Leoville Las Cases 2003

SubregionSt Julien

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Tasting Notes

An incredibly fresh, lively 2003 (the pH is only 3.6 and the alcohol is 13.1%), this wine offers a dense ruby/purple color along with full body and a remarkable nose of black currants, kirsch, lead pencil shavings and vanilla. Opulent, full-bodied and close to full maturity, it is a seamless classic that will age for 15-20 more years. Kudos to the Delon family for such a brilliant achievement in a tricky vintage. Drink 2014-2034

Score: 96Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (214), August 2014

Score: 91+Robert Parker, Hedonists Gazette, May 2007

The solidly made 2003 Leoville Las-Cases (13.2% alcohol) is a blend of 70.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17.2% Merlot, and 12.6% Cabernet Franc. In this incredibly hot vintage, the alcohol is slightly lower than achieved in 2002, a cool-climate year. While not a profound example of Las-Cases, the 2003 is muscular, deep, and full-bodied with an impressive ruby/purple color, a tight but juicy bouquet of vanilla, black cherries, crushed rocks, and flowers, a sweet attack, and moderately high tannin. Backward and fresh, displaying impeccable delineation and purity, it can be enjoyed between 2012-2023.

Score: 93+Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (164), April 2006

I do not think this wine will ever match the quality of the 1982, 1986, 1990, 1996, or 2000, and may actually end up being slightly behind the fabulous 2002. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful effort and certainly one of the top wines of the Medoc. Deep ruby/purple in color, this blend of 70.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17.2% Merlot, and 12.6% Cabernet Franc tips the scales at 13.2% alcohol (actually less than the 2002), with a relatively high pH of 3.82. The wine comes across more like the 1985, which I actually had a bottle of a few days before I tasted this wine, and I was super-impressed by how slowly that wine is aging from a relatively fast-evolving vintage. Wonderfully pure notes of cassis, vanilla, and sweet cherries and minerals are present in this medium to full-bodied wine, which is soft, fleshy, and surprisingly forward for a wine from Las Cases, and even corpulent, which is not a characteristic I often associate with this estate. The sweetness of the fruit and the lushness suggest a wine that will drink well early on but age nicely for 15-20 years. I don’t believe this is one of the most profound wines from Leoville Las Cases, but it is certainly one of the best wines of this tricky vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2025.

Score: 93/95Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (158), April 2005

Extremely small yields of only 21.2 hectoliters per hectare, from a harvest that began on September 11 and ended September 26, the 2003 Leoville Las Cases is a blend of 70.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17.2% Merlot, and 12.6% Cabernet Franc. The 13.27% alcohol is slightly less than the record alcohol level attained here in 2002, and the pH is 3.82. Only 54% of the harvest made it into the grand vin. Still a large-scaled, monolithic wine, it will no doubt move up the scale as it sorts itself out and becomes more delineated. Inky/ruby/purple-colored, it possesses the classic Las Cases purity and balance along with layer upon layer of ripe, pure, black cherry and black currant fruit wrapped around a solid core of minerals and subtle oak. Medium to full-bodied, with sweet tannin, but not as opulent as many of its peers, this classically proportioned, well-delineated 2003 is a brilliant achievement from Jean-Hubert Delon and his staff

Score: 94/96+Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (152), April 2004

Incredible nose of crushed berry, licorice, violets and lightly toasted oak. Pure crème de cassis. Solid.

Score: 97James Suckling, Wine Spectator, February 2006

Very complex. Layers of cashmere-like tannins turning to leather. Warm and inviting yet rich and powerful; fantastic purity yet voluptuous. This is what exciting wine is about.

Score: 95/100James Suckling, Wine Spectator (April 04), April 2004

Mid crimson. Some refreshment but a bit jagged. Not much charm. Determinedly dry. From the Barton stable? Or something less exalted? Slightly green note on the end. (Average group score: 15.6)

Score: 16Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, October 2010

Notably dark. Unusually fresh fruit on the nose. Seems the least developed of this collection. There is certainly no shortage of tannins but the wine doesn’t seem that different from any other vintage of Las Cases. Quite savoury with a hint of leather. Not for wimps but well made and seems to have an unusually long future ahead of it.

Score: 17.5Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2008

Quite unusually round and flattering - amazing for LLC!

Score: 18+Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 04), April 2004

Score: 16.5Farr Vintners, Southwold Bordeaux Tasting, January 2007

Score: 16.5Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine (1), April 2004

Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.