Ornellaia and Léoville Las Cases

With great expectations I went along to my second Icon wine tasting at Enowine last night.

The wines are labeled “icons”, as they are revered around the wine world and their prices reflect this – commanding between €89 and €115 a bottle.

But are they worth it?

If I were sitting as a panelist on RTÉ’s Questions & Answers (representing the Wine Party, of course) and John Bowman had asked me if they were worth it, I’d respond with a very Mary-Louesque answer.

Something along the lines of, “John, the question shouldn’t be actually if these wines are worth it, but if they are actually any good”. Besides, if you’re going to buy this stuff, that kind of a question is probably irrelevant.

Stonyridge and Dominus

Ornellaia 1999 (Bolgheri, Tuscany) – €115

A very rich perfumed nose, predominantly damsons with a little mintyness going on in there too. In the gob, high acid, dark fruits, fantastic balance and a great length.

Château Léoville Las Cases 2001 (St. Julien) – €105

As with the Ornellaia, a very rich nose, this time with a lot of vanilla and toast. A little bit of a tar and leather going on in there as well. Smells like a fresh bloody steak, just before you put it on the pan. Again, very high acid and a nice long length.

Stonyridge 2003 (Waiheke, New Zealand) – €89

More feminine on the nose than the above two. On tasting, very approachable, nice balance with fresh acidity and much redder fruits (raspberries or cranberries) than the pair above.

Dominus 2001 (Napa Valley, USA) – €85

Didn’t seem as “expressive” in smell than the previous three and also a little unbalanced in comparison to the above. What I mean by this is that the tannins stood out and there was a definite dusty, earthy component to it.

Overall thoughts

My favourite of the night was probably the Ornellaia, closely followed by the Léoville Las Cases. The other two were extremely good, but at that price I would have expected more.

That said, for comparison purposes, I also tried a Chevalier de Lascombes from Margaux, €26 and a Cortigiano Fattoria Lavacchio (Tuscan “IGT”), €26. Both really nice, relatively pricey but no where near the “Icons” which is kind of depressing.

The blockbuster wines are written about, scored highly by wine writers and in much demand for one reason. They are bloody good.

Overall, a fantastic tasting, made even better with Hakån & Elodie on hand to answer any questions and talk us through their thoughts on the wine.

Thirsty for more?

Will over at Irish Wine Contemplations pipped me to the post with his detailed write-up. Embarrassingly, I didn’t introduce myself to Will at Enowine. Next time?