Peter Maude Fine Wines

2020, Château Léoville Las Cases, SAINT-JULIEN, 2ème Grand Cru Classé


Bordeaux Blend: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, merlot.

The 2020 Léoville Las Cases has developed into a powerhouse. Then again, that is Las Cases. En Primeur, I thought the 2020 was a bit shy, but its true personality has to emerge. Blackberry jam, spice, menthol, liquorice, espresso and plum all saturate the palate. Vivid and explosive, the 2020 is dizzyingly rich, with plenty of Las Cases tannins that will require patience. I am not sure when the 2020 will be ready to drink, but it won't be anytime soon. Las Cases is one of the wines of the vintage in 2020, that much is pretty clear. 98+ Antonio Galloni, Vinous (2022).

The 2020 Léoville Las-Cases, matured in 80% new oak and bottled in July, has retained that alluring Pauillac-like bouquet with disarming purity and intensity. There is a little more blue fruit joining the chorus line compared to its showing in barrel. Wonderful delineation. The palate is beautifully balanced with pliant, fine-boned tannins that frame the silky-smooth black fruit. Strawberry, cassis and spicy notes percolate through with aeration and flourish on the finish. This fulfils all its potential from barrel - a quite stunning Saint-Julien and a great Las-Cases. 97 Neal Martin, Vinous (2022).

A subtle intensity where the power steals up on you through the palate - this is an excellent example of what Las Cases can deliver. Intellectual, concentrated and reined in for the foreseeable future. You get the full array of serious St-Julien character - pencil lead, cigar box, cassis bud, bilberry, earth and granite-edged tannins, this needs time. Very little press wine was used because this has such a plainly evident natural intensity. Needs time, but knowing how this estate is a slow burner even in generous vintages, you are going to need a lot of patience for this vintage to reach its drinking window. Impressive, not yet showing its heart. May be up-scored once in bottle. This is 1% less than 2018 and 0.5% less than in 2019 in terms of alcohol. 3.65pH. A yield of 34hl/ha. 96 Jane Anson, Decanter (2021).

Perfumed touches on the nose, quite high toned, blackcurrant but almost liqueur with rose petal and candy floss nuances. On the point of ripeness, still tense, not hugely expansive in the mouth or particularly weighty but juicy with a really confident energy to it - vibrant and compelling. Tannins are perfectly integrated, so fine, this has a silky overall texture with a hint of grip coming towards the mid palate. Driven and straight, not deviating from the core. Almost unfriendly, but you know this has been well made - it's sleek, with sinewy muscles, just caged right now needing time to come around. I love the precision to the elements, there's such a sharp attention to detail with a liquorice, slate and pencil lead tang. The flavours need coaxing a little; this is a sleeping beauty waiting to awaken, but when it does it will be delicious because of the precision. A wonderful wine that makes you really think about how it's going to evolve. 97 Georgina Hindle, Decanter (2023).

The 2020 Léoville Las Cases is a classic in the making, unwinding in the glass with aromas of cherries, cassis, loamy soil, violets and dark chocolate framed by a discreet touch of new oak. Full-bodied, broad and layered, it's rich and concentrated, with a deep core of fruit framed by sweet, powdery tannins and lively acids. Concluding with a long resonant finish, it's built for the cellar. 97+ William Kelley, Wine Advocate (2023).

The 2020 Léoville Las Cases is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and 8% Merlot, aging in 80%  new French oak barriques, weighing in with an alcohol of 13.68%, a pH of 3.8 and an IPT (tannins index) of 79. The Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested from the 21st to the 27th of September, the Merlot from the 12th to the 15th of September and the Cabernet Franc on the 18th and 19th of September. With an opaque purple-black colour, it slowly unfurls to reveal beguiling notes of fresh blackcurrants, Morello cherries, candied violets and dark chocolate, giving way to an undercurrent of crushed rocks, unsmoked cigars, clove oil and fragrant earth. The medium-bodied palate is a powerhouse of energy, delivering tightly wound red and black fruits, mineral and floral layers, supported by fantastic tension and incredibly ripe, silt-like tannins. The finish has jaw-dropping fragrance and depth. 96-98 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (2021).

Drinking Window: 2032 - 2070

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