In the heart of Pauillac and overlooking the Gironde estuary in the Bordeaux region of France, the vineyards of Château Lynch-Bages, Grand Cru Classé, lie of the Bages plateau, on one of the commune’s most beautiful gravel outcrops.
Château Lynch-Bages’ winery dates back to 1850 and is housed in a building from the late 16th century. Lynch-Bages is one of the only chateaux in Bordeaux to have retained their antique and rare pieces of wine producing equipment in what is now a “wine making museum” on the estate.
“In the heart of the Médoc on the banks of the estuary, Pauillac (Gironde, France) has been the true birthplace of Grand Cru Classé wines since 1855. The Lynch-Bages vineyards are planted across 100 hectares in the region. Its enjoys a mild climate, homogeneous geology and a topography of well-defined outcrops in the South and South-West of the town. These factors all contribute to bringing Lynch-Bages’ soils their warmth and excellent natural drainage towards the river which ensures optimum water supply to the vines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, Merlot in some parcels on the banks of the river and in the South of the Chenal du Gaët, or Cabernet Franc. An analysis of Lynch-Bages’ soils has allowed us to define an optimal planting ratio. The average age for vines is 30 years with some being as old as 60.” – http://www.jmcazes.com
“The estate’s reputation as a top quality wine producer took off in 1945 after a series of exceptional vintages. Since then, Lynch-Bages has continued to produce excellent wines, even during years considered difficult in the Bordeaux region. The wine’s deep colour and tannic backbone have become part of its signature style. Jean-Michel Cazes, grandson of Jean-Charles, has worked hard to develop and refine the wine’s supple and smooth structure over the years. Vintage after vintage, the estate’s precise and excellent winemaking techniques have served to firmly establish Lynch-Bages reputation for consistent quality.” – www.jmcazes.com
We were very fortunate at the beginning of our visit to Château Lynch-Bages to meet Jean-Michael Cazes, Proprietor, who notes: “The world of wine and gastronomy embodies almost everything that man values: history, culture, geography and the temperate ocean climate of this peninsula located to the North of Bordeaux. It combines man’s work and the remarkable people who apply their knowhow to producing wine or preparing a meal.”
“Lynch-Bages’ old vat-house represents a rare example of traditional wine making equipment the Médoc area. Its slatted flooring which introduced the advantages of gravitational design now used in modern vat-houses, was invented by Skawinski in 1850. Back then, grapes were transported in a cart pulled by horses and then being lifted by crane and emptied into a wooden tank on wheels and tracks. One or two winemakers inside the tank then crushed the grapes, making the juice flow out through openings into vats on either side. A rope-pulley-bucket system and no less than six workers were then required to remove the leftover grape skins from the fermentation vat. These remarkable winemakers had a hard and quite dangerous job. The last of them was the exemplary Xavier Tibur, who ended his career at Lynch-Bages in 1975.” – www.jmcazes.com
After our extensive tour of the property and winery our tasting began with the 2011 Château Ormes de Pez, from the eponymous winery (also owned by the Cazes family) which lies in the heart of Saint-Estephe’s wine producing area. We then tasted the 2011 Château Lynch-Bages, Grand Cru Classé – Pauillac which showed its future potential through its present youthfulness.