Not surprisingly, Leoville Las Cases has produced another classic, potentially long-lived wine in 2006. Among the St.-Juliens, it, Ducru Beaucaillou, and Leoville Barton possess the potential for the greatest longevity. Interestingly, when I visited this chateau in January, proprietor Jean-Hubert Delon offered me two samples, one where the cork had been pulled immediately prior to tasting, and another that had been decanted four hours earlier. Both were superb, but the wine that had had extended aeration was clearly the finer offering. The opaque purple-hued 2006- only 40% of the crop made it into the final blend- exhibits a personality that mimics the superb 1996. Classic aromas of sweet black raspberries, kirsch, cassis, and subtle toasty oak are followed by a full-bodied, concentrated wine displaying moderately high tannin. This cuvee can often resemble a Pauillac wrapped in the St.-Julien appellation, and the 2006 is no exception. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, it will require significant cellaring before consumption. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2035+.
The 2006 Château Léoville Las-Cases has a very complex bouquet with heady scents of blackcurrant, kirsch, crushed violets, rock salt and just a hint of cassis. It is backward and can barely contain its energy. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, very symmetrical and poised, a fine line of acidity interwoven through the black fruit, touches of citrus fruit developing towards the poised and tensile finish. This is a beautiful wine from Jean-Hubert Delon, but it needs several years in bottle.
Fabulous aromas of mineral, currant and blackberry. Full and supersilky, with a long, long finish. Very fine tannins, even though there are loads of them. Long and round. Reminiscent of the excellent 1996 Las Cases, but better.
Like the other wines from this stable such as second wine Clos du Marquis, this was blended early and put into barrel a month earlier than usual. They are aware that the earlier start to élevage has had a (beneficial) effect on how the wine tastes at this stage, giving it greater smoothness. A little stronger than 2005 at 13.5%.
The glass already feels weightier than Clos du Marquis! Very deep purple right out to rim. Big, big difference between this and Clos du Marquis on the nose - completely different. Rather opulent even. Rich and very fine and intense and certainly pulling out all the stops! There’s finesse here. Even Las Cases is not trying to be big and tough this year. Trying for suppleness and fully ripe fruit. Very lively and fine tannins. Amazing nose even though not that much alcohol. Very neat long finish.
Bright, full ruby. Brooding aromas of cassis, black cherry, minerals, bitter chocolate, shoe polish and violet; more Pauillac than Saint-Julien on the nose. Then rich, lush and powerful, with impressive fullness and volume. As full and sweet as this is, there's no impression of excess weight and the back end shows a distinctly austere quality, even if the serious tannins are nicely buffered by the wine's rich middle. Really stains the palate with flavor on the aftertaste. Wonderfully ripe cabernet sauvignon here; in fact, most of the cab franc in 2006 was declassified into the Clos du Marquis.
Perfectionist owner Jean-Hubert Delon believes the 2006 Leoville Las Cases recalls the greatness of the 1986 and 1996. The natural alcohol came in at 13.3%, and only 40% of the production made it into the final blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% Merlot, and a dollop of Cabernet Franc. This backward, deep ruby/purple-hued effort exhibits sweet, pure black cherry, raspberry, and cassis characteristics, soft, ripe tannin, and medium body. It reveals a strong similarity to its next door neighbor, Chateau Latour. The 2006 Las Cases will require 5-8 years of bottle age, and should drink well for 25-30 years.
Tasted at the château. If somebody opined that this is the best wine of 2006, then I might not disagree. Jean-Hubert Delon has done wonders with a difficult vintage and produced a sublime wine that has the potential to surpass the 2005...it is that good. A deep purple, opaque core. The nose is stunning: sensuous cedary black fruits, crushed violets, and a hint of peppermint. Utterly seductive. The palate does not disappoint: beautifully balanced with perfect acidity, elegant sumptuous and vivacious. Certainly one of the best Las-Cases I have tasted at this stage, a Saint Julien to aspire to this year. Tasted April 2007.
Full ruby-red. Highly complex aromas of currant, mocha, tobacco, minerals, camphor and musky bitter chocolate. Lush and silky in the mouth if a bit youthfully subdued today. This dense, cabernet-dominated wine is big, rich and backward, finishing with serious tannic spine (at 75, this has the highest IPT since the '01). I got the impression that cellarmaster Bruno Rolland prefers this wine to the 2005, and time may yet prove him right.