Château Lagrange tasting at Wine Watch (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) – March 15, 2016
With so many unique and impressive classified growths in Bordeaux, sometimes it is hard to stand out. But in Château Lagrange’s case, it is actually quite easy, as it lays claim to being the largest classified growth in the Médoc (Left Bank). At 113 hectares, Lagrange sits perched on a hill that is the highest elevation in the Saint-Julien appellation. Like many of the classified growth estates, Lagrange has had its ups and downs, with some degradation in the quality of its wines. Their course changed when the Japanese drinks conglomerate Suntory purchased Château Lagrange in 1983. Under the direction of Marcel Ducasse, Lagrange was revitalized with replanting of the vineyards and the building of a new winery. Due to these improvements, there has been a substantial increase in the quality of the wines produced.
Due to its massive vineyard, Lagrange has a very large annual production. Typically, over 700,000 are produced each year! Less than half of this is the Château Lagrange grand vin, as there is a much higher production of the second wine, Les Fiefs de Lagrange. Interestingly, a white wine is also produced, Les Arums de Lagrange, which represents less than 3% of the estate’s production. The wines of Château Lagrange are classically Saint-Julien, with a solid tannic structure and a nice balance of power and finesse.
During a recent trip to South Florida, Charlotte Denjean presented a sampling of the estate’s wines at Wine Watch in Fort Lauderdale. The 2005, 2011, 2012, and 2013 vintages of Château Lagrange were presented, in addition to the 2009 and 2011 Les Fiefs de Lagrange. Surprisingly, the majority of the wines were quite accessible at this youthful stage. Perhaps most surprising was the excellent showing of the 2009 Les Fiefs de Lagrange, which showed nice complexity and quite a bit of charm. As expected, the 2005 Château Lagrange was showing the best, with some developing tertiary aromatics and softening structure. Of the youngest wines, the 2012 Château Lagrange was the standout, exhibiting nice balance and ripe fruits; it has certainly evolved to a nice stage since tasting it a year ago. While the 2012 vintage was not lauded in Bordeaux, it may turn out to be a nice early drinking vintage, that hopefully provides some longevity to the wines as well. A big thank-you to Charlotte Denjean for sharing her wines with us on this very nice evening at Wine Watch.