The 2015 Lynch Bages is fashioned from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. This doesn't quite have the refinement of the very best 2015s, but this is nonetheless a wonderful, large-scale Lynch Bages made for the long term. The bouquet is brooding and serious with lots of floral, mineral infused black fruit. Hints of liquorice, graphite and bright cranberries intersperse the mass of coaly crème de mûre fruit. Swathes of restrained, well measured inky black fruit, notes of earth and violets tease the palate. This is powerful, concentrated stuff yet there is a sappiness, freshness and elegance that keeps this vital and mouth-watering. The smooth stone tannins are large scale, even profound and provide a lasting impression of fruit.
Jean-Charles Cazes became the tenant at Lynch Bages in 1934, later purchasing the estate and starting a program of investment, restoring the Chateau and undertaking much work in the vineyards. The estate has since prospered, becoming recognised globally, but being particularly popular in the UK market. The estate is now run by Jean-Charles’ great grandson, Jean-Charles.
There are three principle plots, one between the village of Bages and the outskirts of Pauillac, one to the west of Bages towards Grand Puy Lacoste, and the final plot lies at the south of the commune close to St Julien. In all there are approximately 100 hectares under vine on classic Gunzian gravel over marl, chalk and sand. The vineyards are planted with 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Recent vintages have seen the estate returning to its very best form, not that they have ever really suffered any loss of form. This 5th growth estate has always been an over-performer, but recent efforts would suggest that the wines are on a par with the ‘Super Seconds’.
It is also worth mentioning their excellent second wine, Echo de Lynch Bages. This was previously called Haut Bages Averous. Since the 2008 vintage, Echo along with the excellent Ormes des Pez offers drinkers the Lynch Bages style at a fraction of the cost.
The Cabernet Sauvignon domanates the appellation, in fact some might justifiably call Pauillac the most classical expression there is of Cabernet based Claret. It is sandwiched between St-Julien to the south and St-Estèphe to the north, a stone’s throw from the Gironde Estuary. The excellent drainage of the intensely gravely soils are the key to quality, producing some of the world’s most long-lived wines. The First Growths of Latour, Lafite and Mouton-Rothschild are found here, while other great Châteaux include Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande, Pontet Canet, Lynch-Bages and Grand-Puy-Lacoste.