Thirty-five years on tasting.
Luminous garnet with a tawny sheen, impressive color amplitude up to the rim. A grand père on the nose, aristocratic, endlessly suggestive: spicy red and black fruit, cedar, grilled almond, fennel, aztec mocha, rust, pencil lead, tabac blond. A top-drawer toastiness. Barb says, “like my grandfather’s pipe .. and the smoking jacket too”. Sweetly savory and finely calibrated on the palate, of medium-full texture and concentration: a consommé of forest-y black currant, damson, loganberry. Barb says “green pepper .. the serious and dangerous kind .. poblano”.
None of the opacity of this wine in its youth. A generosity and now readable as St.-Julien, with the surrender of its once obsidian backbone and now melted tannin structure. An earthy minerality. For us, a claret that needs a quarter century to reveal itself. Antediluvian. And the first name when asked to describe ‘vin du garde‘. A great ’78.
As there are no great wines at this age, only great bottles, we have to recommend ‘drink soon’. But if your ’78 Château Léoville-Las-Cases was bought on release and of perfect provenance and storage these will have interest at age fifty.