One of the oldest Medoc estates, Domaine de Léoville belonged to some of the wealthiest and most influential noble French families before it was acquired by the Las Cases family. The estate was split up between 1826 and 1840 as a result of the French Revolution and the subsequent expropriation of emigrants’ property and constitution of egalitarian redistribution. Château Léoville Las Cases was created, thanks to a kind of birthright, from 3/5 of the original estate and the heart of the domaine. The Grand Vin’s current terroir has therefore been at the historic heart of the original terroir since the 17th century. Pierre Jean, Adolphe and Gabriel de Las Cases were successive heirs to the property until 1900, when Théophile Skawinski purchased a share in the estate and became its manager. Léoville Las Cases has now been managed by the same family since the late 19th century and is today represented by Jean-Hubert Delon, sole owner of the Château and proprietor of Château Potensac in the Medoc and Château Nénin in Pomerol. The Clos encases a terroir of very great complexity. It is mainly composed of Quaternary gravel (“graves”) over gravelly sand and gravelly clay subsoils. There are also clays which are variably deep and compact, but which sometimes break through to the surface. The proximity of the Gironde River has created the wide diversity of soils, formed over various geological periods by successive superimpositions. The river also creates a special microclimate that enables very early ripening of the grapes and protects the vineyards from frost. This cameo of geological combinations influences the growth of the vine and the composition of the grapes: regular but restricted water supply and a very low intake of nutrients bring out the best in the great Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet Francs which usually achieve their full potential whatever the vintage. The incomparable terroir gives this great wine its unique personality. The surface area of the vineyard is 98 ha and the average age of vines 40 years; they are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon 66% / Merlot 24% / Cabernet Franc 9% / Petit Verdot 1%.
Image of Jean Hubert Delon taken by Tim Atkin.