“We produced great Cabernet Franc this year,” Directeur Général Pierre Graffeuille told me during my visit to Léoville Las Cases. Even though only 3% of the press wine was added back, he was also absolutely glowing about the quality of this too. And he should be—the finished blend for the 2018 Léoville Las Cases is yet another triumph for this great estate. Composed of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and 9% Merlot, harvested September 15 to October 4 with yields of 35.5 hectoliters per hectare, it has 14.49% alcohol and will be aged in barriques, 90% new. Very deep purple-black in color, it is a little closed to begin, slowly emerging from the glass to reveal subtle woodsmoke, violets, tilled soil and underbrush scents over a core of warm cassis, wild blueberries and redcurrant jelly plus hints of rare beef and iron ore. Full-bodied, rich, super concentrated and bursting with latent energy, this is an atomic bomb waiting to go off in your mouth. It has a rock-solid foundation of firm, very ripe, very finely grained tannins and bold freshness supporting the muscular fruit through the epically long, amazingly nuanced finish. Simply breathtaking.
|Score: 98/100||Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (April 2019), April 2019|
OMG. This shows amazing depth of fruit and density. Full-bodied and so layered with incredible fruit and power. Blackberries. Blueberries. Violets. Hints of dried flowers. Fantastic fruit and tannins, yet agile and energetic. The château says 2016 plus, plus.
|Score: 99/100||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2019|
The 2018 Léoville Las Cases is a rich, sumptuous, exotic wine in 2018. Plush fruit and suave, silky tannins give the 2018 a level of textural richness that is unusual for a young Léoville Las Cases. Crème de cassis, lavender, mint and sweet spice all build in this extraordinarily beautiful wine. I can't recall tasting a young Las Cases with this much immediacy and sheer allure. The 2018 Las Cases has a very bright future. It is also one of the unquestioned stars of the vintage. In 2018, the blend is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and 9% Merlot.
|Score: 95/98||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, May 2019|
80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 9% Merlot. 90% new oak, pH 3.65. Barrel sample.
Black core with narrow purple rim. A moment of hush needed here. So dark and so intense but also with incredible beauty in its restraint. Silky even with so many layers of tannin. pH 3.65 – quite a miracle in 2018. So dry but so not drying. The freshness from both the pH and the tannins. So fine, it just slides across the palate even if the tannin level is high. A wine of great power and restraint, and tannic finesse. Opens to a tiny note of wild herbs even though it is perfectly ripe, more aromatic as it opens. (JH) 14.49%
|Score: 18.5||Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2019|
Very deep and opaque in colour. The nose is toasty and spicy, with cloves, nutmeg and cassis. The palate is heady and rich on entry with inky black fruit and monolithic, firm tannins. Full of spice, there are notes of roasted coffee bean, star anise and clove to complement the blackcurrant fruit. This is impressively rich but very dense in tannin at this stage. A long finish promises more to come, but this is another Leoville Las Cases that will require significant cellaring before reaching its peak.
|Score: 17+||Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, April 2019|
A candidate for the wine of the vintage is the 2018 Léoville Las Cases. My notes on this incredible wine are laced with expletives that I, unfortunately, can’t repeat here. Safe to say, however, it’s one of the greatest young Bordeaux I’ve been lucky enough to taste. Based on a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc, from yields of 35.5 hectoliters per hectare, that will spend 19 months in barrel, it offers a massive bouquet of crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, crushed violets, tobacco, and a liquid rock-like minerality. Pure magic on the palate as well, with full-bodied richness, building structure, and a seamless, weightless, yet powerful mouthfeel, it has everything you could want from a wine. It has the purity and balance to drink well in 7-8 years (I wouldn’t hold it against you if couldn’t wait that long) and will keep for 50 years or more. For the tech geeks out there, this hit 14.49% alcohol, 3.65 pH, and an IPT of 80.
|Score: 98/100||Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, May 2019|
This is backward and dense, with thickly layered plum, blackberry, fig and blueberry reduction flavors wrapped liberally in warm ganache and melted licorice notes. A long echo of smoldering charcoal emerges at the very end. There's a lot to resolve here as the rich and austere sides are still melding, but the extra amplitude doesn't distort anything; it just all goes to 11.
|Score: 97/100||James Molesworth, Wine Spectator, March 2019|
(80 Cabernet Sauvignon, 11 Cabernet Franc, 9 Merlot) | 90% new oak | 14.49% alc | 80 IPT Las Cases manages, yet again, to make one of the most composed and complete wines of the year. Following on from a sensational nose, a super-complex initial burst of fruit hits the palate and it left me reeling, while I desperately tried to compute what was going on. There is a coolness here which balances the exuberance on the palate and it is magical. In complete contrast to Ducru, this is a Zen-like wine with very fine length and serious definition. On the face of it the blend, the alcohol and oak look very similar to that of Ducru’s but the flavour is the antithesis and I adore the fact that two great estates have made such exquisite but contrasting wines in this vintage. Already very complex, there is every sign that this will turn out to be one of the truly great vintages for Las Cases. I know that this is a relatively forward style of wine for this venerable Château but I would still bet that patience rewards those who wait. There is so much depth and harmony in this wine it would be a shame to drink it before every nook and cranny can be fully explored.
|Score: 19.5+||Matthew Jukes, MatthewJukes.com, April 2019|