Chateau Leoville las Cases 2005 (Grand Vin de Leoville du Marquis de Las Cases)

Leoville las casesI have had the pleasure of tasting obscenely expensive wines at the compliments of Le Clos a couple of times recently. This occasion was tasty line-up that also included some quite obscure and rare wines, neatly wrapped like a little Christmas present at a festive degustation at Cave at the Conrad. And like a femme fatale, luring me in, this particular red was the one I came for.

Some background: Wine Specator gave it 100/100. Robert Parker gave it 98, and James Suckling 99. Decanter gave it 19/20, and Le Guide Hachette des Vins a 3 star, Vin Exceptionnel (highest rating). It’s touted to be the best wine made at this Deuxieme Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux estate since 1996. Quite a pedigree, non?

For those who need a little rundown on Bordeaux, and specifically, Haut-Medoc red wines, Here’s the basics. This is a Cabernet blend from one of the four big districts (Saint-Julien, with Margaux, Saint-Estephe and Pauillac making up the others. There are two other districts – Moulis and Listrac – but they are often forgotten as they contain no classed growth-or “cru”- wines), which is known for wines of elegance, ageworthy, yes, but always approachable and mouthfilling. There are no Premier Grand Cru Classe wines in Saint-Julien (e.g. labels like Chateau Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild), but this probably is the most esteemed of the second (or deuxieme) growth wines in the district. It never sells for less than around $150 a bottle, even in the worst vintages.

You can see what they are all raving about – it really does have a mammoth nose. A little brett but in a lovely way – all marzipan and earth, and not dominating in the slightest. Deep blackberry fruit and other briar-patch characters and a little gravy. Front palate is very closed. Mocha creeps in later with apple peel and herbs. Lovely spicy oak and tobacco lick along the finish. It’s a little disappointing right now, with that lack of punchy front-fruit, but I expect it will open as it develops. At this stage it’s way to young, hence my inability to mark it higher. Does not mean I’ll never mark it 20/20 though…

A round-up of other recent Bordeaux wines tasted here.

17.5/20
Drink in 5 years +
1500AED (Le Clos, available Duty free at the airport, or at Al Hamra the cellar, RAK)

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