1975 and 1966 Léoville Las Cases at lunch

I can remember a time when Léoville Las Cases was hell-bent on bursting from its “super-second” status to attain virtual, if not official, first growth status. And the price hikes were there to prove it. However, this was not to be. Was/is this due to the wine’s intrinsic quality, or rather a deep-seated conservatism with regard to the 1855 classification?

I’ve not had an aged Las Cases up against up, let’s say a Latour from the same vintage, but I am sorely tempted to do so in the near future. If so, I’ll let you know J.

Be this as it may, Léoville Las Cases is unquestionably one of the finest wines of the Médoc. This was confirmed at a friend’s house yesterday. He served the 1966 and 1975 vintages blind at lunch (there are curfews here, so dinner is out of the question). I was off by twenty years for the former, which was served first because my host felt that it is better to go from lighter and/or less tannic to heavier and/or more tannic rather than in the more orthodox reverse chronological order.
I don’t take notes at table, but I recall a wine whose color was more youthful than its 55 years, and a still fresh nose of ethereal blackcurrant and graphite. The wine was also quite vital on the palate, with thoroughly resolved tannin and a soft elegance having little to do with the château’s more muscular style in certain years. The aftertaste was deliciously long and refreshing, exhibiting pure class.

The 1975 was more in that muscular mold and there was still something slightly unforgiving about it, which has often said of the vintage. There was also a touch of TCA, but not enough to ruin the wine by any means. I think that even if there hadn’t been any, it still wouldn’t have been a match for the 1966. You could definitely appreciate this lovely old claret, but on this day the 1966 won our hearts, and it is always comforting when the stalwarts prove that they are up to their reputation.