2011 3ème Cru Classé Saint Julien

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Saint Julien
Classification 3ème Cru Classé

The sunburn effect meant a loss of 20-25% of the Cabernet, so a lower proportion than they have been aiming for in recent years. 62% Cabernet 32% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot. Rich, serious, full-bodied. Very dark expression, but it remains on the fruit, with plumskin and sloe depth and richness. Lovely purity and vivacity, it will be hard to pin this to 2011 in a few years as it just does not taste like this vintage. I can't quite get over just how good this is - bravo to Bruno Eynard; I don't want to take anything away from what Marcel Ducasse achieved here, but what Bruno has done in the three vintages since he took over is nothing short of amazing. Rating: 93 L&S (Apr 2012)

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Mid purplish crimson. Solid, fragrant, essence of Médoc. This property always seems relatively underpriced to me. Racy and sleek. Tannins very well managed. 2020-2032 Rating: 16.5 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - (May 2012)

The Chateau Lagrange 2011 is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot (the highest percentage of the latter since 2007.) In 2011, there were just four treatments in the vineyard compared to 12 in 2000. It has a deep purple colour. It has a very pure bouquet with blackberry, cassis, limestone and a touch of Margaux-like violets. It certainly has fine delineation. The palate is pure with silky smooth tannins, fine acidity and an almost Burgundy-like texture. This is a very accomplished Lagrange although I would like to see more personality. It shows good weight on the tensile finish however and is an accomplished Saint Julien. Rating: 90-92 Neal Martin, (Apr 2012)

The blend this year is Cabernet Sauvignon 62%, Merlot 32% Petit Verdot 6%. An exotic yet pure, lifted and rather perfumed character here. A sweet, defined, direct and nicely defined character on the palate, rich and harmonious, the wine showing great purity of fruit, fine lines and a really bright character. In the midpalate the acidity seems rather firm though, although the tannins are well hidden, giving it a fine, harmonious feel. There's more backbone here than is first apparent, as seen on retasting. There is some big, fat extraction here, a sure mark of the vintage. Rating: 15-16 Chris Kissack, (Apr 2012)

Château Lagrange

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 102 stainless vats of differing sizes corresponding to the different parcels by soil type and vine age. Climate change led them to question whether they needed 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, but interestingly Bordes regards its omission from the blend on 2009 as a mistake.

Château Lagrange is one of the larger Médoc estates, much of the vineyard lying a little further inland than many of its Saint Julien rivals. There are still 115ha under vine, 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot for the red wine. Wines spend 217-21 months in wood (50%-60% new).

The second wine, produced since 1985, is Les Fiefs de Lagrange, and this accounts for a large proportion of the production, as nowadays only the best parts of the vineyard are ever considered for the Grand Vin. 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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