Château Lynch Bages 2016
• Domaine: Château Lynch Bages
• Appellation: Pauillac
• Classification: Fifth Growth, 5ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Château Lynch-Bages is one of the most recognizable properties in Bordeaux. This is due to the tireless exploits of Jean-Michel Cazes, who was quite possibly one of the most active brand ambassadors of all time. This charming, charismatic man dedicated his entire life to a crusade promoting this excellent Fifth Growth Pauillac estate, ensuring everybody knew of the greatness of Château Lynch Bages. Jean-Michel Cazes even agreed to send a half bottle of Château Lynch-Bages to the moon in 1985, making sure it was the first wine in outer space. Yet despite all of the fanfare and brilliant marketing, the truth about the grand vin of Château Lynch-Bages is that the wine is excellent. At this property, the viticultural team doesn’t just talk the talk - they walk the walk.
Château Lynch-Bages derives part of its name from the ancient village of Bages which was a commune for winemakers of many generations. In 1862, the property was sold to the Cayrou brothers who named it after Thomas Lynch, the patriarch of the original family that owned the estate. Château Lynch-Bages was classified as a Fifth Growth in 1855, and less than a hundred years later was acquired by the legendary Jean-Michel Cazes. Jean-Michel Cazes was already very well respected in the Wine Trade due to his ownership of Les Ormes de Pez, a leading Cru Bourgeoise estate located in St-Estéphe. He bought Château Lynch-Bages shortly before World War II and the property has stayed within the Cazes family ever since.
The vineyards were expanded to 100-hectares in the late 1990s and Jean Michel Cazes made sure everything was modernized at Château Lynch-Bages. A new vat room was installed – though the old vat room is still available to visit to this day. In 2017, a massive renovation and modernization of the winery’s technical facilities took place. The project was headed by Chien Chung Pei and Li Chung Pei, sons of the famous architect, I.M. Pei, who designed the glass pyramid for the Louvre (Le Grand Louvre) in Paris. The wine cellar is now a 100% gravity flow facility, with impressive vat rooms that house 80 stainless steel vats in various sizes for parcel-by-parcel vinification. Château Lynch-Bages is one of the most cutting-edge estates in terms of wine technology, using satellite imaging to survey the vineyard and conducting soil surveys to ensure the vines reach their full potential. Château Lynch-Bages also produces a gorgeous white wine, Blanc de Lynch Bages, that is said to be one of the finest white wines in all of Graves.
The wines of Château Lynch-Bages can be enjoyed young but continue to unfold beautifully with time. The vintages have continued to dazzle and impress with their deep color, tannic structure, controlled concentration and impressive sophistication. They are accessible and friendly, but also possess the dignity of the finest Pauillacs.
"The 2016 Lynch Bages is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot with 13.7% alcohol and an IPT of 95, the highest ever for this property and probably one of the highest on the Left Bank this vintage. It was picked between from 27-30 September for the young vines, then the picking team stopped, restarting on 3 October with the Merlot and the Cabernets finished on 12 October. This vintage is matured in 75% new oak. It has a very concentrated, almost opaque bouquet that required some coaxing from the glass, developing floral and crushed limestone scents with time: disarmingly fresh and with stunning vivacity. The palate is concentrated and tannic, although they are not obtrusive and appear neatly embroidered into the multi-layered black fruit. This is a classic Lynch Bages with ambition and recalls vintages like 1990, a Lynch Bages built for long-term ageing. That arching backbone is counterbalanced by the keen line of acidity and a freshness that knows no bounds. There is ethereal delineation and tension on the finish, but I would give this at least ten years in bottle to enjoy this audacious Lynch Bages at its peak. Maybe the biggest surprise of the vintage, this has all the makings of a sensational wine." - Neal Martin, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/28/2017, Issue 230), Ratings: 97-99, Drink:2026-2060
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