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2014 3ème Cru Classé Saint Julien

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

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, (Mar 2018)

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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)

Richly concentrated plum, cassis, and damson, this is powerful, with the highest amount of Cabernet Sauvignon than any vintage since 2000. Firm but fine in its architecture, this combines succulent tannins with a gourmet edge of sweet fruit. The structure is beginning to soften but it needs another few years to fully open, so give it either a good long carafe of three hours or more, or wait. 40% of production in the 1st wine, with 60% new oak. Eric Boissenot consultant. Rating: 93 Jane Anson, (Feb 2022)

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 OBE MW - (Feb 2018)

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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