Leoville Las Cases 2016

St Julien, Second Growth

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Tasting Notes

The 2016 Léoville Las Cases is a majestic, seamless, opulent wine. Yes, I am talking about Las Cases, traditionally one of the Left Bank's most austere, forbiddingly tannic wines. Sumptuous and full-bodied, the 2016 takes over all the senses, with seemingly endless layers of inky, purplish fruit. Mint, lavender and white flowers are some of the many notes that emerge from the exotic, arrestingly beautiful bouquet as the 2016 makes its case for consideration as one of the wines of the vintage. The 2016 got an extra three months in barrel and was therefore bottled on the later side, but that does not appear to have done anything to close the wine down. The 2016 was magnificent on both occasions I tasted it. Put simply, the 2016 Las Cases is a total stunner. Don't miss it!

Score: 98

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026-2066 01 January 2019

Léoville Las Cases is usually a brutish, powerful wine, especially when young. The 2016, on the other hand, is a wine of total finesse. There is almost no sensation of tannin, even though the wine has the highest degree of tannin ever measured here. Sometimes wines can go from the merely outstanding into the realm of the sublime. That is very much the case with the 2016 Léoville Las Cases. I could describe the aromas and flavors, but that seems superfluous for a wine that delivers so much pure pleasure. Silky (yes, silky) tannins wrap around a super-expressive finish laced with the essence of blue/purplish fruit, crème de cassis, lavender and blueberry jam. (95-98+)

Score: 95 - 98

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com 25 April 2017

The 2016 Léoville Las-Cases underwent three more months in barrel than usual, and was bottled in September 2018. It has an extremely intense bouquet that manages to retain otherworldly delineation. It is not as expressive as its peers at this early stage (but then again, it rarely is). Yet there is palpable coiled-up energy on the nose, and you can feel the mineralité. The palate is medium-bodied with super-fine tannin and layers of pure black and blue fruit laced with allspice and a pinch of white pepper. It fans out wonderfully on the finish, which exerts fine grip but never overwhelms. This is undoubtedly one of the best wines ever made by the estate. Close to perfection.

Score: 98

Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026-2060 01 January 2019

The 2016 Leoville-Las Cases comprises 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc picked between 30 September and 19 October, during which the harvesters were out in the vines for 16 days. It is matured in 90% new oak and delivers 13.60% alcohol and an IPT of 82. It is initially tightly coiled on the nose and needed coaxing from the glass. There are scents of small black cherries, boysenberry, crushed violets and a slight flintiness that emerges with time. The definition is very impressive you can almost pick the aromas out one by one. The palate is awe-inspiring. The tannins are so filigree, in fact not dissimilar to their neighbor across the border at Château Latour. That seam of graphite lends this Léoville Las-Cases a Pauillac-like personality, but ignoring stylistic similarities, it is the intensity, depth and arching structure that astounds, with detail on the finish that rivets your feet to the spot. Then the finish is ultra-precise, one of the most mineral-driven that I have encountered in almost 20 years visiting the estate, plus it is endowed with one the longest aftertastes you will find in 2016. Yeah, it's good.

Score: 98 - 100

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2030-2070 28 April 2017

Very deep purple-black colored, the 2016 Léoville Las Cases (composed of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc) is quite closed to begin, yet with patient coaxing it unfurls beautifully to reveal suggestions of ripe blackcurrants, black raspberries, warm redcurrants and wild blueberries, followed by touches of unsmoked cigars, tilled red soil, cast iron pan, fallen leaves and lavender plus wonderfully fragrant wafts of lilacs and baking spices. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is packed with tightly knit, very subtle layers of minerals, floral notions and black and red berries, all framed by exquisitely ripe, silt-like tannins and fantastic freshness, finishing with epic length and depth. Simply captivating even in its youth, give it at least a decade in the cellar and then enjoy it over the next 50+ years.

Score: 100

Lisa Perotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2028-2078 30 November 2018

Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 75% of the main blend, with 14% of 80 year old Merlot and 11% of Cabernet Franc, and aged in 90% new oak. It is hard to think of a vintage when this is not a great wine, but in 2016 it is exceptional, comparable to the majestic 1996. It has all the intensity, richness and depth, but it lets the light in. The yield is fairly high at 40hl/ha, with 3.66pH balancing a tannin index of 82IPT. This is the highest ever at this property and yet the wine is elegant, gorgeous and juicy, with an endless array of black fruits and graphite. The tannins are right there pushing at the front of the mouth, but remain pliable. No need to worry about this ageing long into the future. 98-100 points.

Score: 98 - 100

Decanter Maturity: 2027-2050 20 April 2017

Deep in colour with an inky reticent nose that opens into blackcurrant and cassis, and then notes of cedar and gingerbread. Serious black fruit and liquorice at the core but with firm tannins and lift on the finish. Great structure and class.

Score: 96 - 98

Albany Vintners 19 April 2017

75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc picked between 30 September and 19 October, the result aged in 90% new barrels. IPT 82. Amazing combination of the stoniness and backbone of traditional Las Cases with extraordinary vitality and energy, all overlaid with fully ripe fruit. Such richness! Round tannins but the most youthful wine I have yet encountered. Extremely minerally and thrilling. Jean-Hubert Delon bemoans the fact he will not be alive to see it at its peak, and is convinced it will shut down at some point. It is glorious to taste now. 13.6%

Score: 19

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2026-2050 18 April 2017

A brick house, with layers of cold charcoal, smoldering tobacco, warm cassis, dark plum and blueberry reduction flavors all working seamlessly together. The charcoal edge underscores the entire finish, which is focused and ridiculously long.

Score: 97 - 100

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator 06 April 2017

A unique Las Cases that harkens back to some of the great classics such as 1985 or 1986 with its solid backbone of tannins and a walnut, licorice and blackcurrant character. Full and powerful, characterized throughout by a steeliness that shows its strength and energy. Better than the 2015. Ultra-classic.

Score: 98 - 99

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com 24 March 2017