Chateau Lagrange is a 3rd Growth high quality Grand Cru Classe from St Julien in Bordeaux. We had the pleasure of meeting the General Manager, Directeur General and Wine Maker, Matthieu Bordes who was in Singapore recently to showcase his latest 2015 vintage, widely acclaimed as the best vintage since the legendary 2009 and 2010 vintages.
GEOGRAPHICAL AND GEOLOGICAL DESCRIPTION
Completely situated in the village of Saint-Julien, the estate is spread over two hills with the slopes directed towards the North and the South. The subsoil is of clay and limestone and the topsoil is made of pebbles and gravel. 118 hectares in red vines.
The dry, mild spring weather encouraged the budburst although we cannot say this was an early vintage. The flowering and colour change took place in excellent conditions, around the average dates recorded on the property.
Long harvest: from Sept 21st to Oct 12th. (22 days)
The blending consists of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and 8% of Petit Verdot.
– Planting density: from 7,500 to 10 000 vines per hectare
– « Medocain » fixation on three wires to get the best sun exposure possible
– Pruning to control the yield (4to 6 buds left)
– Controlled phytosanitary treatments. – Thinning of the extra grapes in July
– Thinning out of the leafs in July on both sides of the row to improve the air circulation and reduce the level of humidity in the grapes.
– Maturity checking per plot
– Hand picking into individual crates for the 111 hectares
– 120 pickers on average recruited according to the daily needs by a specialized agency, allowing a considerable flexibility of harvest to optimize the ripeness.
– Last sorting grape by grape with an optical camera
– Plot by plot vilification in 102 stainless steel vats of which 80 are small capacity (36 to 123hl)
– Co-inoculation allowing simultaneous alcoholic and malolactic fermentations in the aim of protecting the wine and reducing the manipulation throughout the sensitive phase.
– First sorting by hand on whole bunches to eliminate those showing imperfections
– Latest state-of-the-art de-stemmer less damaging for the grapes
– Intra-plot selection thanks to 102 tanks
The contents of vats are selected according to the grape varieties, the age of the vines, the « terroir » and the maturity
– 220hl to 36hl stainless steel vats with thermo regulation
– Moderate pumping-over every day, pigeage. Maceration from 18 days to 25 days.
– Selection of free-run wine and of press wine
– Blending selection of the « Grand Vin » (Château Lagrange) and the second wine (Les Fiefs de Lagrange) in January, following the harvesting. 12% of press wine in Château Lagrange.
– 35% Château Lagrange and 65% Fiefs de Lagrange.
– Average age of the vine producing Château Lagrange: 42 years
MATURING IN BARRELS
– Air conditioned cellars with regulated hygrometry
– 55 % of new oak barrels every year for Château Lagrange, maturing for 21 months
– Maturing with the bung on top for about 6 months (2 top-ups per week)
– Racking every 3 months
– Fining in barrel with fresh egg-whites — Final blending before bottling
Consultant oenologist: Eric BOISSENOT
General Manager : Matthieu BORDES
Technical Manager : Benjamin VIMAL
Dark purple red with violet hue and almost black core. Aromatic nose with elegant character, dark berries, discreet oak spices and very fine toasting aromas. On the palate full-bodied yet elegant, ripe tannins with velvety character, with a long and fruity finish carried by the bold Cabernet Sauvignon. A powerful and well balanced wine. (2022–2040)
RM’s rating: 93/100. This will cellar easily for 15-20 years. Our recommendation is to buy a few cases (or at least a case, if you can lay your hands on them through the limited allocation), and drink a bottle every year to find the sweet spot for the right drinking window, and then drink a bottle every week 🙂
DECANTER 92 POINTS
Fleshy, spicy red and black fruits of good florality and grip, with balanced acidity and tannins. Shows the continued progress of this highly regarded estate.
JANCIS ROBINSON 16.5++
Lightly meat and two veg on the nose. Juicy – juicer than usual with the tannins well covered up by ripe fruit. Bone dry but not austere. Very correct even if not amazingly winning. 2025-2039
WINE ADVOCATE – NEAL MARTIN
Château Lagrange 2015 90/ 92
The 2015 Lagrange is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 8% Petit Verdot, continuing the estate philosophy including Cabernet in the Grand vin (for example, in 2005 it was just 46%). […] matured in around 50% to 55% new oak from six different cooperages, it has a tightly-knit bouquet with blackberry, cedar and light rose petal scents, elegant style. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly grainy tannin, moderate weight in the mouth, not as intense as either 2009 or 2010, although it is harmonious and graceful. There is a pleasant spicy, white pepper note that lingers on the aftertaste of what should be one of the earlier drinking Saint Julien wines.
Drink: 2020 – 2040.
Les Fiefs de Lagrange 2015 85/87
Les Arums de Lagrange 2015 89/91
THE WORLD OF FINE WINES – MICHAEL SCHUSTER 91/92
Château Lagrange 2015 – en Primeur
Very mineral; dense, vital, concentrated, beautiful balanced long-term wine; a lovely depth of fruit, a marked vital defining and appetizing acidity, long , fine, minerally, tight, very aromatic, very persistent. Class, poise, fine St Julien, particularly classy Lagrange . 2024-35
Les Fiefs de Lagrange 2015 88/89
Deep, softly Merlot to smell; medium-full, fresh, very delicately tannic; immediately a lovely vitality of taste, a, noticeable length and complexity for Fiefs. Elegant and complete nice depth of fruit, not large but long in flavor. Fist-rate Fiefs, likely to be a great value. Best ever? 2021-2030+
TASTINGBOOK.COM – MARKUS DEL MONEGO 94 POINTS
Dark purple red with violet hue and almost black core. Aromatic nose with elegant character, dark berries, discreet oak spices and very fine toasting aromas. On the palate full-bodied yet elegant, ripe tannins with velvety character, convincing length and fine fruit lingering in the finish.