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THE 2013 BORDEAUX BARRELS DIARY

Domaines Delon (Château Léoville Las Cases) Michael Georges, 40, is the technical director for both Châteaus Léoville Las Cases and Nenin and has worked with the Jean-Hubert Delon properties since 1998. "On the Right Bank we are lucky to have some Cabernet Franc, because the Merlot was so hurt by the flowering," said Georges in regard to the Delon-owned Château Nenin in Pomerol. "The Cab Franc brought some finesse to the tannins and helped the blend. And back on the Left Bank, Cabernet Sauvignon on gravel were the favored spots, but Cab Franc on the clay did well too." "But things were difficult in 2013 because of the amount of work and the timing. We did de-leafing as flowering was ending, which is earlier than usual," said Georges. "There was also more leaf removal than usual, as well as more lateral shoot removal. This was preventative against gray rot, which I had never seen that early before. The key to the vintage was to anticipate, rather than wait. We did green harvesting during veraison, for example, rather than waiting until the end. The goal was to increase the phenolic ripeness as much as possible, seeing that it was going to be a short season."

The Château Nenin Pomerol Fugue de Nenin 2013 blends Merlot with 5 percent Cabernet Franc. It's charming as it shows light cherry and floral notes, gentle finish with a lightly dusty feel. The Château Nenin Pomerol 2013 is two-thirds Merlot, with the rest Cabernet Franc, a noticeable percentage of the latter. It has a good core of cherry and red currant, with a lightly sappy edge, which is unusual for the vintage. The fresh, racy finish picks up a nice floral edge and overall it's focused and pure. "We normally work for low extraction across all the estates, so we didn't change much for 2013 in that regard. Slightly lower temperature and less remontage, but not much. We were most careful at the last part of the alcoholic fermentation, to avoid extracting the dry or green tannins," said Georges. At Delon's Médoc property, the yield came in at a surprising 2.9 tons per acre, though the Château Potensac Médoc Chapelle de Potensac 2013 was slightly chaptalized to boost it's alcohol. It comes off in a nice, bright, tangy style, with good plum pit, Campari and floral notes and lively acidity.

The Château Potensac Médoc 2013 has a nice taut feel, with the flesh to match, as lightly sinewy tannins carry red currant and brisk plum fruit through a bright finish. At the flagship estate, yields were 2.3 tons per acre. The Château Léoville Las Cases St.-Julien Le Petit Lion 2013 is open and juicy, with nice flesh to the plum and blackberry notes. It has light vanilla and graphite hints through the finish, and no green notes at all. It's a nice surprise. From vineyards across the road and on slightly different black sand and gravel soils, the Clos du Marquis St.-Julien 2013 is sourced from 30-year-old vines. It's being aged in 50 percent new oak, actually an increase from 30 percent since the 2010 vintage. It has solid red licorice, damson plum and cherry pit notes, with good focus and a pleasantly taut feel through the finish. Overall it has good length and energy.

The Château Léoville Las Cases St.-Julien 2013 is being aged in 85 percent new oak, up from 75 since the 2010 vintage. The 74/14/12 Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend is sourced from the famed l'Enclos vineyard that borders Château Latour, featuring various soil types ranging from clay to gravel, plus older vines that average 50 years old and range up to 80. It's surprisingly sappy, with delicious kirsch, crushed plum and raspberry coulis flavors lined with charcoal, sweet spice and singed apple wood notes. There's lots of stuffing here, on a level with Haut-Brion in terms of depth, but with a sleek, longer feel to boot. It's showing some wood today, but the fruit density is there, and this wine always tends to build slowly in the cellar anyway. This wine keeps quietly checking in at the elite level of the region and 2013 looks to be no exception. "Cabernet Franc is really the marker of Las Cases," said Georges. "It's relatively rare in the Médoc and 14 percent in the blend is a high percentage. It's the bridge between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It gives some finesse to the Cabernet Sauvignon and adds depth to the Merlot. But it's tricky to grow, and the yield has to be lower than either Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Luckily in '13, that was the case."

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History

One of the oldest Medoc estates, Domaine de Léoville belonged to some of the wealthiest and most influential noble French families before it was acquired by the Las Cases family. The estate was split up between 1826 and 1840 as a result of the French Revolution. (Expropriation of emigrants’ property and constitution of egalitarian redistribution). Château Léoville Las Cases was created, thanks to a kind of birthright, from 3/5 of the original estate and the heart of the domain.

 

The Grand Vin’s current terroir has therefore been at the historic heart of the original terroir since the 17th century. Pierre Jean, Adolphe and Gabriel de Las Cases were successive heirs to the property until 1900, when Théophile Skawinski purchased a share in the estate and became its manager. Léoville Las Cases has now been managed by the same family since the late 19th century and is today represented by Jean-Hubert Delon, sole owner of the Château and proprietor of Château Potensac in the Medoc and Château Nénin in Pomerol.

 

 

 

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Vineyards

The Clos encases a terroir of very great complexity. It is mainly composed of Quaternary gravel ("graves") over gravellysand and gravelly clay subsoils. We also fi nd clays which are variably deep and compact, but which sometimes break through to the surface. The proximity of the Gironde River has created the wide diversity of soils, formed over various geological periods by successive superimpositions. The estate covers 98 hectares in St-Julien. The average age of vines is 40 years and their planting density is 8,600 vines per hectare.

 

The river also creates a special microclimate that enables very early ripening of the grapes and protects the vineyards from frost. This cameo of geological combinations infl uences the growth of the vine and the composition of the grapes: regular but restricted water supply and a very low intake of nutrients bring out the best in the great Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet Francs which usually achieve their full potential whatever the vintage. The incomparable terroir gives this great wine its unique personality.

 

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Winemaking

The Grand Vin is the product of exceptional terroirs from the former Léoville estate
These terroirs are located mainly in the Clos Léoville Las Cases, which you pass as you leave Saint- Julien village for Pauillac. They extend over nearly 60ha producing Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet Francs with a complex, polished expression and characteristics which are totally unique to the Grand Vin of Léoville du Marquis de Las Cases and have been widely recognized for years.

 

Wines representative of their Terroir

Consequently, the Clos du Marquis is a perfect expression of the Saint-Julien features based on structure, harmony, distinction, complexity and ageing potential. In fact, its terroir is surrounded by several Second Classified Growths of the Appellation. The same applies for the Château Potensac, a wine of steady colour, dense and consistent texture with a strict yet noble nose combining mellowness and balance, an authentic reflection of the Médoc style, quite similar to that of Saint-Estèphe. Nénin off ers the richness and elegance of great Pomerol wines destined for ageing.

 

The wines are made to be consumed during meals.
They can be shared and enjoyed with family or friends. The wines are produced in such a way that they preserve their fresh ripe fruit fl avours throughout their life. Special attention is paid to the balance of acidity, a key element for ageing and the thirst-quenching role of the wine. The empyreumatic aromas given by maturation in new oak barrels must not dominate the grape aromas, but should blend together to offer a refined nose.

 

They must have good ageing potential and be able to improve with age. 
Precise ripening level of the grapes, balance in the blend and adapted maturation according to the wine's potential, all contribute in obtaining the oenological features which play a part in the wine's ageing capacity. A wine with ageing potential, if composed harmoniously, will overcome with ease certain inconveniences encountered during transport and conservation, which can lead to premature ageing.

 

A continual and incontestable search for excellence

For each vintage and terroir, the capricious sides of nature need to be understood in order to provide healthy and ripe grapes at harvesting, which are then vinifi ed and blended to make fine or great wines.

Not only is the soil worked traditionally using the age-old knowledge of the terroir but also our integrated agricultural methods show true respect of the surrounding environment. Carefully selecting grafts from our own best plants, mastering the plants' vigour, limiting the number of treatments and introducing hedgerows to encourage biodiversity are all decisions that contribute to our goal: bringing out the best in each terroir for each vintage off ered by Mother Nature. After strict selection, only the most representative batches of each product are chosen for the final blend. The Delon family and its team ensure that the wines are as consistent as possible, by a first blend before barrelling and by re-blending them after ageing. The Delon family considers that each bottle of each wine produced is an ambassador for all consumers who taste them.

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3 different wines with 64 vintages

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville-Las Cases . In a tasting of  31 wines 

The Finnish summer has not started yet - the sea is still cold (+14c) and it's raining every second day - but the colder the weather is, the better is the taste:)


Here are some summer wines I have tried between the showers.

1m 6d ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville-Las Cases . In a tasting of  21 wines 

In 2016 the resources available to winemakers is astonishing. Over the last twenty years, particularly, there has been a revolution to winemaking approach. Many of Bordeaux’s most prominent Chateaux have invested millions of Euros into the reconstruction of their wineries. Ch Calon Segur, Ch Beychevelle and Ch Pontet Canet are just a few that have been recently completed or in progress.


These have followed more high profile examples including Ch Margaux with its Sir Norman Foster designed winery, Ch Petrus, Ch Cheval Blanc, Ch Latour and Ch Montrose. Vineyard mapping drones, Grape hydro-coolers, sorting machines, gravity fed contraptions and stainless steel vats looking like large nespresso capsules are some of the expensive playthings of contemporary winemaking. Yet this equipment, rather than industrialising the process of vinification, is all about personalizing individual plots of land and taking a gentle approach to handling the fruit.

1m 21d ago

 Nathan Long, Wine Dealer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville-Las Cases . In a tasting of  13 wines 

1982 was without question one of the great vintages and from a financial viewpoint the most important year in the 20th century for Bordeaux: the vintage brought wines of superb class in not small quantities. The growing season progressed ideally. An early flowering was followed by a hot and dry summer. The resulting wines are meaty and possess powerful tannin structure.

3m 18d ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville-Las Cases . In a tasting of  126 wines 

Every now and again one stumbles across a paradox that confounds the accepted natural order of things. The 2016 Bordeaux vintage was born out of a growing season that was near-catastrophe and near-perfection. After the Hesperian Dragon’s relentless torment, the Titan God Atlas had seemingly kept the sky aloft with the help of a Phoenix. Following five months of diabolical weather patterns, a warm to hot dry summer arrived in the nick of time, not only saving a vintage, but creating one of the most spectacular vintages in a lifetime.


 The sense of relief in Bordeaux must have been as thrilling as avoiding the bullet of Russian Roulette, or the adrenalin of surviving a base-jump. The razor’s edge has never been so exquisitely fine. While the end result is not always perfect, with the odd abrasions here and there, the overall quality of the 2016 Bordeaux vintage is remarkably consistent with many Chateaux making some of their best wines in 50 years. Typically, the wines have deep colours, pure fruit aromatics, generous saturated flavours, dense rich tannin structures and bell clear acidities. Precision, freshness, elegance, smoothness and “delicate opulence” are words that are being used by various Chateaux to describe their wines.


 The Bordelais are, of course, the world’s greatest spin doctors. They leave snake charmers for dead when it comes to the art of mesmerising. The newly opened and impressive Cité du Vin, which sits on the banks of the Garonne River in Bordeaux, sparkles like a polished turd; a monument to the exaggerations and optimism of this particular type of fine wine game. Momentum is achieved through belief. There is no room for wavering or self-doubt.

3m 28d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Pro (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville-Las Cases . In a tasting of  30 wines 

My TOP 30 wines of the Bordeaux 2016 vintage.

4m 4d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Léoville-Las Cases . In a tasting of  272 wines 

BORDEAUX VINTAGE 2016 / Tasting "en primeur" is a challenge every year. The wines tasted are showing a tendency only and it is still the beginning of a longer process of evolution and maturation in the barrels. There might be some changes during the next year and a half until the wines will be bottled, but already today the tendency is quite clear. For most of the red wines it will be an outstanding vintage, a vintage for Cabernet, old vines, limestone and clay soil. It was a challenging year for the vintners. An incredibly wet spring was worrying the winegrowers and at the beginning of June, the spirits were down. However warm and dry weather between June 3 and June 11 creating an close to ideal situation for the flowering and good weather conditions starting in mid June changed the nature of the vintage. The fine weather continued into July and August. The month of August was featuring hot weather and a remarkable amount of sunshine but the absence of rain let to water stress. Heavy rain in mid September set an end to water stress and when the sun returned on September 20 the vintage was saved as there was excellent weather till to the end of the harvest. The effects were various. the white wines are on a good quality level and display fruit and flavour but the acidity is lower than in previous vintages and the white wines show an opulent and rather soft style. The noble sweet wines are extremely pure and are more on the rich and powerful side than on the freshness. For the red wines originating from the right terroirs and old vines, the vintage an be called outstanding. Water stress was managed well on limestone and clay terroirs, Cabernet varieties did extremely well and old vines found water even during the stressful dry periods of summer. In some few red wines the tannins are slightly harsh, almost bitter, a result of water stress and/or intense extraction. In general the red wines are on an excellent level with an advantage for the left bank, mainly the Médoc area, and the classic great terroirs of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. 

4m 7d ago

 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville-Las Cases . In a tasting of  64 wines 

98 wines tasted from Pomerol 2016 vintage, a stunning vintage for the appelation. Petrus might be the wine of the vintage, such finesse! But many others as well. Le Pin, La Conseillante, Clinet, Gazin, Petit Village, Lafleur, L'Evangile, VCC, La Fleur-Pétrus, Trotanoy, L'Eglise-Clinet and many more made stunning wines. Gazin made the best wine they ever did, same with Nenin. Pomerols are beyond seductive in 2016.

4m 14d ago

 Michael Jones, Wine Blogger (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville-Las Cases . In a tasting of  14 wines 

What a night! There were a couple of surprises at the top of my list of the ’82 reds: Cos d’Estournel (98) and Gruaud Larose (95). I know they are great wines in general, but to rise above this competition is a major accomplishment. Petrus (95), Haut Brion (93) and Pichon Lalande (93) rounded out my top five… not too surprising. Some of the wines seemed just slightly over the hill… perhaps losing some concentration and drying out. I think this accounts for some of the “disappointments”, if you can call wines of this quality disappointing. I’d be deliriously happy to drink any one of them (excluding the La Mission) at any time. Finally, the two whites – champagne & sauterne, were extraordinary and close to perfection.

6m 12d ago

 Hannu Kytölä, Wine Collector (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville-Las Cases . In a tasting of  14 wines 

Some fine wines - Cheval Blanc 1950, Mouton Rothschild 1929 etc.

7m 16d ago

 Fernando Pessoa, Pro (Spain)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Léoville-Las Cases . In a tasting of  50 wines 

The Annual Union des Grands Crus Tasting in London - Bordeaux Vintage 2014 - My TOP 50.

9m 9d ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville-Las Cases . In a tasting of  39 wines 

I was invited to dine at Da Marco’s, where ten locals had congregated with an assortment of fine wines and company. We started with a couple bottles of 1985 Krug, which got the party started, but I didn’t take any notes.


The notes began with a trio of 2005 Niellons, starting with the Clos St. Jean, which was smoky, toasty with lots of rocks, minerals and ‘gaspipe.’ It was round but balanced, lacking a touch of definition (90). The Les Chaumees was simpler and easier, just OK, not as interesting as the Clos St. Jean (87). The Les Vergers had the biggest finish and the most acidity. It was brighter and the most intense of the three (91).

9m 9d ago

 Dylan O'Brien / Sommelier, Pro (Ireland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville-Las Cases . In a tasting of  36 wines 

Bordeaux left bank vintage 2012 tasting.

10m 3d ago

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