Horses for Courses: 1985 Leoville Las Cases

There’s an expression in handicapping thoroughbred racing – “horses for courses.” Meaning that certain horses relish certain tracks, such as front runners liking the conditions at, say, Del Mar.

That came to mind last night as I brought a 1985 Leoville Las Cases to accompany a tradtional rib roast dinner with my wife for our 29th wedding anniversary.

I drink a bottle of Bordeaux maybe two times a year. This meal seemed like the perfect setting for this Burg nut’s semi-annual walk on the wild side. The right horse for the right course.

My main takeaway was how freakin’ young this wine presented for a 37-year-old wine. The cork was soaked through completely, which had me worried slightly. But this sang right out of the bottle and only got better with a few hours of air in the decanter. Gorgeous color with no browning whatsoever.

Nose a bit shy but there’s that gravel/cigar box note that I dig in this Pauillac adjacent producer. I’m not great with Bordeaux descriptors but there’s just something elegant, stately and slightly stern about this wine. It’s so composed and “quiet,” if that makes sense. Tannins totally melted into the wine, leaving a velvety texture and soft, lingering finish. Deep plummy fruit that still shimmers. Class in a glass.

It just works so well in that English gentlemen’s club kinda way (sorry for gendered reference but you get idea). A proper claret for a proper Sunday dinner out with the missus.


Was trying to post a drooling emoji but didn’t work out…

Great to see this note as I have been thinking about buying a case of LLC 85.

It is a very good wine, drinking at its peak today. The 90 and 96 are even better, if you ever see a bottle.

Awesome post, love the metaphor!

LLC ages glacially!

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post deleted, posted on wrong thread in error

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Rib roast, mashed potatoes, and creamed spinach seems like a very traditional meal. Was looking at LLC 1985 this weekend, may have to do it.

Nice note.


Whoa, now that is how you do a popover! Rib roast no slouch either. Oh yeah, the wine too :sweat_smile:

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Yorkshire pudding, technically.

Yes, it’s Lawry’s. Bit touristy but old school LA spot.


I bought a case of 85 LLC, my son’s birth year.

Great wine, but no point in waiting any more for it

I’d say it’s past peak, but certainly worthwhile.


LLC 85 is classic and certainly (one of the) wines of the vintage in Bordeaux … and still in a great spot if stored perfectly …
however the TCA-rate is dangerously high … a friend of mine had a case with 6 corked and 5 fine bottles (and sold the last one :grin: eventually)

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I’m a big fan, too, Gerhard!

Only past peak if your cellar is too warm, to my palate. 1985 Clos du Marquis is excellent too, in fact I’m tempted to open one tonight now

I have very fond memories of a 1985 Chateau Canon consumed in a Las Vegas steakhouse.

85 has always seemed an easy vintage for the non Bordeaux aficionado to enjoy.

William, my cellar (natural underground) is from 8° C. to 12°C. (46-54° F) … and my remaining 2 bts. of LLC 85 are both base of neck … just checked it, so hopes are still intact (provided TCA).
Clos du Marquis 85 was my 1st purchase of a Delon-wine, but it´s long gone … the 1990 ist still fine …

Great post, great wine. Just bought a library release case of the 2001 Las Cases that I’m hoping will provide a similar level of enjoyment over time.


I had an (original release) bottle last week, still very youthful but can be approached with pleasure. Not at all far off the level of the 2000, though I do think LLC is one estate where the 2000 is actually better than the 2001, which isn’t always the case in Bordeaux.

For information, I have an underground cellar and the wine never left Bordeaux.
Fir those who think the wine hasn’t reached its peak, I’d say this is probably more a question if how you like your Bordeaux. I lile it best when, yes, there’s tertiary complexity, but also sufficient fruit.

I have some 1985 LLC from magnum a few years ago and thought it was magnificent. I was happy with the way it was drinking then.

I’ve probably eaten at Lawry’s 2 dozen times. Was my grandmother’s favorite restaurant. Those prime rib carts and the spinning salad! Just to keep from drifting too far, I have one 750 and three 375s of '96 LLC. Any recent experience?