The history of Château Léoville Las Cases begins in 1638 when Jean de Motyie, a member of the Bordeaux Parliament, bought a plot, giving it the name of Château “Mont-Motyie”, and began to produce wine. This was a pioneer decision because, at the time, winegrowers in the Medoc, in addition to Château Margaux and Château La Tour de Saint-Lambert (the future Château Latour), counted on the finger of one hand.
From the Montyie family, the Château passed, a century later, to the De Gascq family, in the figure of Alexandre de Gascq who, in addition to changing its name to Leoville or Lionville, undertook a hard work of upgrading the entire production processes. The vines were planted with smaller and grouped fruit, the rows were pergolated with pine wood, it was began to use small oak barrels for aging, and was adopted the sulfur to clean and sanitize the barrels themselves between one harvest and the other; all practices currently quite known, but decidedly revolutionary in the early 1800s.
At the death of Alexandre the vineyard, which extended over 300 hectares (one of the largest in Bordeaux), was partially sold, and the remaining part was divided, with the heart of the original estate and about 3/5 of the vineyards that passed into the hands of his eldest son Pierre Jean de Lascases, who gave the estate the definitive name of Château Léoville Las Cases. Since then the estate has remained a family property and has known a second golden age between 1976 and 2000 when, under the guidance of Michel Delon, it started to produce wines worthy of his pedigree.
Currently, the estate covers 98 hectares planted with high density (8600 vines per hectare) with Cabernet Sauvignon (67%), Merlot (23%) and Cabernet Franc (10%), with vines on average 40 years of age (although the oldest varieties of Cabernet Franc are about 90 years old). The heart of the vineyard, called Grand Clos, the one from which the historic Grand Vin of the Château was born, is exposed to the east and consists of two hills of almost 50 hectares of total extension, bordering the vineyards of Château Latour, from the purely gravelly ground with a skeleton of clay and sand. This area itself is subdivided into 7 main plots for a total of 125 separate parcels, all cultivated according to a biological approach.
The 2010 vintage grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon (82%), Merlot (10%) e Cabernet Franc (8%), after the harvest (between 28 September and 10 October) both fermented (alcoholic and malolactic) in large oak vats of 50 years of age. After malolactic, the wines were blended, in order to have a precise picture of the pure quality of the various single parcels, without the proper taste that the barriques normally adds to the wine. Ageing for 18 months in new 90% barriques, bottling and the relative period of a few months of rest (to restore balance), and the wine was put on the market.
This vintage has an intense ruby color, almost impenetrable, with a range of aromas that begins with black currant, blueberry, black fig and creme de cassis, followed by pot pourri, balsamic mint, salted caramel and nougat, with final echoes of licorice, graphite, pastis and goudron. The mouthfeel combines great concentration and opulence with a juicy acidity, while the numerous tannins gently caress the palate with their elegance, leaving room for the return of fruit and spice that accompany the sip in an endless closure.
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