The 2005 Clos du Marquis is in a very attractive place today. Time has softened the tannins nicely, allowing the wine's radiant personality to really shine. Sweet tobacco, cedar, mint, dried flowers and dried cherry are all laced together in this expressive Saint-Julien. There is a bit of rusticity here, but all the elements are well balanced just the same.
Drink 2021 - 2030
Antonio Galloni, Vinous (April 2021)
88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc.
Ferrous and mineral on the nose, with fruit that seems decidedly staid on the palate. Lots of deposit too, incidentally. It's a good second wine, which shouldn't be hugely expensive, but probably is. Sigh.
Richard Hemming MW, JancisRobinson.com (September 2017)
The Clos du Marquis 2005 is evolving into a little beauty. It has an opulent, downright sexy bouquet with macerated dark cherries, briary, mint interlaced with candied orange peel that is beautifully defined. The palate is medium-bodied with sturdy tannin cloaked in spicy red fruit, hints of red peppercorns and graphite infusing the finish that fans out gloriously. Yet everything remains tightly controlled thanks to the tight rein on acidity. Cannot afford Léoville Las-Cases? Then you know where to come.
Drink 2017 - 2035
Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (February 2015)
Musty and mushroomy, with red fruit chasers on the nose and palate. Round and fruity, but still needs three years. Pull the cork in 2013.
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2012)
The superb second wine, the 2005 Clos du Marquis, reflects the utter brilliance of the 2005 grand vin. It boasts an inky/ruby/purple color along with a sweet perfume of lead pencil, ripe cherries and black currants, and hints of earth and vanillin. Dense, chewy, fleshy, and full-bodied, this beauty will be drinkable in 3-4 years, and should keep for 15-20.
Drink 2011 - 2028
Robert M. Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate (April 2008)
The 2005 Clos du Marquis is a rich, concentrated beauty that has ample ripe red and black fruits intermixed with notes of tobacco, scorched earth, and graphite. Rich, concentrated, and powerful, with terrific depth of fruit, it's showing some evolution and maturity today and is drinking spectacularly well, yet it has another 15 years of longevity.
Drink 2019 - 2034
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (June 2019)
About this WINE
Chateau Leoville Las Cases
Château Léoville Las Cases is one of the largest and oldest classified growths in the Médoc. It is the largest of the 3 Léoville properties and now without doubt the leading estate in St-Julien.
Léoville Las Cases's 97 hectares of vineyards are superbly sited on gravelly-clay soils with the largest plot being surrounded by a stone wall and stretching between the village of St-Julien and Château Latour. The wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon dominated blend (65%), and is matured in oak barriques (70-80% new) for 18 months.
Léoville Las Cases produces arguably the most exotically perfumed wine in the Médoc and this can be partially attributed to the must being fermented at lower than average temperatures, which leads to its youthful aromatic richness being retained. On the palate it is powerful and concentrated and marvellously well-balanced.
Léoville Las Cases is a 2ème Cru Classé in name but produces 1er Cru Classé quality wines.
St Julien is the smallest of the "Big Four" Médoc communes. Although, without any First Growths, St Julien is recognised to be the most consistent of the main communes, with several châteaux turning out impressive wines year after year.
St Julien itself is much more of a village than Pauillac and almost all of the notable properties lie to its south. Its most northerly château is Ch. Léoville Las Cases (whose vineyards actually adjoin those of Latour in Pauillac) but, further south, suitable vineyard land gives way to arable farming and livestock until the Margaux appellation is reached.
The soil is gravelly and finer than that of Pauillac, and without the iron content which gives Pauillac its stature. The homogeneous soils in the vineyards (which extend over a relatively small area of just over 700 hectares) give the commune a unified character.
The wines can be assessed as much by texture as flavour, and there is a sleek, wholesome character to the best. Elegance, harmony and perfect balance and weight, with hints of cassis and cedar, are what epitomise classic St Julien wines. At their very best they combine Margaux’s elegance and refinement with Pauillac’s power and substance.
Ch. Léoville Las Cases produces arguably the most sought-after St Julien, and in any reassessment of the 1855 Classification it would almost certainly warrant being elevated to First Growth status.
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.