Chateau Leoville Las Cases has one of the longest histories in the Medoc and was the property of some of the most notable and wealthiest inhabitants of France. The final royal family to own the estate is where the chateau draws its name from, the Las Cases family.
But the history of what we know of as Chateau Leoville Las Cases does not begin there. We need to go back to 1638 when Jean de Moytie, a member of the Bordeaux Parliament owned a vineyard.
Moytie called it “Mont-Moytie. Mont-Moytie was one of the first chateaux in the Medoc to produce wine along with Chateau Margaux and La Tour de Saint-Lambert, which we know of today as Chateau Latour.
The Domaine remained in the same family for almost 100 years. Through marriage, the estate ended up as part of the de Gascq family. Alexandre de Gascq renamed Mont-Moytie Leoville or Lionville.
The massive Leoville estate in Saint Julien was at the forefront of vineyard management at the time. Some of their ideas seemed odd at the time, but today they are still widely in use.
They changed the varieties in the vineyards to smaller berries. They trellised the rows with pinewood. They began aging the wine in oak barrels, which they kept clean using a sulfur solution.
While we take this for granted today, in those days, they were wild ideas! By the time Alexandre de Gascq died, with his steady purchasing of Bordeaux vineyard land, Leoville was one of the biggest vineyards in Bordeaux at more than 300 hectares!
Following the French Revolution, a portion of the gigantic Leoville estate was sold. Those Saint Julien vineyards became Leoville Barton.
To modern times Chateau Leoville Las Cases has remained a family-owned vineyard. Michel Delon managed the estate from 1976, through 2000. It was under the direction of Michel Delon that Leoville Las Cases rebounded and once again started producing wines worthy of its pedigree.