Domaines Delon: Recent Cellar Releases 


There is a growing trend for châteaux to keep a proportion of their stock for late releases, the two most notable being Palmer and Léoville Las-Cases. I recently tasted vintages of 2011 from Jean-Hubert Delon’s stable. This butter-fingers dropped his bottle of 2011 Potensac on his doorstep, which still has a faint whiff of the Médoc. Fortunately, Antonio tasted this in the United States and so his review is included here.

The 2011 Potensac is a burly, hearty Médoc for the dinner table. All things considered, the 2011 has aged pretty well, with just the first signs of tertiary nuance starting to appear. Leather, smoke, tobacco, dried herbs and plum all develop with aeration. Those big, rustic 2011 tannins are pretty impossible to look past, though. I would prefer to drink the 2011 sooner rather than later. 88/Drink 2021-2028.

The 2011 Nénin has a loose-knit bouquet, almost Burgundy-like in style, with brambly red fruit (raspberry and crushed strawberry) plus a touch of sous-bois. The palate is quite sharp and a little rustic, particularly if you compare it to more superior, recent vintages. Slightly bitter on the finish, this Pomerol should be drunk in the near future. 86/Drink 2021-2025. The 2011 Clos du Marquis has plenty of fruit on the nose: raspberry, cranberry and pomegranate, sous-bois mixed with cigar humidor and wild mint scents that emerge with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with a fine sappy entry and cohesive with a fine bead of acidity. This is not a deep, fleshy nor fruit-driven Clos du Marquis, but it is finely proportioned with a lovely saline finish. Drink now and over the next 6-8 years. 91/Drink 2021-2030.

The 2011 Léoville Las-Cases is a vintage that I have only tasted twice since bottling. Now, at 10-years old, it has an exquisite bouquet with pure blackberry, tobacco, cedar and sandalwood aromas that gently billow from the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and just a touch of bitterness on the entry with a slight lactic note towards the finish where it just misses a bit of complexity. Quite dry and austere compared to other vintages. Examining this over several hours, I feel that the aromatics have more to offer than the palate, but it remains a rather "upstanding" Saint-Julien, even if not a "top-drawer" Léoville Las-Cases. 92/Drink 2021-2036. The 2007 Léoville Las-Cases is a vintage that I have not encountered for a couple of years. It has a tobacco-driven bouquet with the dried blood elements that I remarked upon in my previous tasting note. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy red berry fruit, perhaps with less of the tobacco influence that I noticed before, harmonious with a fine bead of acidity. Now à point, this is a lovely Saint-Julien, quite mellow for this estate with a tingle of pepper on the aftertaste. Readers are advised to give this a 3 to 4-hour decant. 93/Drink 2021-2032.