Address: 33460 Margaux
Telephone: +33 (0) 5 57 88 70 66
Château Lascombes was revolutionised by the Colony Capital group in 2001. For years it languished under the ownership of the UK Bass-Charrington group who purchased it from Alexis Lichine in 1972. Lots of work in the vineyards and a new chais along with all manner of winemaking interventions now produces rich, extractive new wave style Margaux wines. This is not everyone’s cup of tea I’m sure but the wines are a far cry from the hollow, washed out examples produced here in the 1980s and early 1990s – real ambition here with wines to match. Michel Rolland advises. Second wine Chevalier de Lascombes. The property was sold in 2011 for £180 million to a French health insurance group MACSF.
Vineyard/Soils: 84 hectares planted with 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. Three different terroirs – clay/limestone, clay/gravel [Merlot predominant] and gravel [Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot]. Fruut picked into small crates, sorting in the vineyard and the chais.
Winemaking/Elévage: Since 2001 new chais restructured over 4 levels and gravity fed. Smaller fermenters to allow parcel by parcel fermentation. Like Château Charmail there is a pre-fermentation maceration [under carbon dioxide] at a chilly 8C to help colour extraction and retain aromatics, followed by fermentation at 28C and maceration at 30C. Malolactic fermentation in barrel, 80% new French oak. Barrels rotated on racks to keep lees stirred and racked with compressed air every three months [no pumping]. Barrel aged for 18-20 months.
- 2015 Deep, saturated look; typically opaque at centre; saturated aromatics; some marzipan; creamy palate; harmonious and supple tannins; brighter fruit tones on the palate than the aromatics first suggest; lots of extract and matter but tannin supple and well handled. Still the feeling of being rather ‘worked’ in the cellar, but the harmony is there. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 42hl/ha, 75% new oak]. Drink 2020-2030. 91-93
- 2014 Deep and saturated colour; concentrated look; full and fat on the nose; the definition of plump and generous; the wine is full and moves slowly around the glass; pure fruit on the palate; some cream; black fruits; perfume; and very round on the palate but some acidity too; extract and matter but very enjoyable; some warmth at the end – is this really 13.5%? Still a typically full and attractive Lascombes. [50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 13.5% alc, 90% new oak, 60% selection for the grand vin]. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 91-93+
- 2013 Deepish looking; spicy nose; some plums and toast; blackfruits too; similar tones on the palate but a little dry in the middle but overall more stuffing here than Kirwan or Cantenac Brown. Bit extracted overall but let’s see how it settles as Lascombes usually does. Represents 60% of the production. [50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 13% alc]. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted UGCB April 2014. 86-88
- 2012 Deep and saturated looking; colour tight to the rim; full, attractive and perfumed aromatics with some development; full and creamy palate that defines plush, not at all overdone but deliciously full in fruit and flavour; freshness too and structure beneath but this wine makes the most of the vintage’s forward and charming virtues. A crowd pleasing effort. Drink 2015-2028. 93 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; very worked and lifted nose; sublimated style with coffee and mocha notes [oak]; yet [somehow] purity of fruit beneath; violets; palate very lush, plenty of fruit; loads of it in fact; nice texture if in a sublimated, worked style. Lacks a bit of acid? Chewy finish. If they stepped back from the oak and let the fruit express itself this would be so much better for me. 90-91. Tasted UGC Thursday April 11, 2013. [Earlier note] Deep and saturated colour; lots of density but very lush indeed; deep; coffee bean notes from toasty oak; very lush palate, saturated palate but tannins are very fine and it doesn’t come across as over-extracted. Violets too. Chewy finish but good length. 80% new oak, 48% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot 13.3 degrees alc 90-92+ Tasted UGC Tuesday April 9, 2013. Drink 2020-2030
- 2011 Pretty dense and saturated lookinh; attractive nose, spices, ripe Merlot tones [55% Merlot, 40% Cab Sauv and 5% Petit Verdot]. Plump, ripe and almost fat [by comparison]. Fascinating effort. Lots of matter and extract. Chewy finish. Good fruit here though and should settle nicely. Drink 2016-2026. 89+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Saturated colour; malty note; works better; intense, saturated but less jammy, still thick; lots of satiny red fruits on the palate – very big and saturated style; some oak and a little honey; thick and rich overall and lots of extract and material. Chewy on the finish. See how this goes. 88-90 Drink 2020-2030
- 2010 Deep centre; very open and forward; plummy spicy notes; very plush as usual [Merlot 55% dominates the blend]; spicy, briary plummy tones on the palate; not as evidently structured as some [structure partially covered by the lashings of fruit] but plenty of material in a softer style. Drink 2015-2030. 93+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep; red at edge; saturated feel; some violet perfume, earth, spices; integrated; full palate; deep; some grip and texture but sufficient fruit and ripeness here. Works very well and has that increasingly elusive – it seems – Margaux perfume. 92+/100 UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep and dark looking; very ripe nose; strawberry tones; very lush and ripe layers and real ripeness; verging almost towards the overblown; concentration on the palate but lots of tannin and feels very extracted. Dry and extracted palate. Overdone? If settles 88-90?/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Very dense and saturated look; very sweet and strawberry tones; thick nose, on the unctuous side, verging toward jammy; ripe and thick concentrated palate with density but also tannin here. Blackcurrants and cassis but palate on the drying side and tannins seem overdone? 88-90?/100 but only if settles. Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC. Drink 2015-2035+
- 2009 Deep and saturated looking; full, lush nose; toasty oak with plumy, black fruit characters but nice purity with violet lift; very full on the palate with loads of ripe fruit – lashings of it; very full and fruity; toast and espresso on the finish. Not extracted overall, just lush – testimony to the fruit. Almost Burgundian. An impressive effort. Drink 2015-2030. 95+ MW Institute, Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and dense; cherry, violet scented wine with meaty flavours beneath; a big wine; chewy on palate, with violets and density but life and lift too; this is impressive stuff; not delicate but enough juice under the bonnet to support this big style. Big and sexy styled Margaux that works. 93-95+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Arterial in colour; very focused and intense colour; very up front on the nose; layered and concentrated; ripe and full with smoky oak edge; palate very intense and extracted with lots of oak and tannin, but perfume and depth here too. Good extract here; quite extracted style. Could be very good but unlike traditional Margaux? 92-94+ [Second] Big and bold, some lift on the nose from the oak; extracted and bold palate; sweet and ripe and upfront with lots and lots of fruit. Great big extracted red style. Showy. Big dense colour. Lots of coffee and toast from the new oak here; lots of extracted fruit; very deep and layers; again lots of sweet ripe fruit but lots of tannin. Others will give it even more magical scores I’m sure. 92-93+/100 Tasted 30th March & 1st April 2010. Drink now-2030
- 2008 Mid depth; some reddening at edge; earthy maturing nose; quite solid; blackcurrant notes, some cassis; pretty good; lots of depth to the palate; nice chew and density; a worked style but the material warrants it. Purity of fruit comes across despite the cellar antics. Much better than 2006 and 2007 here. Stood out nicely in the line-up. 90+ MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Deep red/black; quite muscular, meaty nose; some stalky blackcurrants beneath; mocha etc but feels a little overworked; some violets on the palate; some freshness of Cab [stalky notes] but also a bit angular and pretty tannic too. 86-88/100 [50% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot] Drink now – 2025 UGC Oct ’10
- 2007 Mid depth; lifted violets and floral tones, feels very Margaux like, quite seductive; some leaf and slightly green coffee bean streak; palate polished, easy and attractive with harmony. This feels a successful effort. 88+/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier] Mid red; big sexy nose here; lots of extract and oak; quite seductive; big palate – violets and damsons here. Good. Quite big but still a feminine quality to the wine. Silky. Extracted yes but it does in this case all add up. Very good in the context of the vintage. 90-92+/100 Drink now-2020 UGC Oct ’09
- 2006 Deep at centre; legs; some reddening at the edge; full nose, meaty and savoury quality quite strong and feels more like St Julien, attractive and big; strawberry fruit on the palate with some oaky coconut notes; lacks a bit of middle and a little drying on the finish; feels like the fruit has been pushed a bit far. Overall lacks flesh in the middle, some perfume and fruit here but a drying wine with tannin on the finish. May come round eventually. 86?/100 Drink 2015-2020 MW Institute Nov ’10