2014 3ème Cru Classé Saint Julien

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Saint Julien
Classification 3ème Cru Classé
ABV 13%

We tasted with the delightful winemaker Matthieu Bordes, but sadly struggled to see the joy here. The estate is developing well and the focus on plot selection has increased, there are now 100 different fermenting tanks, to cope with their 102 identified plots. Allowing micro-management at harvest and during the fermentation of all the varying plots. They enjoyed the long, slow harvest and even allowed their picking teams the weekends off, as they had the rare luxury of time. Matthieu was very pleased with the quality of the must they got after pressing. So it was all in place, but with the samples I saw it was hard to get too excited. There is lots of very mature, thick, rich fruit here in the mid-palate - some good mincemeat character, but then the feel gets a bit stringy, just a bit loose and woolly for now - hopefully things will draw together. Rating: 88 L&S (Apr 2015)

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The 2014 Lagrange has one of the most exotic bouquet from the flight of Saint Julien wines with red cherries, kirsch, blueberry and press flowers, almost Margaux-like in style. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy red berry fruit, quite saline in the mouth with a hint of black olive, a very crisp bead of acidity. Nice grip here, quite firm and dense. One to watch. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2020 - 2045 Rating: 92 Neal Martin, 2018)

Rather marked acidity and tannin and very much fashioned for the long term. All on the finish with its peacock’s tail. Some iodine. Drinking range: 2025 - 2042 Rating: 17 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - 2018)

The Château Lagrange 2014 has a perfumed nose with blackcurrant pastille. It is well defined with nicely integrated oak, black rather than red fruit with a pleasant touch of graphite. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, ripe black fruit and a keen line of acidity. It does not quite possess the weight and concentration of its peers. It is balanced but it needs to muster more substance during its élevage. A second and third example confirmed my findings, a Lagrange that needs to pull its socks up by the time of bottling. Drinking range: 2018 - 2030 Rating: 87-89 Neal Martin, 2015)

Attractive Cabernet-Merlot fruit with the slightly understated elegance that is so true to Lagrange. Lovely fragrance and beautiful depth of fruit. A wine of elegant harmony. (Highly Recommended St-Julien, Decanter Drinking range: 2018 - 2028 Rating: 90+ Steven Spurrier(Apr 2015)

The 2014 Lagrange is gorgeous. Scents of iron, smoke, cedar and licorice open up in a wine that shows the more powerful, virile side of the year. A wine of breath and amplitude, the 2014 Lagrange is wonderfully expressive today. Red plum, cherry jam, smoke and tobacco are some of the notes that build to the voluptuous finish. Rating: 90-93 Antonio Galloni, 2015)

Dark crimson. Rather indistinct nose. Though it seems as though there is a lot hidden here. Just a bit austere. Not the full ripeness that some have achieved. Falls away a bit. Hint of iron filings. Pretty severe finish. Drinking range: 2024 - 2034 Rating: 16+ Jancis Robinson MW OBE - 2015)

Floral fragrant spring violets the nose has lots of charm the start of the palate fresh and bright. Richer in the middle with depth of flavour but at the back the freshness gives a lighter feel bright but lacking a bit of richness. Drinking range: 2026 - 2038 Rating: 87-91 Derek Smedley MW, 2015)

Rating: 89 Tim Atkin MW, 2015)

A tight and very fine wine with a blueberry and blackcurrant character. Medium to full body, firm tannins. Polished Lagrange style here. Rating: 91-92 James Suckling, 2015)

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 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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