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THE HARVEST 2015, A HIGHLY ANTICIPATED VINTAGE

The magic multiples of 5 vintages !

The harvesting of the Merlot began on the 21st of September under bright sunshine. The next ten days look sunny and windy which should allow the Cabernet Sauvignon to reach a beautiful maturity. The first plots give us hope of a generous harvest, will the magic of the multiples of 5 work again… ?

 A later budding than average

The feeble winter rainfall and cool temperatures in March delayed the budding. It was not until the beginning of April when 50% of the physiological stage was reached.We had dry weather, and the temperature was warming rapidly (28°C from the 13th of April), up until the 1st of May. The vines were growing fast, no water stress and favorable temperatures set the tempo for this month of May.

A very early summer

Summer arrived on the 2nd of June promoting a fast and homogeneous blossoming for all the grape varieties. This made up for the delay! It has been a long time since we had not had such conditions for the flowering, we can finally hope to produce a decent yield! Only one rainy period in the month of June and a summer that seems to settle permanently. Note that we only had 19mm of rainfall between the 13th of June and the 2nd of August! The month of July was one of the hottest in the last 20 years.

Medium to high levels of water stress became apparent on some soils, which manifested quickly and the vine growth appeared to stop at the end of July. The ripening of the grapes finally began!The ripening started from mid-July but the lack of water hindered its progress until the weekend of the 1st of August, when the Merlot and the Cabernet were simultaneously changing color.

The month of August was more unstable and was marked by a period of rainfall every 10 days. The weather remained hot with little temperature difference between night and day

The health status of the vines at this point was perfect; all that was left to do was to wait for the berries to ripen.

The homogeneity between the grape varieties, with a color change starting at the beginning of August, guaranteed an earlier harvest date than usual, which generally is an advantage in the rhythm and means we obtain a quality harvest.

The levels of water stress in the vines and their precocity enabled a quick ripening of the seeds. The richness in polyphenols is situated in average in the best vintages with thick skins.

By this we already know that we can extract more than we could for the latest vintages as the tannins of the skins and the seeds are rich and ripe.

The harvest

The harvesting of the Merlot started on the 21st of September, just like in 2005, is this another sign … ? They are crunchy and tasty with an alcohol potential level between 13.5% and 14.5%. The color is extracted quickly unlike the round and silky tannins which diffuse more slowly. The acidity is lower than last year without reaching the levels obtained in 2009. We had already remarked this on the Sauvignon Blanc which started on the 3rd of September.

The Merlot harvest should finish on the 30th of September. It’s safe to say the harvest of the Cabernets will follow starting in the beginning of October. The harvest of the Petit Verdot, a variety that lies on excellent terroirs, is likely to slip somewhere into the middle of the Cabernet Sauvignon harvest. The first tastings of the grapes and the vats suggest that the wines will be powerful yet rich without any severity. They should be racy and silky.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, the verdict will fall in a few days, the 10th of October may indeed be the final day of harvest as it was in 2005!

Matthieu BORDES – General Director

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History

A place of great agricultural activity even back in Gallo-Roman times : from the Gallo-Roman VILLA RUSTICA to the « GRANGIA » in the Middle Ages which was to give the estate its name.

Lagrange discovers an early winegrowing vocation thanks to the Templars who join together two domains :– The « maison noble de Lagrange de Monteil » to the West joins the « Tenure of Pellecalhus » (meaning « peeled stone ») to the East. In the present-day vineyard, the names of two vine plots bear witness to this era, « l’Hôpital » and « La Chapelle »;– Lagrange becomes the largest wine producing estate in the Médoc. But the history of the different owners cannot be reconstructed until after 1631.

The 18th century brings renown to Lagrange

Baron de Brane, a Bordeaux parliament member, and owner of Mouton, acquires the property and its renown thus becomes more widespread.In 1790, Jean-Valère Cabarrus, an influential merchant known to be very active in the shipping business, invests in the property and establishes his own sales network. In 1820, he commissions Visconti to build the Tuscan-style tower that is to become the emblem of Château Lagrange.

From Jefferson to Duchâtel, the story of a classification

During a trip to Bordeaux In 1785, Thomas Jefferson, then President of the United States, judges Lagrange second among the Third Classified Growths. In 1855, Lagrange ranks among Third Classified Growths. This is thanks to the work of Count Duchâtel, owner from 1842 to 1874. In 1842, Count Charles Tenneguy Duchâtel and the Countess bring change to Lagrange :
– Innovation with a pottery drainage pipe factory.
– Château Lagrange now stretches over 300 hectares of which 120 are under vine.
– The Count is a politician, Home Secretary to King Louis-Philippe.
– Passion for the arts, Member of the Académie des Beaux Arts.

 

Lagrange today

The Japanese group, Suntory, acquired the domain when the purchase was signed by the company president, Mr Keizo Saji, in1983.

Marcel Ducasse was then recruited along with Kenji Suzuta to undertake the complete restructuring of the vineyard and a spectacular renovation of the whole estate. This first step was to mark the rebirth of CHÂTEAU LAGRANGE.

After twenty years of dedicated work, as well as human and technical investments, Lagrange had once again found recognition amidst its peers and had achieved a certain sense of fulfilment.

Today a new tandem, Matthieu Bordes and Keiichi Shiina, have taken over this quest for excellence. A second phase of investments began with the 2008 vintage, offering Lagrange the technical means to follow its ambitions: The production of refined, elegant and expressive wines, in the best Saint-Julien style. There has also been an evolution of production methods towards a greater awareness of the environment and a reduction of ecological impact on the property.

This philosophy is reflected not only in the respect shown for the domain’s History, and the nurturing of its truly exceptional Terroir, but also in the unique experiences shared all over the world around a glass of one of Lagrange’s wines.

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Vineyards

Located entirely within the appellation of Saint-Julien, our vineyard stretches in a single block over two North-South rises of Gunzian gravelly soil. In parts large and coarse and in others finer, this gravel is combined with sand or iron-rich clay depending on the plot. With an altitude of 24 metres, the centre of the domain marks the highest point of Saint-Julien. The estate covers 182 hectares (450 acres), of which 118 hectares (292 acres) are under vine. Most of the plots benefit from a drainage system.

The Médoc is undoubtedly where the Cabernet Sauvignon best expresses its character. When this grape variety is planted in our deep gravelly soils, it constitutes the very backbone of our wines and ensures their ageing potential. The greatest of our vineyard’s terroirs are reserved for this elite grape, which covers 67% of the estate. As for the Merlot, this earlier variety does exceedingly well on our cooler soils, making up 28% of the vineyard. Then for the final touch, the complexity of our wines is heightened by the 5% of Petit Verdot planted on our most prestigious soils.

Our white wine vineyard covers 7.5 hectares (19 acres) and is planted with Sauvignon Blanc (60%), Sauvignon Gris (20%) and Sémillon (20%).

The viticultural methods are chosen to respect Tradition whilst aiming for Perfection. From the choice of the varietals and rootstocks best suited to Lagrange’s soils, to the myriad minutious vine-care tasks carried out through the year, everything concurs to maintain the most regular and eco-friendly production possible. High density of plantation, rigorous pruning, de-leafing, thinning out in July and traditional ploughing all contribute to ensure the grapes produced are rich and concentrated. The traditional hand picking allows us to sort the bunches and ensure that only the best of them arrive whole and healthy at the vat cellar.

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Winemaking

A subtle blend of tradition and modernity : these notions come together at harvest-time. The harvest is firstly handpicked into individual crates and then sorted both manually and by an optical sorting machine. Here we see Technology at the service of Excellence. Traditional Bordeaux vinification is carried out in 92 temperature-controlled stainless steel vats of varying capacities, thus allowing a separate vinification to respect the character of each plot and soil-type, each terroir. Placing all or part of a given plot into its own vat means we are able to harvest it at optimum ripeness. This level of precision ensures the perfect quality of fruit necessary for the production of exceptional wines.

The total vatting time, established by tasting, varies from 16 to 28 days, depending on the tannic development in the fermenting wines.
The temperature of fermentation never exceeds 28°C to guarantee preservation of the finesse and fruitiness.
The selection of press wine is performed “barrel by barrel“ allowing a wider choice range during the blend tastings.

 

Following consultation with our oenologist, Eric BOISSENOT, the wines are blended only a few months after harvest, to achieve a better harmonisation of the tannins and plot origins.

The wines are aged in French oak barrels, of which 60% are renewed each year. They are racked in the age-old way every 3 months. During this essential 20-month maturation period, the cellar is maintained at 15°C and the ambient humidity is carefully controlled so that the qualities of each vintage may be exalted.

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lagrange . In a tasting of  55 wines 

Finally, after some busy days tasting back home in Oslo, here is 2016 Margaux. A vintage with a lot of success in this commune as well. Beautiful texture, pure fruits and that gorgeous scented in abundance almost Margaux typicity that is shining very clearly this year. Another stellar commune in 2016.

4m 23d ago

 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lagrange . In a tasting of  161 wines 

Bordeaux 2016 vintage!

5m 6d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lagrange . In a tasting of  272 wines 

BORDEAUX VINTAGE 2016 / Tasting "en primeur" is a challenge every year. The wines tasted are showing a tendency only and it is still the beginning of a longer process of evolution and maturation in the barrels. There might be some changes during the next year and a half until the wines will be bottled, but already today the tendency is quite clear. For most of the red wines it will be an outstanding vintage, a vintage for Cabernet, old vines, limestone and clay soil. It was a challenging year for the vintners. An incredibly wet spring was worrying the winegrowers and at the beginning of June, the spirits were down. However warm and dry weather between June 3 and June 11 creating an close to ideal situation for the flowering and good weather conditions starting in mid June changed the nature of the vintage. The fine weather continued into July and August. The month of August was featuring hot weather and a remarkable amount of sunshine but the absence of rain let to water stress. Heavy rain in mid September set an end to water stress and when the sun returned on September 20 the vintage was saved as there was excellent weather till to the end of the harvest. The effects were various. the white wines are on a good quality level and display fruit and flavour but the acidity is lower than in previous vintages and the white wines show an opulent and rather soft style. The noble sweet wines are extremely pure and are more on the rich and powerful side than on the freshness. For the red wines originating from the right terroirs and old vines, the vintage an be called outstanding. Water stress was managed well on limestone and clay terroirs, Cabernet varieties did extremely well and old vines found water even during the stressful dry periods of summer. In some few red wines the tannins are slightly harsh, almost bitter, a result of water stress and/or intense extraction. In general the red wines are on an excellent level with an advantage for the left bank, mainly the Médoc area, and the classic great terroirs of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. 

5m 6d ago

 Björnstierne Antonson / sommelier, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lagrange . In a tasting of  31 wines 

Bordeaux notes from vintages 1995 -2011 

6m 10d ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lagrange . In a tasting of  104 wines 

“Bordeaux Vintage 2015 Part I / Vieux Château Certan 2015:100 points: Deep colour. Fresh aromatic musky dark plum aromas with praline, fine espresso, vanilla oak. Sweet dark cherry, musky plum praline violet flavours, beautiful long fine chalky silky tannins, superb savoury oak complexity and mid palate viscosity.  Fine dry grainy finish with beautiful flavour length. A very sophisticated wine with lovely freshness and line. Finesse and elegance. ”

1y 5m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Lagrange . In a tasting of  502 wines 

“2015 will be one of the excellent vintages however hardly to compare to 2009 and 2010 or 2005. In 2015 the region played a major role, terroir was the key to success. For red wines, the limestone plateau in Saint-Emilion performed extremely well as there was water available during the hot summer days and drainage proved to be ideal during rainy August. Therefore the best wines of Saint-Emilion come from limestone soils. The sandy parts of the appellation produced a quite heterogeneous result. In Pomerol it looked the same with very successful wines from the central plateau and more heterogeneous qualities from the areas around. In Fronsac it was not only the terroir which proved important, the vintners decision had a major impact. Pessac-Léognan did extremely well in this vintage with a homogenous quality. The Médoc was divided. The southern part, mainly Margaux and the southern part of Saint-Julien have seen less rain and produced more powerful wines. The northern part of the Médoc, especially Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe have produced a very fine and elegant style with excellent persistence. On the good terroirs, the seeds were ripe which results in very ripe tannins with a silky or velvety expression. In addition the cooler conditions of autumn provoked a very pure and fresh fruit. For the dry white wines the quality depends very much on the origin again. Due to the hot and dry growing season, a lot of white wines show very mild, almost soft acidity but also some phenolic hints in the aftertaste. A few dry white wines are standing out, having preserved freshness and acidity. The sweet wines are remarkably good, very rich in character and the best of them have a crisp acidity balancing the opulent sugar. The tasting conditions were rather good, however the weather was quite mixed affecting the presentation of the wines. The wines were tasted blind where possible and open. The final decision on the rating is based on both tasting types.”

1y 5m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lagrange . In a tasting of  124 wines 

“Today’s Bordeaux 2013 tasting was very interesting. Margaux and Saint-Julien are performing much better than in the primeur tasting.”

1y 8m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lagrange . In a tasting of  193 wines 

“Bordeaux Primeurs 2015 / Vintage 2014 wines from 88-94 points”

2y 5m ago

 Jan-Erik Paulson, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lagrange . In a tasting of  18 wines 

“Château Marquis de Terme 1961:Good spicy nose with a touch of tar. Voluptous. Great surprise. 97 its and then Château Lafleur
Fabulous nose. A great wine! 100 pts.”

2y 7m ago

 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lagrange . In a tasting of  22 wines 

“The Vine Club's legendary January tasting did amaze again - wines from three centuries! Impeccable champagnes such as Veuve Clicquot 1929 and Comtes de Champagne 1959, superb whites Comtes Lafon Puligny-Montrachet Champ Gain 1997 from and Coche Dury Meursault 2002, charming fresh reds from Harlan 2009 and Le Pin 1989, and so seductive Cheval Blancs from 1899 and 1959. Latour 1979 stood well in the bunch with its always so glorious majesty.”

3y 8m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lagrange . In a tasting of  27 wines 

“Lots of warm feelings, laughs, talks and excellent wines. A good start to a Fine year. The most positive surprises were Sassicaia 1976, Veuve Clicquot 1929 and Comptes de Champagnes 1953, 1959 and 1966.”

3y 8m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lagrange . In a tasting of  17 wines 

“1990 Solare Capannelle This wine was officially made as an exclusive house wine for three Michelin star restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence. It was not until 1996 vintage onwards when Solare stood out from exclusivity of Enoteca Pinchiorri available for domestic and international markets. Wine bases on Sangiovese grapes and has been aged almost two years in French oak. Although wine derives from heart of Chianti Classico zone from Gaiole, it is still labelled as IGT Tuscany wine due to its non-traditional vinification methods.Developed, medium-intense cherry red colour with brown tints. Wonderfully developed nose with nutty, leathery and cherry aromas with hints of violets and spiciness. Medium-bodied palate is completed with fresh acidity, firm powdery tannins and moderately intense fruitiness with cherries and plums. Floral and spicy flavours with hints of earthiness and black olives. Very mineral long restrained finish – true terroir Sangiovese, authentic style for Capannelle wines. Beautifuly matured wine which has harmonious balance that will keep still for few years before starting to decline.”

4y 6m ago

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