Chateau Lynch Bages
|Listed Wines||Lynch Bages|
|President||Jean Charles Cazes|
|Annual Production (Grand Vin)||20,000 - 25,000 cases|
|Classification||Cinquièmes Crus (5eme Crus)|
|Second Wine||Echo de Lynch-Bages|
|Third Wine||Pauillac de Lynch-Bages|
|Interesting Fact||Chateau Lynch-Bages has been labelled as ‘the poor-man's Mouton’ as its quality stands shoulder to shoulder with the First Growths.|
Lynch-Bages is one of the most underrated chateaux when it comes to the 1855 classification of Bordeaux wines, belying its Fifth Growth status and producing outstanding wines year on year. Managed by the well-respected Cazes family, Chateau Lynch-Bages has transformed into a global brand with a strong following in Asia, Europe and the United States. Lynch-Bages benefits from an established name and brand as Jean-Michael Cazes first introduced Lynch-Bages to Hong Kong in the 1980s and it has been served First Class on Cathay Pacific for over 20 years. According to last year's ‘Liv-ex Classification’, which attempted to mimic the Bordeaux 1855 classification by ranking chateaux based purely on market prices, the modern-day Lynch-Bages sits comfortably among the Second Growths - a telling reflection of the extent to which the brand has developed in recent years.
It has been argued that this Fifth Growth can offer the quality of the First Growths at a fraction of the cost. In recent years, there has been a noticeable improvement in scores from Robert Parker. In a vertical tasting of Lynch-Bages 1981-2010 event, Robert Parker gives extra credit for the efforts Jean-Charles has made for the last five vintages. As said by him, ‘this estate has certainly benefitted from his youthful vigour and enthusiasm after his father put the estate on the Bordeaux map.’ The notable vintages for Lynch-Bages are 1989, 1990, 2000 and 2009, and the price ranges from £650 to £3,000 per case. The 2009 Lynch-Bages received 98 points from Robert Parker and it is one of the top rated vintages, it’s also one of the cheapest on the market, offering clear investment value. What’s more, it’s from a prime Bordeaux vintage which can be anticipated to grow to a superior price level.
Andre Cazes, a lawyer and purveyor of insurance, took full control in 1966. He acquired the neighbouring properties Chateau Haut-Bages-Averous and Chateau Saussus. He also expanded the vineyards, replanted areas abandoned during the phylloxera crisis, and under his tenure the area committed to vines reached approximately the area covered today. Jean-Michel Cazes returned to Lynch-Bages to assist his father in 1973. During his tenure at Lynch-Bages, AXA Millésimes (the wine subsidiary of AXA), which was established by Cazes' old friend Claude Bébéar, approached him. They established Châteaux & Associés, which Cazes ran until he reached 65, and which by the end of the 20th century owned many vineyards across Europe including Pichon-Baron, Petit Village, Quinta do Noval and Suduiraut. In 2006, Jean-Charles Cazes, named after his great-grandfather, took control of the estate and has continued to produce consistently top level quality wines.
Lynch Bages Price Analysis
Chateau Lynch Bages Pricing
Highest rated vintages for Chateau Lynch Bages
This magnificent Lynch Bages has been drinking well since the day it was released and it continues to go from strength to strength. The biggest, richest, fullest-bodied Lynch Bages until the 2000, the fully mature 1990 exhibits an unbelievably explosive nose of black currants, cedarwood, herbs and spice. The majestic, classically Bordeaux aromatics are followed by a full-bodied, voluptuously textured, rich, intense wine with superb purity as well as thrilling levels of fruit, glycerin and sweetness. This beauty should continue to provide immense pleasure over the next 15+ years.
The 1989 has taken forever to shed its formidable tannins, but what a great vintage of Lynch Bages! I would rank it at the top of the pyramid although the 1990, 2000, and down the road, some of the more recent vintages such as 2005, 2009 and 2010 should come close to matching the 1989's extraordinary concentration and undeniable aging potential. Its dense purple color reveals a slight lightening at the edge and the stunning bouquet offers classic notes of creme de cassis, subtle smoke, oak and graphite. Powerful and rich with some tannins still to shed at age 22, it is still a young adolescent in terms of its evolution and will benefit from another 4-5 years of cellaring. It should prove to be a 50 year wine.
Performing even better from bottle than it did from barrel, this appears to be the finest Lynch Bages since the 2000, 1990 and 1989. According to the chateau, the 2009 has the highest level of polyphenols ever measured as well as high alcohol (nearly 13.5%). A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest largely Merlot with touches of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it is an expressive, voluptuously textured effort with unctuosity and powerful, juicy, succulent blackberry and black currant flavors, low acids, a layered, massive mouthfeel, but no sense of heaviness or fatigue. This exquisite Lynch Bages should drink well for 30+ years.
Beginning to open magnificently, the still dense purple-colored 2000 reveals a blossoming bouquet of blackberries, cassis, graphite and pen ink. Full-bodied with velvety tannins that have resolved themselves beautifully over the last eleven years, this wine is still an adolescent, but it exhibits admirable purity, texture, mouthfeel and power combined with elegance. One of the all-time great examples of Lynch Bages, the 2000 is just beginning to drink well yet promises to last for another 20-25+ years.
The 2010 Lynch Bages is an absolutely brilliant wine, and somewhat reminiscent at this stage in its development of the profound 1989. Jean-Charles Cazes, who took over for his father a number of years ago, has produced a magnificent wine with the classic creme de cassis note intermixed with smoke, graphite and spring flowers. It is a massive Lynch Bages, full-bodied and very 1989-ish, with notable power, loads of tannin, and extraordinary concentration and precision. This is not a Lynch Bages to drink in its exuberant youth, but one to hold on to for 5-6 years and drink over the following three decades.
This sexy, evolved, dense ruby/purple-tinged 2003 reveals notes of smoke, herbs, black currant jam, licorice and graphite. Full-bodied, opulent and flamboyant, it is another example of a stunning 2003 northern Medoc that can be drunk now or cellared for 10-15 more years. This irregular vintage hit its zenith in the northern Medoc and in a handful of limestone terroirs in St.-Emilion. In contrast, other areas, particularly Pomerol, Graves and the sandy, gravelly soils of St.-Emilion, experienced difficulties in 2003.
This classic, powerful, firm Lynch Bages may be as concentrated (if not more so) than the 2005. It possesses a dense purple-tinged color, tell-tale cassis notes interwoven with hints of roast beef, savory herbs, spice box and subtle oak, good acidity and ripe tannin. The result is a full-bodied, fleshy Pauillac that will benefit from another 3-4 years of cellaring. It is capable of lasting 20-25 more years.
As one might suspect, the dense purple-hued 2005 is still tannic, firm and young, with concentrated blackberry and cassis fruit, beautiful ripeness, a full-bodied mouthfeel and undeniable youthfulness. Tasting like a 2-3 year old wine rather one that has passed its sixth birthday, it is potentially one of the longest lived Lynch Bages since the remarkable 1989 and 2000. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2030+
The 1986 is finally emerging from the dormant stage that many of the wines from this vintage (especially the Medocs) have been going through. It is a full-bodied, still backward wine that will appeal to classicists and old line traditionalists given its firm structure and austere tannins. Nevertheless, the color is a healthy deep garnet and the wine exhibits wonderful freshness along with notes of underbrush, damp earth, black currants, cedar and new saddle leather. Well-balanced with good depth, medium to full body, and a tannic (although not excessively so) finish, this may not be the most finesse-styled, elegant Lynch Bages ever produced, but it is an interesting Pauillac that will benefit from another 3-4 years of cellaring. While it may never hit the peaks achieved by great Lynch Bages vintages, it will be one of those rare wines that will last 40+ years.
Beautifully mature with sweet, sun-drenched black currant, fig, roasted herb and loamy soil characteristics, the dark plum/garnet-colored 1982 possesses opulent, fleshy flavors and a full-bodied finish. All the tannins are resolved, the acidity is low and this deliciously savory, rich wine is in full bloom. Drink the complex, beautiful 1982 now and over the next decade.