Tasted at the domaine, the 1982 Leoville Las Cases is just about pure perfection, and while certainly mature, it has plenty of life ahead of it. Thrilling notes of blackcurrants, kirsch, tobacco leaf, cedar box, menthol, and exotic spices all emerge from this seamless, powerful yet magically elegant Leoville Las Cases. Opening up in the glass, with a smoky, singular character, it's an incredible wine from this terroir that has an almost Latour-like regal quality. It should continue drinking well for another 10-15 years and I'm sure will keep even longer.
It's impossible, I know, to believe that a St-Julien might not be perfectly ready to drink at this ripe old age, but here we are, face to face with the conundrum that is Léoville Las Cases. You'll be happy to hear I had the 1981 Léoville recently and it was actually open, soft and ready to go. This 1982 is still a little stubborn on first opening, but gets better and better in the glass, with sweet brambly ripe fruits, and rippling tannins that are almost honeyed at this stage. Classic, dense, mineral minty touches on the finish, great persistency and a way still ahead of it. Michel Delon, father of today's owner, was in charge at this point (and until 2000) and the cellar master Bruno Rolland remembers that they were working in shorts at night in the vat house because even after harvest the temperature was not dropping below 20 degrees at night. They were the first estate in St Julien to start harvesting in 1982 by the way, on September 13. Petit Verdot 5% finishes the blend. (JA)
I have had perfect bottles of this cuvée, but, perplexingly, the bottles from my cellar tend to be broodingly backward and require plenty of coaxing. This huge wine is, in many ways, just as massive as Léoville Barton, but it possesses a greater degree of elegance as well as unreal concentration. Classic lead pencil, cassis, kirsch, cedar, and spice characteristics are abundant in both the nose and full-bodied flavors. The tannins are still there, and, at least from my cellar, this 1982 does not appear to have changed much in the last 10-12 years. One wonders how much patience admirers of this brilliant St.-Julien will continue to exhibit. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2050. (RP) 95+
Full medium ruby. Aromas of currant, black cherry, licorice, minerals and flowers. Thick, sweet and deep; still young but in a gentler, lower-acid style than either the '86 or '96. Still, this boasts sneaky intensity and wonderful persistence. Tannins are substantial but thoroughly ripe. Drink 2004 through 2025. (ST)
A racy, classy, silky wine. Inky-ruby color. Black cherry, mineral and wet earth aromas. Medium-bodied, with very silky tannins and a long, superfine finish. Has always been excellent. (JS)
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