweet fruit in this medium-bodied, high acid wine. The elegant Cabernet Franc is outstanding. It offers a medium dark ruby color, followed by a super-intense, penetrating fragrance of minerals, blackcurrants, spice, and a subtle mint note, as well as finesse. This was an impressive showing for a varietal component. The tough, backward Cabernet Sauvignon is tannic and closed, revealing muscle and strength. Tasted alone, it is nothing more than a building block for the final wine. The disappointing Petit Verdot possesses a vegetal character, astringent, harsh tannin, hollowness, and a lack of fruit and charm. Drink 1997 - 2015 Remarkably, the 1988 Leoville-Las Cases has always been one of the most successful wines of the vintage. In this tasting it clearly outshone all its component parts. With a rich, spicy, fruitcake, cedary, cassis-scented nose, this medium-bodied, moderately tannic Las Cases offers attractive sweetness and suppleness on the palate, a well-delineated and focused personality, and a moderately tannic finish. The wine is just beginning to reveal some aromatic development. It will benefit from another 2-5 years of cellaring and will keep for 20+ years.
If ever another wine gets promoted to first growth category, Léoville Les Cases will undoubtedly bethe one. Owned by the Delon family, this château is comprised of 97 hectares of vineyards. However,unlike most of its Médoc neighbours, it only uses the vineyards classified in the original 1855 classification, an area called "Le Grand Enclos", to make its grand vin.
St Julien is like the middle child of the Médoc - not as assertive as Pauillac or as coquettish as Margaux. It lies firmly between the two more outspoken communes and as a result produces a blend of them both. St Julien's wines have often been sought out by aficionados for their balance and consistency, particularly in the UK. Yet due to its middle child nature, it can occasionally be overlooked globally and as a result underrated by those markets outside the UK. Despite the fact that it has no first growths, it has several second growths including Léoville Las Cases, Léoville Barton, Léoville Poyferré and Ducru Beaucaillou as well as the celebrated châteaux such as Talbot and Beychevelle.