The Cinderella of St Julien. So easily overlooked, but one of the most consistent and rewarding wines within the appellation. This is a benchmark Lagrange. Dense purple colour, it has masses of dark cassis fruit aromas and flavours. Deliciously direct, with a fine central tannic core so characteristic of the estate. Classical in every way, in the most positive sense of the word. DR
The 2016 Lagrange is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot that is matured in 50% new oak. The yield came in at 46.5 hectoliters per hectare, lower than in 2015. It has a very well defined bouquet with intense black cherry, red plum, touches of cedar and with continued aeration, a hint of blueberry. It certainly is one of the most expressive Lagrange that I have tasted (and I write that having tasted them all back to the early 1980s). The palate is extremely well balanced with tensile tannin, vibrant and animated with blackberry, crème de cassis, a hint of orange zest. This is a great Lagrange, one that almost "zings" around the senses, barely able to contain the energy. A superior Lagrange to the 2015, this may well rank as the finest produced. Drink Date 2025 - 2060
Dark purple. Quite high apparent volatile acidity. Big and broad but lacks a bit of precision and focus. A tad scrawny on the end. Was everything ripe enough? Dilute finish. The winemaker Matthieu Bordes has since contacted me to assure me that the VA level is low, only 0.31g/l and I will try to re-taste this. Drink 2024-2038
Powerful red with a rich and tannic center palate. Full body, lots of depth and a long and chewy finish. Indeed, this shows potential. Much better than the 2015.
The 2016 Lagrange (Saint-Julien) is soft, pliant and inviting. A gracious midweight Saint-Julien, the 2016 is impeccably balanced. It is also one of the more sensual, graceful wines readers will taste in this appellation. Soft contours, pliant fruit and silky tannins add to that impression. Sweet tobacco, herbs, crushed flowers and dried cherries are all laced into the expressive finish.
In a vintage like 2016 I would hope that the intensity of Cabernet would stand a chance of offsetting the raucous oak regime at Lagrange, and it just about does. Finally, here is a wine that will balance one day without staves sticking out of it like a hedgehog.
Petit Verdot is back in a big way at Lagrange in 2016, adding some backbone to wines that tend to be quite forward in style. This is very grassy and fresh, with well handle 60% new oak, bright acidity and a foundation of tannin. 2024-30
Well positioned next to Gruaud Larose, this property is the largest classified growth in the Médoccomprised of over 112 hectares of vines, all in a single parcel - a rarity in Bordeaux. In 1983 after years of under performing, the château was sold to Suntory, the Japanese drinks group. After much investment in not only the vineyards and chai, but also in the château and gardens, it has emerged as a beautiful swan producing wines that are notable for their ripe, rich characteristics.
St Julien is like the middle child of the Médoc - not as assertive as Pauillac or as coquettish as Margaux. It lies firmly between the two more outspoken communes and as a result produces a blend of them both. St Julien's wines have often been sought out by aficionados for their balance and consistency, particularly in the UK. Yet due to its middle child nature, it can occasionally be overlooked globally and as a result underrated by those markets outside the UK. Despite the fact that it has no first growths, it has several second growths including Léoville Las Cases, Léoville Barton, Léoville Poyferré and Ducru Beaucaillou as well as the celebrated châteaux such as Talbot and Beychevelle.