A wine that can be perplexing to taste is the 1982 Léoville Las Cases. I purchased a good bit of this wine as a wine future in 1983, and rated it 100 points early on. But I have rarely had a bottle from my own cellar that performed that well. Two recent examples, this one and one in Asia, were clearly as profound and compelling as any Léoville Las Cases could ever be. At this dinner I had several glasses from different bottles, and the wine was always extraordinary with a dense purple color that is just beginning to lighten at the edge, and lots of lead pencil, sweet black and red currant, cherry, dusty loamy soil, new saddle leather and spice box characteristics. This full-bodied, opulent, rich 1982 is a killer example of Las Cases. Virtually all of the bottles from my cellar still display a tannic, firm grip and have not performed this well.
As I wrote earlier this year, the 1982 Léoville Las Cases is one of the least evolved wines of the vintage, and this impeccably conserved ex-château bottle was, if anything, even more youthful still. Retaining a saturated ruby-black hue at age 40, it unwinds in the glass with aromas of cassis and other dark fruits mingled with notions of pencil shavings and loamy soil. On the palate, it's full-bodied, broad-shouldered and muscular, with an ample core of fruit framed by voluminous, powdery tannins. Rich and concentrated, with an expansive, comparatively low-acid profile, it comes into its own with extended aeration—and with food.
Gentle bricking around the edges of the glass, rose petals and campfire smoke on the first nose. Elegance personified, the tannins are so fine and the overall body so fresh, that it explains right there in the glass why St Julien is loved world over. Las Cases can almost be Pauillac-like when young, but as it ages it reconnects with its St Julien character, and here it shows freshly tilled earth, loam, truffles. Very much on its drinking plateau, but the kind of wine that will quietly, unobtrusively deliver for the next two decades or more. gold, no question. Slight deposit thrown, so suggest carafing, but for the first few hours after opening I would simply let stand. 50% new oak. Michel Delon owner.
Tasted at the domaine, the 1982 Leoville Las Cases is just about pure perfection, and while certainly mature, it has plenty of life ahead of it. Thrilling notes of blackcurrants, kirsch, tobacco leaf, cedar box, menthol, and exotic spices all emerge from this seamless, powerful yet magically elegant Leoville Las Cases. Opening up in the glass, with a smoky, singular character, it's an incredible wine from this terroir that has an almost Latour-like regal quality. It should continue drinking well for another 10-15 years and I'm sure will keep even longer.
I have had perfect bottles of this cuvee, but, perplexingly, the bottles from my cellar tend to be broodingly backward and require plenty of coaxing. This huge wine is, in many ways, just as massive as Leoville Barton, but it possesses a greater degree of elegance as well as unreal concentration. Classic lead pencil, cassis, kirsch, cedar, and spice characteristics are abundant in both the nose and full-bodied flavors. The tannins are still there, and, at least from my cellar, this 1982 does not appear to have changed much in the last 10-12 years. One wonders how much patience admirers of this brilliant St.-Julien will continue to exhibit. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2050.
Still stubbornly backward, yet beginning to budge from its pre-adolescent stage, this dense, murky ruby/purple-colored wine offers up notes of graphite, sweet caramel, black cherry jam, cassis and minerals. The nose takes some coaxing and the decanting of 22-4 hours prior to service is highly recommended. For such a low-acid wine, it is huge, well delineated, extremely concentrated, and surprisingly fresh. Perhaps because I lean more toward the hedonistic view of wine than the late Michel Delon, I have always preferred this to the 1986, but the truth is that any lover of classic Médoc should have both vintages in their cellars as they represent perfection in the glass. This wine has monstrous levels of glycerin, extract, and density, but still seems very youthful and tastes more like a 7- to 8-year-old Bordeaux than one that is past its 20th birthday. A monumental effort.
Tasted three times over a two month period, this youthful yet profoundly complex wine gets my nod as the finest Leoville-Las-Cases ever made. It reveals massive proportions yet extraordinary purity, elegance, and balance. This dense ruby/purple-colored 1982 still looks and tastes as if it were 5-8 years old.
The nose offers up blazingly well-delineated, pure aromas of creme de cassis, cherry jam, minerals, and toasty new oak. This unctuously-textured, gorgeously rich, pure, super-concentrated, low acid effort concludes with a 45+ second finish. There is still tannin to shed in this unbelievably fresh, lively, full-bodied, vibrant wine. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2035.