2022 Château Léoville Las Cases, St Julien, Bordeaux
The 2022 Léoville Las-Cases was picked 8-30 September with more infusion than extraction, matured in 84% new oak. Precocious, almost decadent blackberry and blueberry fruit on the nose, there is something lavish and audacious about this Saint-Julien. There is an underlying estuarine element, a whiff off the banks of the Gironde.
The palate is medium-bodied with polished tannins, very detailed, extremely pure, and what you might call a “vertical” Las-Cases with a fabulous precision on the finish. This surpasses the 2018-2020 trio, and to use that clichéd expression is a “tour de force”.
Drink 2032 - 2080
Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2023)
The 2022 Léoville Las Cases is stunning. Fine-grained and nuanced, the 2022 Las Cases is breathtaking. Red/purplish fruit, rose petals, lavender, spice and mocha open gradually, but what impresses most about the 2022 is its sublime finesse. Silky, plush and exceptionally beautiful, the 2022 Las Cases is shaping up to be one of the wines of the year.
Drink 2030 - 2052
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2023)
Heading to Léoville Las Cases in a super ripe year is always a good idea, as a riper mouthfeel balances the muscular tannins. As quietly confident as you would expect, this is packed with depth and intensity, taking the 2022 vintage and reshaping it in the character of this St Julien powerhouse.
Graphite, crushed rocks, liquorice root, cassis, blueberry, slate, saffran, and smoked earth, all held in by tannins with grip and length. 3.8ph, and high alcohols for this estate, giving a seductive mouthfeel unusual in young Las Cases. 84% new oak, 37hl/h yield. Harvest September 8 to 30.
Drink 2032 - 2050
Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (May 2023)
One of the wines of the vintage this year is the 2022 Léoville Las Cases, a monument in the making that combines unerring classicism with unusual sensuality and charm by the standards of this estate’s sometimes youthfully forbidding wines.
Exhibiting deep aromas of dark berries, violets, pencil lead, rose petals and tobacco leaf, it’s full-bodied, deep and multidimensional, with terrific concentration, beautiful purity of fruit, abundant but refined tannins and a long, vibrant finish. On several occasions that I tasted it, the 2022 was surprisingly open for a young Las Cases, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were to shut down after a few years in bottle.
It’s a blend of 83.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10.5% Cabernet Franc and 6% Merlot.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2023)
83.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10.5% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot. Cask sample.
Deep crimson colour. Complex, powerful and refined with blackcurrant, violet, spice and cedar notes. Juicy and dense with layered fruit and tannins. Big structure, but the tannins are almost hidden. Picks up the pace on the finish. Long. One of the top wines this year.
Drink 2032 - 2055
James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (May 2023)
This shows no gravity. The tannins are totally melted in the wine and give it a fantastic structure, but the texture is so fresh and vivid. Crushed stone. Cloves. Chinese spices. Great finish. Opening and flying away. Orange peel. Very special. Thought-provoking. Endless.
83.5% cabernet sauvignon, 10.5% cabernet franc and 6% merlot.
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2023)
A luminous and utterly brilliant wine in 2022 that really sets itself apart. Hints of black bramble fruit, spicy peppercorns, violets, sweet cherries, crushed stones, ink and cocoa powder on the nose - all so very appealing. Tension and direction from the get-go, this is sleek and slick, dense but such alluring coolness, with crushed stones and blueberries giving minerality as well as juicy acidity providing lift.
It’s not out to shine right now, but there’s such confidence on show. Direct, slowly expanding effortlessly as it goes from start to finish, elongating the fine tannic structure that supports but doesn’t overwhelm. So poised and refined, charming in a dark, utterly seductive way. Firm but fruity, cool and calm, coming in waves.
One of the wines of the vintage with striking power but delivered so perfectly with everything in balance. 3.80pH. 85 IPT. A yield of 36-37hl/ha.
Drink 2030 - 2050
Georgina Hindle, Decanter.com (April 2023)
Looking at the Grand Vin 2022 Château Léoville Las Cases, it has an almost Pauillac-like style in its ripe, powerful aromatics of graphite, lead pencil shavings, cassis, and liquid rock-like minerality.
Full-bodied, massively concentrated, and powerful on the palate, it nevertheless stays flawlessly balanced, has just about off-the-charts purity, ripe yet building tannins, and a great finish.
This will clearly rank with the truly greats from this address and reminds me slightly of a mix of the 2016 and 2018. It is not, however, going to be for those looking for instant gratification.
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2023)
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.