Welcome on our guide of the Château Lagrange 3rd Grand Cru of the Saint-Julien appellation. Discover all the information you need to know about the history of the property and some advices about greatest vintages.
HISTORY OF A PRESTIGIOUS WINE
In order to understand its history, we have dedicated this article to Château Lagrange of the AOC Saint-Julien since 1842. Château Lagrange, called “La maison noble de Lagrange Monteil”, in medieval times, has a rich history. The Château shaped its history long before 1842 but we will focus on its history after that date because it is complex to trace the owners back to medieval times.
In 1842, the Château became the property of Compte Tanneguy Duchâtel, Minister of the Interior and member of the Academy of Fine Arts, which contributed to the estate’s influence in Europe from 1842 to 1874. At that time, the estate covered 280 hectares, including 120 hectares of vines with a relatively average production of 200 barrels. It is under the possession of the account that Château Lagrange is classified 3rd Grand Cru de Saint Julien according to the 1855 classification. In the same year the count became the precursor of the drainage of the vineyard grounds and following the success observed it planned the installation of a small factory as well as pottery tubes. His son succeeded him, and the Château remained in the family until 1875.
In 1976, the Château passed into the hands of the English colonial Muicy Louys but the succession did not take place in the best period for the Château. Indeed, the estate suffers from “phylloxera” followed by “mildew” which weakens it enormously. Thanks to its large surface area, the estate has been able to resist the various epidemics.
In 1918, the real estate company Grand Cru de France (at the time already owner of Châteaux Brane Cantenac and d’issan) bought the estate for 12 million francs.
The Château changed hands once again and was bought by Manuel Cendoya (winegrower) and José Telleria (industrialist). Unfortunately, the domain is in its dark years. Indeed, poor economic conditions are being felt in the trading market. In addition, terrible weather forced the two Spanish Basques to downgrade the harvest. In order to regain a small financial health, they decided to sell the peripheral parcels of the estate to their neighbours. Despite these economic returns, Château Lagrange lost its prestige and slowly died out with only 157 hectares, including 56 hectares of vines.
After this dark period for the Château, the Suntory group (Japanese leader in drinks and spirits) bought the Château in 1983. In order for the estate to be reborn as prestigious as before, if not more so, the giant Suntoty did not hesitate to use all means at his disposal. Very quickly, the famous oenologist Emille Peynaud became the consultant of the estate, a position he held for 6 years. With the advice of Michel Delon during the first 10 years and a team under the direction of Marcel Ducasse, the ambitious reconstruction of the estate became possible.
After twenty years of hard work, technical and human investments, the estate has regained its prestigious character and has given birth to an elegant and perfectly balanced wine as we can find today.
Today, the estate is in the hands of Matthieu Bordes and Keiichi Shiina, both with a view to pursuing this quest for excellence. In order to preserve its history, the estate reveals prospects for development with the greatest possible respect for the environment by aiming to reduce the Château’s ecological footprint.
After having passed from hand to hand and having experienced dark episodes, Château Lagrange is today the largest vineyard inthe appellation with 118 hectares of vines. A beautiful revenge on his dark years. Today, Château Lagrange stands out for its history and values, which offers a unique experience around its wines.
GUIDE OF THE BEST VINTAGE OF THE CHÂTEAU LAGRANGE
A humid and cool April. The year 1990 A dry summer until the harvest. The rain only appears on September 22nd, after the harvest. Temperatures are high, much higher than normal.
“Massive, richly extracted, generously woody and spicy, the 1990 Lagrange has a dark purple colour and an abundance of jammy fruit, supported by low acidity and copious tannins. The whole, very glycerine and massive, expresses a smooth mouth and certainly seduces the taster. “Robert PARKER
A hot and dry spring followed by a similar summer. A few storms cause a little millerandage (lack of ripening of the vines leading to a partial abortion of the grapes) on the Merlot grapes. from the end of August to mid-September: bright sunshine. An extremely beneficial period that marks the vintage. The Merlots are picked in excellent conditions while the Cabernets Sauvignon have enjoyed dry weather.
“Great wine smelling the embarrassment of blackberry, with pure expression, with a nose that is a reference for its freshness, then complex. In constant evolution in glass. Superb balance of melting and softness, despite its great energy. High quality tannicity. A superb mouth for lovers of the beautiful cabernet-sauvignon. Great finale. A must of the Château. “Jean-Marc QUARIN
A lot of rain and sunshine illustrates the spring before the harvest. As a preventive measure, the vineyard is treated for mildew. This was followed by a fast and relatively homogeneous flowering. A contrasting summer with a cool and humid July and hot and dry August and September, which contributes greatly to the success of the vintage.
“Dark red colour, intense. Superb nose, fruity, fresh, ripe, smelling of cedar notes. Subtle. Dense on the palate, then soft and fresh, the wine melts in the mouth with grace and a superb balance. It ends with a tasty and long finish on perfectly coated tannins. Great wine! “Jean-Marc QUARIN
2005 is a very dry year in Gironde with very little rain and a lot of sunshine. This vintage is in memory of each winegrower because of its amazing climatic conditions.
“This wine is delicious and different from the other great vintages of the vintage, due to its dominant Merlot character in the blend. Colourful, aromatic, it offers a royal mouth with taste, power and a rather exceptional environment. Melting although tannic, it ends very long and aromatic. Compared to 2000, the 2005 exceeds it.” Jean-Marc QUARIN
2009 is neither a hot nor a dry year. A warm weather contrasted by showers arrived when the vine needed it. The climatic conditions in August, September and October were perfect for the vines.
“Dark, intense, beautiful color. Fine, fruity, ripe nose, with notes of cherry, a sweet and floral touch. Beautiful entry in the mouth rich and pulpy where the wine develops aromatic, with taste, body, power and fine tannins. Rich, tasty, full too, it ends long, sappy, on cabernet-sauvignon tannises. Very nice aromatic length, with notes of flowers and ink. In my opinion, this wine will surpass the 2005 (mainly Merlot) thanks to a very different blend (mainly Cabernet Sauvignon)” Jean-Marc QUARIN
In 2010, the weather conditions are rather surprising and unusual, combining dryness and freshness. Nevertheless, an exceptional sun shone from May to the end of October. The drought caused late harvests in 2010. This vintage is known for its finesse and pronounced concentration in tannins.
“The least we can say is that this wine is not under-extracted, a criticism I will make to many 2010. On the contrary, Lagrange did not hesitate to take a lot of material for the reasons. The result is a wine with a fine nose, a pulpy beginning on the palate, a very dense medium, a tannic finish much tighter than usual, but with fruit and enveloped tannin. It is a bet that will be answered at the end of the breeding.” Jean-Marc QUARIN