This tasting consisted of each of the varietal components of Las Cases, followed by the final blend for Leoville-Las Cases. The 1981 cuvees of Merlot and Cabernet Franc were light, with the Merlot revealing a mature garnet color, a lean, compact, faded tea-scented nose, unimpressive richness, and hard tannin in the finish. Even less impressive, the Cabernet Franc's hard, tough tannin and high acidity gave the wine a lean, attenuated feel. The Cabernet Sauvignon possessed a healthy dark ruby color, a sweet, ripe nose of black currants and spice, medium body, fine elegance, and a clean, spicy finish.
The 1981 Leoville-Las Cases appears close to full maturity, with an excellent deep ruby color, a spicy, cedary, tobacco and currant-scented nose, and good depth and ripeness. A classic, elegantly wrought wine, this is one vintage where the final blend was more complex, but no better than the Cabernet Sauvignon cuvee.
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #101 (October 1995), 89pts