Thursday, August 19, 2021

Le Petit Lion de Marquis de Las Cases

Le Petit Lion de Marquis de Las Cases, St-Julien 2018

Continuing our anniversary celebration week, as preparations continue for son Alec's gala Covid delayed wedding celebration, we took BYOB and dined with Alec at Angelis' Italian, our neighborhood trattoria. I pulled from the cellar this current release label that we discovered and tasted during our visit to the magnificent Chateau and estate in St Julian-Beychevelle Bordeaux two years ago this month. At that time, this 2018 release was aging in barrel.

As a second label crafted from younger vines on the estate, this is aptly name Petit Lion de Marquis de Las Cases, the younger, baby wine of the Grand Vin. While being a second wine, it has that profile of the 'super second' first label, but is available at a fraction of the price. 

When I picked up this label last week at Binny's, the Chicagoland wine and beverage superstore, I also picked the remainder of the labels of each of the six St Julien producers that we visited during our visit to the appellation. 

A highlight of our wedding celebration festivities has been and will be tasting the 1990 birthyear vintage release of select wines including the flagship grand vin Château Léoville Las Cases.  We also served that label from large format bottles from the birthyears of our other kid's at some of their wedding festivities.

Le Petit Lion de Marquis de Las Cases, St-Julien 2018 

This is one of those labels that provides the experience of the Grand Vin in years of a top vintage where 'all boats rise with the tide', as the saying goes, without paying the ultra-premium price. The Binny's price for the two labels is $69 and $285 respectively. It has the aging potential to be cellared for 25-30 years. Wine critic Jeb Dunnuck writes, "It’s a match for just about every other estate’s top wine out there." 

The 2018 Le Petit Lion is blended of 45% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Cabernet Franc.The wine was aged in barriques, 30% new and finished in new barrels for the last year.  

This certainly met my high expectations for the brand in a super vintage year such as 2018. 

This was awarded 93-95 points by Jeb Dunnuck, 94 points by James Suckling, 92-94 points by  Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 93 points Decanter, and 17.5/20 points by Jancis Robinson.

Deep garnet-purple colored, full-bodied, intense concentrated but refined, nicely balanced and elegant, expressive blackberry fruits with notes of tobacco leaf, pencil lead, charcoal and slate, with firm, multi-layered tannins on a long opulent finish. 

92 points, give this three to five years to integrate and settle for optimal drinking.