Something about Chateau Lynch Bages
There are few chateaux that have marked the history of the Médoc like that of Château Lynch-Bages. It is on the “Batges” lands near Pauillac where this great wine adventure began in the 17th century. The Château, then known as “Cru de Lynch”, was owned by Thomas Lynch, son of John Lynch, a native of Galway (Ireland) and a Bordeaux trader. The reputation of Thomas Lynch’s wines was such that the Château was ranked among the Fifth Classified Growths in the prestigious classification of 1855 in honour of the World Fair in Paris.
In 1939, the Cazes family bought the Château with its 100 hectares of vineyards that made up the estate. A renaissance then began at Château Lynch-Bages. Divided into two parts, the vineyards are spread over the Bages plateau and near Château Mouton-Rothschild on gravel-sand soil that offers excellent drainage. At Château Lynch-Bages, Cabernet Savignon makes up 73% of the vines, and they have found all the necessary conditions to reveal their splendor, which is typical of this area of the Bordeaux vineyards. Château Lynch-Bages does not neglect the other typical Bordeaux grape varieties. There are 15% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot.
The history of the great wines of Château Lynch-Bages starts with the type of care given to the vines. Since 2006, the estate has used satellite technology to divide up its parcels. The wines take the time to build up their personality that start with the variety and terroir, and then progress to maturity and end with the harvest. After maceration, running-off, pressing, and malolactic fermentation all come at a decisive moment during the wine making process, which requires all the expertise of the estate’s technical teams. Recognized as one of Bordeaux’s most sought-after Classified Growths, Château Lynch-Bages offers the pleasure of powerful, opulent wines that have become more precise after each vintage. Elegant and structured, the wines are generous in their youth while becoming more aromatically complex as they age.
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The 2018 Lynch Bages is made up of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot aging in 75% new barriques. Very deep purple-black in color, the nose is quite coy and restrained to begin, fanning out to offer pure, ripe blackcurrants, black cherries and preserved plums with wafts of red roses, cigar box, incense, cardamom and fenugreek with savory touches of black olives, Marmite toast and smoked meats. Full-bodied, the palate is built like a brick house, with a solid foundation of very firm, very ripe, grainy tannins and superb freshness supporting the generous black fruit layers, finishing long with provocative ferrous suggestions.
The 2018 Lynch-Bages was picked from September 19, the Cabernet starting six days later and continuing until October 9, and matured for 18 months in 75% new oak. It has a charming, pure bouquet of black cherries, blueberry, violet and iris petals, almost Margaux-like in style. The medium-bodied palate is quite dense and grippy, offering slightly grainy tannins, moderate acidity and a powerful, saline finish. It is a little monolithic when compared to, say, the outstanding 2016, although I appreciate its length and it should age well in bottle. It just needs to muster a bit more charm, and maybe that will appear once in bottle. I will remain prudent with my score for now. Drink 2024-2050.
The 2018 Lynch-Bages is a potent, racy wine endowed with real textural depth and intensity. Even so, it retains terrific nuance and vibrancy. All the classic Lynch-Bages signatures are present, but amped up, with huge tannins and equally huge fruit. The 2018 is going to need at least a few years to shed some of its baby fat. Today, it is decidedly rich and unctuous in style. Rose petal, lavender, mint and sweet spice add striking layers of aromatic nuance. The blend is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.
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