The 2021 Clos du Marquis was picked from September 24 to October 9 and matured in 50% new oak. There was just a little coulure affecting the Merlot this year. This has quite a tight nose that demands more coaxing from the glass than its peers, the blackberry, mint, juniper and pencil box aromas emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly chalky tannins on the entry, and curiously Pauillac-like in style thanks to the graphite seam that runs from start to finish. Shorter than the 2019 or 2020 (as expected) but quite serious and deserving of some time in a cool, dank cellar. (13.46% alcohol)
Drink 2026 - 2046
Neal Martin, vinous.com, (May 2022)
A big step up from La Petite Marquise, with a lovely sappy character, raspberry and red cherry fruits, attractive texture, 50% new oak. 34hl/h yield, 4% press wine.
Drink 2024 - 2032
Jane Anson, janeanson.com (May 2022)
The 2021 Clos du Marquis is a lovely wine, offering up aromas of cherries, burning embers, dark berries, loamy soil and truffle, followed by a medium to full-bodied, layered and velvety wine that's rather deep and serious, reflecting low yields of 30 hectoliters per hectare and a blend dominated by 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 19% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Franc in supporting roles. Lest anyone underestimate it on the strength of the challenging vintage alone, by the numbers it contains a higher concentration of polyphenols than either the 2019 or 2020 vintages. Tasted three times.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (Apr 2022)
Marked Cabernet nose. Upright and earnest with firm but fine tannins, persistency and grip. St-Julien fruit less expressive but fresh and with energy and drive. A serious wine.
Drink 2027 - 2038
James Lawther, jancisrobinson.com (May 2022)
This is very inky with lots of tar and iodine. Blackcurrants, too. Full-bodied. Very muscular for the vintage. Needs time to soften.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (May 2022)
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.