Clearly of classified growth quality, Lalande-Borie is produced by the winemaking team of "super second" Château Ducru Beaucaillou. Initially purchased to be incorporated into Ducru, its supple, graceful style was just too good to not warrant its own voice. The 2008 Lalande-Borie is deliciously perfumed with notes of wild violets, rose, red berry and a hint of Provençal herbs; on the palate, though not immense or intense, the flavors are nevertheless strikingly lush, deep, and refined. 14 months of aging in French oak barrels (1/3 new) provides a finishing polish of toasty vanilla oak.
When we tasted the 2009 Langoa Barton with Lilian Barton at her office in St. Julien, we were expecting a well-made, delicious wine, but we couldn't have been more impressed! A blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc, it was deep purple in the glass with aromas of blueberries, blackberries and a hint of vanilla and pepper. Although it had one of the highest tannin levels in the history of the estate, they were smooth and well-integrated already. It is one of the best Langoa's we've ever tasted from barrel.
Not surprisingly, this wine is closed, masculine, but super-rich, with a denser, more complete and full-bodied style than its sibling, Langoa Barton. Some toasty vanillin is apparent in the black currant aromas intermixed with tobacco leaf, cedar, and spice box. The wine is full-bodied and has a boatload of tannin, not unusual for this estate, as well as an impressively pure, long finish. Everything is here, but this wine, made with uncompromising vision, is meant to be cellared for an exceptionally long period of time. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2035. 91+
"splendid showing, much stronger from bottle than it was from barrel, the Leoville Barton is one of the spectacular wines of the vintage. Inky purple to the rim, its huge tannin gives this wine real potential for 30-50 years of longevity. It is a classic, powerful Bordeaux made with no compromise. A superstar of the vintage, the wine has notes of pen ink and creme de cassis, good acidity, sweet, subtle oak, and massive extraction and concentration. I thought it was one of the most backward wines of the vintage two years ago, and nothing has changed in the ensuing upbringing of the wine in cask except that the wine now seems even richer, denser and fuller than I previously thought. The beautiful purity, symmetry, and huge finish of nearly a minute make this one of the all-time great classics from Leoville Barton. Anticipated maturity: 2028-2065+.
The solidly made 2003 Leoville Las-Cases (13.2% alcohol) is a blend of 70.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17.2% Merlot, and 12.6% Cabernet Franc. In this incredibly hot vintage, the alcohol is slightly lower than achieved in 2002, a cool-climate year. While not a profound example of Las-Cases, the 2003 is muscular, deep, and full-bodied with an impressive ruby/purple color, a tight but juicy bouquet of vanilla, black cherries, crushed rocks, and flowers, a sweet attack, and moderately high tannin. Backward and fresh, displaying impeccable delineation and purity, it can be enjoyed between 2012-2023. 93+