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Lynch-Bages: The Importance
Long recognised as one of the best producers in Pauillac, Château Lynch-Bages continues to impress year after year. Although classed as a Cinquième Grand Cru Classé, Robert Parker writes that “today nobody would argue that this wine’s present quality is akin to that of a second growth” and Jancis Robinson’s website adds to this that “if any Château’s positioning in the…1855 classification highlights just quite how outdated it is then Lynch-Bages…would be the one. Rated a 5th growth in 1855, it is has been for the last few decades a definite Super Second.”
This classification does however mean that Lynch-Bages represents the sort of good value that can be difficult to find in the Bordeaux classed growths. As Ian d’Agata writes for Vinous, Château Lynch-Bages offers “an excellent price/quality ratio, representing a very good red Bordeaux buy in many vintages.”
This wines truly exemplary ability to age, has meant that it has always been popular with collectors, and performs exceptionally well during En Primeur campaigns. Patience is key with a wine of this calibre, which in the best vintages will not shows its true potential until after 15-20 years of ageing, and many wines will keep for upwards of 25-30 years. This was highlighted by Oz Clarke who wrote that “Lynch-Bages is impressive at five years, beautiful at ten years and irresistible at twenty."
Inspiring confidence through its production of consistently excellent wine, many have reported a slight dip in the 1970s, but Lynch-Bages has since then produced highly rated wine year upon year and Neal Martin writes that “Jean-Charles Cazes has overseen some splendid wines in recent years, following in the illustrious footsteps of his father Jean-Michel”, and adds that Lynch-Bages “rarely puts a foot wrong these days.”
As Robert Parker writes, “Lynch-Bages has been one of the most popular and successful wines to emerge from Bordeaux” and all signs point to this wine continuing on its upwards trajectory for many years to come.
Lynch-Bages: The Insight
Lynch-Bages is often considered the epitome of Pauillac, of which Hugh Johnson writes that ''If we had to classify the Bordeaux communes, Pauillac would certainly come out on top. Pauillac wines combine soft, fresh fruit with oak, dryness, subtlety and structure, a hint of cedar and tobacco and an inkling of smoothness underpinned by strength. Wine lovers consider them to be the perfect example of their ideal wine.'' In that vein, Lynch-Bages produces wines which are generous and tannic, whilst retaining excellent structure and elegance.
Some of the best recent vintages for Lynch-Bages are 2000, 2009, 2010 and 2015, and thanks to the long life of this wine the 1982, 1990 and 1996 also come highly recommended.
The Château also produces a second wine called the Echo de Lynch-Bages (previously Château Haut-Bages Averous). As its name suggests, it does not carry the same weight and power as the Grand Vin, however it echoes its elegance and aromatic character. The Echo is an excellent introduction to the Lynch-Bages and Pauillac style. Lighter in style and younger drinking than its bolder older sibling, it nonetheless receives the same care and attention as the Grand Vin.
The white wine, which began production in 1990, is called the Blanc de Lynch-Bages and is made up of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle. The style of this wine is fresh, with the presence of new oak bringing roundness and elegance.
Lynch-Bages: The Background
Originally founded in the 18th century by Thomas Lynch, Château Lynch-Bages has now been owned by the Cazes family since 1939. It has stayed with them ever since, and the family has expanded their holdings to vineyards in Bordeaux (Villa Bel-Air, Les Ormes de Pez, Michel Lynch), Rhône (Domaine des Sénéchaux), Minervois (Domaine l’Ostal Cazes), Douro (Roquette & Cazes) and were involved in the setup of Tappanappa in Coonawarra. They also own the nearby luxury hotel and restaurant called Château Cordeillan-Bages.
The forward thinking nature of the estate can be seen from the fact that in 1986 they were one of the first châteaux to promote their wine in China, meaning that they are now one of the most established and popular brands in the Chinese wine market.
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