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Château Lagrange


Address: 33250 St Julien-Beychevelle

Telephone: +33 (0)5 56 73 38 38



Château Lagrange has been of the best value fine wines in the Médoc. Lots of investment over a twenty-five year period by the Japanese Suntory group has resulted in a reliable and very fine wine. The 1996, 2000, 2005 and 2009 are terrific. Super-second quality here at a third growth price. The style of the wine is intense and pent up when young but after ten years or so reveals that wonderful St Julien cedar and tobacco complexity. More recent vintages [2011-2014] appear to have a more compact, reticent demeanour. The second wine Les Fiefs de Lagrange.

Vineyard/Terroir: 115 hectares on siliceous gravel with a clay-limestone subsoil planted with 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot. Hand-picked and sorted.

Winemaking/Elévage: Fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel vats and is subsequently barrel aged for around twenty months in 60% new oak.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Deep colour; fresh looking; creamy blackcurrant aromatics; attractive cassis notes; mid-weight on the palate; composed with attractive fruit; harmonious with ripe tannins. Best recent vintage here for me. [75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 13.2% alc]. Drink 2023-2032. 90-92+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated look; purple at edge; fresh looking; resinous nose; some fruitcake notes; little VA lift; blackcurrants; some liquorice; bit chewy and sinewy in the middle; feels extracted by comparison – at least meaner…not that attractive at present. Shortish finish too. What’s happening at Lagrange. Recent set of vintages have been hard going early on. 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot 13.5% alc. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted UGC 31 March, 2015. 86-88
  • 2013 Deep at core; vibrant purple at edge; some resin; cereal tones and blackcurrants; inky palate which feels grippy and rather chewy. Acidity and tannin giving rather chewy aspect to the end palate. [75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot]. Tasted UGC 1/4/14. Drink 2018-2025. 86-88
  • 2012 Mid depth; clean and quite precise blackcurrant tones; quite linear; some vigour and freshness to the palate; blackcurrants flavours again; polished and reasonably creamy mid palate; nicely made mid-term prospect. Drink 2017-2025. 89+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; dumb, little dusty;  palate quite tight and astringent; chewy and lacks appeal; may fill out [I certainly hope so] but not much joy here at present. 86-87 Tasted Thursday April 11, 2013 [Earlier note – better] Mid depth; some meal, earth and mineral; little neutral overall though; palate mid-weight; earthy notes; ripeness and nice-ish chew at the back. 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot. Tasted Tuesday April 9, 2013 87-89
  • 2011 Mid depth; wet rocks; some blackcurrants; chewy palate with lots of extract and tannin. Very tight presently. Closed and compact. Needs time. Drink 2018-2028 86+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and dark, saturated and tight to edge; slightly stalky note, blackcurrants, dense; layers here but pent up and not at all flamboyant or as fresh and blackurranty as Léoville Barton or Langoa but still some style; palate good, some density and chew with blackcurrant fruit; plenty of structure but not overdone. Some tannin at the end. Good effort. Tasted twice at UGC. 88-90+ Apr ’12 UGC primeur tasting
  • 2010 Deep and dense; creamy blackcurrant fruit; sturdy and firm; ink and blackcurrant notes dominate the aromatics; palate has a good texture; blackcurrants and ink again; will be good. Drink 2018-2030. 91+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Mid depth; deep core; quite firm, pure; blackcurrants; nice pure seam of fruit; Cabernet freshness; linear; concentrated and focused palate; structured with plenty of grip and tannin. Vin de garde. Needs ten years. 91+ UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep saturated colour; real cassis and blackcurrants on the nose; deep but feels very tight and intense; dense palate, really intense, feels extracted and tannic with grip but enough depth. Lots of extract and tightly woven. Quite grippy. Needs to settle 88-90?/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 UGC [Second Tasting UGC] Deep and dense; purple edge; creamy, some cassis notes; blackcurrants on aeration; deep and quite cool and fresh; creamy deep wine, concentrated and intense; grippy. Chewy and intense wine – typically pent up for Lagrange early on but more so in 2010. Extract too and tannins. More settled than first sample. 90-92+/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Deep; resin, some stone and mineral notes; quite restrained; some spicy blackcurrants; blackcurrants on the palate; nice chew and density. Feels like it is at a more awkward stage. Plenty of structure and material here. Solid but lacks a bit of excitement compared to the rest though. Drink 2019-2030 90 MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and dense; creamy ripe nose; layered and nicely mannered; pure and not turbocharged this may very well prove to be as good as the phenomenal 2005 and 2000; excellent palate, fresh and with grip; lots of blackcurrant fruit; tight; meaty and structured; this has put on weight and should turn out very well. 93+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Deep purple black; intense and concentrated nose; tight and dense; very pure and very ripe fruit; cassis; a little pent up compared to the Leoville Barton and Gruaud Larose; minerals and chalk too; focused again; lots of ripeness here on the palate; tight with some oak tannins at the back. Lots of extract and grip. Should be excellent. Not that showy. Good length. May merit higher score. 92+/100. Tasted 30th March & 1st April ’10 UGC Primeur tasting.
  • 2008 Mid depth; some leafy blackcurrant fruit with spices; sweet and ripe palate; quite dry on the finish but pretty good effort. Clean fruit and complete. 89+ MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Mid red; dark at core, purple at edge; very intense nose, sturdy with red fruits, stones and minerals, quite pure; very clean and attractive in that classical, pent-up Lagrange style; blackcurrant and some mint; really good mouthful; lots of extract but nicely handled tannin; some chew at the back, very attractive with good balancing acid. Excellent. 92+/100 UGC Oct ’10.
  • 2007 Deepish; dark centre; legs; ripeness here on the nose; layers if flavour; feels glossy, plush almost and some oak influence; blackcurrant fruit on the palate with real chew and guts but has sufficient stuffing and guts to fill out the evident structure. Some length on the finish. Very good effort. 90/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier] Mid red; little dumb; some creamy blackcurrant, some resin and tar but subdued; quite tannic and dense at present on the palate; chewy. Needs a few years here to soften. Clean and precise flavours. Tannin high though high feels ripe. 87-88/100 UGC London tasting Oct ‘09
  • 2006 Deep and dark, little more lifted and oaky on the nose compared to the two Barton wines; slightly more higher toned and lifted nose; some strawberry and red fruits and also blackcurrants; with also mocha and espresso notes at the back; blackcurrants come later; palate feels polished and neat, to a degree still compact and taut and needs to unfurl, but lots of depth here and structure, palate quite ‘worked’ but retains freshness. Good grip and intensity with good length. Classic. 92+/100 MW Institute Nov ’10.
  • 2005 Deep red, purple at rim, concentrated and dense but with life; initially quite pent up, some stones and minerals; blackcurrants and sweetness beneath but quite dumb to begin with; with aeration wonderful ripeness and density emerged, both on the nose and palate; really intense palate; this is a fine structured wine with layers and lots of extract; very well handled and coiled tightly but which will unwind beautifully. Palate very substantial and concentrated – this is a 05 very much in its shell. Lots of fruit to the palate and wonderfully judged extraction here – a wine with pretentions to greatness. This is certainly the best wine here since the fantastic 2000, although if the 2009 puts on more weight than I felt that it had at the en primeur tastings earlier this year it may yet give this wine a run for its money. Still this is a dead cert for lovers of serious, ambitious but still good value St Julien. Go buy it now! 95/100  Tasted June 2010
  • 2003 Deep black/red; pent-up and intense nose; roses; blackcurrants and fine oak well integrated; palate layered but taut and a little woody at first, fleshed out later; not as lush, complex or as aromatic as 2000. Very good. 90/100 Oct ‘09
  • 2000 Dark black, arterial; legs; wonderful nose offers up tobacco, new oak, earth, tar and liquorice; layers of flavour on the palate with really concentration and intensity; still pent up with much power and elegance. Later smoked meats on the palate. Quite terrific. Real length and concentration to the finish. Much more open at this stage than the 1996. Fantastic. 95/100 May ’06
  • 1996 Mid depth in colour with wonderful St Julien nose of tobacco, savoury notes and later merlot came out with pronounced chocolately mocha notes. Real length and finesse to this wine with lovely finish. Just hitting its stride. Wonderful, fine claret.  93-94/100 Feb ’08 [Earlier note] Deep arterial black, intense inky nose, later cassis and cedar, but savoury and also redolent of smoked meats – palate full and intense, blackcurrant, tobacco, tar and full but ripe tannins. This is a superb wine which will develop into a wonderful St Julien and last till 2020+. Terrific. 93+/100 Aug 09
  • 1978 Sweet; more St Estephe than St Julien, some earth; mid-weight; fine tannins. Soft palate. Very good – and well before the Suntory upswing from ’83 onwards. 88/100 Apr ‘96
  • 1966 Brown; dusty tannic old claret nose; no fruit on the palate to speak of; drying out with old, stale flavours. Very tired wine. Probably best drunk in the first ten years of its life and even then probably tough and austere. 65?/100 Apr ’05

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