2002 Chateau Leoville-Las Cases 'Grand Vin de Leoville', Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml) RP95

Chateau Leoville Las Cases: Reigning Supreme in St Julien

Chateau Leoville Las Cases, the undisputed king of St Julien and a well-deserving "super second" estate, has a remarkable history dating back to 1638. It proudly stands among Bordeaux's finest wineries, bordering the esteemed First Growth Chateau Latour, earning the nickname "The Sixth First Growth" by Wine Spectator. With a long-standing legacy as one of Bordeaux's oldest producers, the estate has all the hallmarks of a First Growth Chateau – a rich history, prime vineyard sites in the Medoc, and glowing reviews from prominent critics. The only thing it lacks is the formal title, “First Growth.” Ultimately benefiting consumers seeking a wine that matches First Growth quality but at an incredible value.

Journey Through Time

At its heart, Chateau Leoville Las Cases is a revolutionary force in Bordeaux, becoming one of the first Chateau to produce wine in the Medoc alongside Chateau Margaux and Chateau Latour. Remaining true to their trailblazing spirit, Leoville Las Cases redefined conventional vineyard management standards of its time, embracing innovative practices such as cultivating smaller berries, trellising vineyards with pinewood, and aging wine in oak barrels—practices now widely adopted by winemakers worldwide, but revolutionary for their era.

During its formative years, the estate covered an expansive 740 acres of vineyards, eventually splitting into three renowned estates: Leoville Las Cases, Leoville Barton, and Leoville PoyferreIn 1902, the estate was credited with creating the first official "second" wine, although the full story reveals that their "second" wine emerged from a specific section of vineyards portioned off to create the an entirely different wine known as Clos du Marquis.

As the 19th century drew to a close, the Delon family acquired shares of Chateau Leoville Las Cases, gradually becoming the majority owners. Today, under the stewardship of the fifth generation of Delons, the estate has entered the modern era, restoring its reputation as one of Bordeaux's best.

World-Class Terroir

At the heart of Chateau Leoville Las Cases lies its well-kept secret: the possession of some of Bordeaux's most prestigious vineyard sites. With over 240 acres, boasting an average age of 40 years, these vineyards are nestled in well-drained gravelly soils near the Gironde estuary, providing vital protection against potential frost damage. The centerpiece of their vineyard is the "Grand Clos," spanning 120 acres and situated atop two small hills, cultivated with a commitment to nearly 100% organic practices. This prized parcel of land also lies along the northern border of St Julien, adjacent to Pauillac, and shares proximity with the renowned vineyards of Chateau Latour.

Tradition in the Cellar

Chateau Leoville Las Cases remains rooted in tradition when it comes to winemaking. Fermentation takes place in a combination of wood, concrete, and steel vats, while blending occurs before the crucial barrel aging process, allowing the winemaking team to craft the perfect blend without undue influence from oak. The wines are aged for approximately 18 months, with the proportion of new oak tailored to suit each vintage.

Legacy in Bordeaux

Today, Chateau Leoville Las Cases stands proudly as one of the world's most revered wine producers. A 2008 study by the University of Cornell reevaluated the 1855 classification, examining scores from 1970 to 2005. The study suggested that Chateau Leoville Las Cases should be considered for a promotion to First Growth status based on its performance during those years, adding to the growing list of professional institutions supporting this elevation.

While the 1855 classification's future remains uncertain, the wines of Leoville Las Cases speak volumes for themselves. With nine 100-point scores earned since 2010 (not including the five 100-point barrel samples from 2022), they consistently rank among the highly regarded "super second" Chateaux. Whether you're an experienced collector or a burgeoning connoisseur, Chateau Leoville Las Cases is a perfect addition to any cellar. Secure as many cases as your storage allows, as these wines only improve with time in the bottle. Who knows, they might receive the long-awaited promotion, elevating their prices to new all-time highs. Wouldn't you like to have a few bottles on hand if and when that happens?

Written by: Craig Headding

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