|Classification||3ème Cru Classé|
First impression is of tremendous purity of fruit. Cool, fresh, palate-coating, so close-textured and even - really lovely. No dip at all as it crosses the palate, rich all the way through. "We've tried to bring a bit of extra finesse and elegance", says Bruno Eynard, "there is no Petit Verdot, which can fill out a weaker vintage, but which spoils the purity of the Cabernet when it is ripe. And the Cabernet vines are getting older...". He has brought in more small cuves for better selection by parcel, so than the Merlots can be vinifed 'open-top' and punched-down, and is working toward a system of harvesting in little cases ('cagettes') as they do in Burgundy and some Saint Emilion properties, but much more difficult to achieve in a property of this size. And through all this explanation this wine is still opening up in my mouth, the fresh cassis attack slowly building and evolving into subtle griotte - it's just perfect. A really lovely example of ripe Cabernet Saint Julien elegance, allied with all the power and length one could wish for. And Bruno is right, this is the best wine they've ever made here. At the general tasting it again showed a striking sophistication. Superb. Rating: 94+ L&S (May 2017)
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Tasted at the château during the 2015 primeur campaign, 2009 Lagrange is opening slowly and moving on from fruit aromas to tobacco and spice. Very attractive, a hedonistic wine that can be enjoyed from now, but which will develop more over many years. Rating: 93+ L&S (Apr 2016)
A slightly lighter, less powerful style of St.-Julien, but also less oaky than previous vintages have tended to be, the 2009 Lagrange offers attractive, fresh, red and black currant notes, and an elegant as well as corpulent attack and mid-palate. This wine does not have the weight of the “big boys” of St.-Julien, but it displays an endearing finesse, freshness, and purity. It is by no means a wimpish, understated wine, but in the context of the 2009 vintage, it is somewhat overwhelmed by many of its neighbors. Enjoy it over the next two decades. Rating: 90-93 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com
Dark crimson. Purple rim. Very sweet indeed on the nose – unusually so for St-Julien. Glamorous and luscious with a hint of ink and freshness. Lots to enjoy! The tannins are very well handled and it’s pure pleasure. Maybe lacks just a hint of freshness. 2016-2028 Rating: 17 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - www.JancisRobinson.com
This Japanese-owned third growth is very Cabernet Sauvignon in style, with firm, slightly four-square tannins, but good underlying acidity and bright blackcurrant fruit. The tannins should soften in barrel and bottle to produce something with considerable style and restraint. 10+ years. Rating: 91-91 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com
Black red, concentrated and smoky blackcurrant fruit with a little herby lift, very good firm fruit, still quite tight, but concentration and balance assure a good future. Drink 2015-28. Rating: ****17 www.decanter.com
A blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot (no Petit Verdot). A very deep, almost opaque garnet/purple colour. The nose has beautiful definition with scents of ripe blackberries, small black cherries, blueberry, a touch of mint and cedar. Very focused with the oak completely in synch with the fruit. Seamless tannins on the full-bodied palate, lively and animated, very taut, this is not the cashmere wine of Ducru for example, a little firmer in terms of the backbone, very well balanced, perhaps a little more masculine. Tightly coiled towards the espresso/minerally finish, really leaving a tingle of excitement on the tongue. Superb – real finesse in the wine, although that comes through leaving it for five minutes in the glass. The sample at the UGC showed more harmony and cohesion than the one at the château. Rating: 93-95 Neal Martin, www.robertparker.com
The nose has the freshness of bilberry and bramble but the fruit on the palate is sweet with ripe cassis and black plum. The tannins have mellowed a bit still quite firm yet not over hard or aggressive with the sweetness of the fruit filling out the back palate and finish. 2019-38 Rating: 92 Derek Smedley MW, www.dereksmedleymw.co.uk
Intense aromas of blackberry and smoke. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and long finish. Solid and tight. As it should be. Rating: 91-94 James Suckling, The Wine Spectator
A very dark, crimson-black rim. Sweet fruit on the nose, all damsons and cherries, partly macerated in alcohol. Creamed fruit on the palate, very well composed, with lovely acidity too. It has a very fresh bite to it, welcome in view of the exuberant fruit. Well covered tannins, slightly savoury, fresh, yet intensely rich and really quite spicy. An attractive wine, although off the wall for the classicists I would think. Rating: 16.5-17.5+ Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com
St Julien Troisième Cru Classé 1855
The fortunes of Château Lagrange were revived with the purchase of the estate by japanese spirits giant Suntory in 1983. Before that, the 20th Century had been a difficult time. Some vineyard had had to be sold off (to Ducru-Beaucaillou and Gloria) and the reputation had slipped considerably.
Marcel Ducasse was employed to run the estate, and the new owners pumped in investment.
Marcel retired after the 2008 vintage and the succession passed to his maitre du chai, Bruno Eynard. Bruno gave way in turn to Matthieu Bordes in 2014. Change has been rapid, with a new building program and the cuverie with an extraordinary 92 vats of differing sizes corresponding to the different parcels by soil type and vine age. Climatic change has led them to question whether they need as much Petit Verdot as they have in the vineyard. In recent vintages it has been easy to ripen the Cabernet Sauvignon fully, and since they seek elegance, it would seem right to emphasise the Cabernet and leave out the Petit Verdot which is really there to boost the power.
Château Lagrange is one of the larger Médoc estates, lying a little further inland than many of its St Julien rivals. There are still 115ha under vine, 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot for the red wine. Wines spend 20 months in wood (50%-60% new).
The second wine, produced since 1987, is Les Fiefs de Lagrange. A small amount of white wine, Les Arums de Lagrange, is produced too, named after the arum lilies around the lake in front of the château
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