Léoville Las Cases, Château

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Léoville Las Cases, Château, the flagship wine of st-julien and one run as though it were a first growth (down to the pricing policy) by Jean-Hubert Delon. It was perhaps the most obvious candidate as a super second but challengers proliferate.

The biggest of the three parts into which the extensive original Léoville estate was divided after the French Revolution was awarded to the original owners, the Abbadie-Léoville family, represented by the Marquis de Las Cases. From 1900 it was run by Théophile Swawinski, a distinguished Médoc viticulturist who also administered Ch Pontet-Canet for the cruse family. From him it passed to his son-in-law André Delon, grandfather of Michel Delon, Jean-Hubert’s late father, who with his father Paul acquired majority ownership of the property in 1930. In 1994 the Delons succeeded in buying out the remaining minority shareholders, descendants of the Las Cases family. Unlike the barton family, who acquired the pretty Ch Langoa at the same time as the Léoville-Barton vineyards, the Delons have no magnificent château building, but, perhaps more importantly for them and for the world’s wine drinkers, the Las Cases vineyard is made up substantially of one, well-placed contiguous plot rather than the more intertwined parcels of Léoville-Barton and Léoville-Poyferré (also second growths).