Learn everything about Chateau Lagrange St. Julien, Bordeaux wine producer, Third Growth, with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tip. Learn the best vintages, a history of the property, information on vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles
Chateau Lagrange History, Overview
Chateau Lagrange started out life as Maison Noble de Lagrange Monteil as far back as the middle ages. Historical documents mention the future Bordeaux chateau as far back to 1631. During the 18th century, the picturesque estate was the property of the Baron de Brane. The Baron was better known for counting among his holdings, Brane Cantenac and Brane Mouton, which we are more familiar with as Chateau Mouton Rothschild today. When the Baron was in charge of the estate, the wines were sold as Baron St. Julien. Like most Bordeaux vineyards, the property passed though numerous hands. For a time, it belonged to John Lewis Brown who owned Chateau Cantenac Brown in Margaux, as well as Chateau Brown in Pessac Leognan.
However, Chateau Lagrange did not become well-known for producing wine until 1842. That is when the owner, Count Duchatel added a drainage system in the vineyard. This helped improve the wine immensely. While drainage in vineyards is commonplace today, that was very forward thinking in 1842.
Deep in debt, the owners began breaking up the estate, selling portions of their vineyard to survive. The first major sale took place in 1840. Those sales caused Chateau Lagrange to downsize from its massive 280 hectares to a manageable 157 hectares. That sale would not be the last time Chateau Lagrange reduced their Medoc vineyards. In 1970, 32 hectares were sold to Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou. Other parcels were sold to Henri Martin for use in Chateau Gloria. By 1983, the remaining holdings of Lagrange were purchased by the large, Japanese company, Suntory from the Cendoya family, who had owned Chateau Lagrange since 1925.
Chateau Lagrange the Modern Age
The sale was a good decision for the Left Bank chateau. Suntory brought the funds needed to renovate the wine making facilities and replant the vineyards. Once the new owners took over the property, they spent massive sums of money to modernize the wine making facilities and replant the vineyards. They had no choice as the buildings were dilapidated and of the vineyard was in dire need of replanting. Under the direction of Marcel Ducasse, the director of Chateau Lagrange from 1993 to 2007, the vineyard expanded from 48 planted hectares to 138 planted hectares. The vine density was also increased as more than 100,000 new vines were added to the vineyard. In 1985, the new owners also began producing a second wine, Les Fief de Lagrange.
Chateau Lagrange made numerous improvements in 2008 and underwent extensive renovations again that included modernizing their entire wine making facilities and cellars in 2013. All the effort and investment expended by Suntory has allowed Chateau Lagrange to produce a much better wine.
Chateau Lagrange Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The large 182 hectare estate of Chateau Lagrange is planted to 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot. The Petit Verdot was added to the vineyards in 1988. Over the years, the vineyard has continued to increase their percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard in total has 118 hectares under vine in Saint Julien. The vineyard is one massive block of vines that can be divided into 102 different parcels. However, the easiest way to think of Chateau Lagrange is by knowing all their vines are dispersed over 2, gently sloping, gravel hillsides, well placed in the west of the Saint Julien appellation, close to Chateau Gruaud Larose and Chateau Branaire Ducru. At the peak of their vineyards, the hillsides reach up to 24 meters, which puts their vines at the highest elevation in the St. Julien appellation. Today, the average age of the vines is more than 35 years of age. The terroir is gravel, sand and clay soils.There are also parcels with deposits of iron. The vineyard is planted to a vine density of 8,500 vines per hectare. They use optical sorting technology during the harvest.
Chateau Lagrange Winemaking
To produce the wine of Chateau Lagrange, vinification takes place temperature controlled, stainless steel vats that range in size. The 98 vats range in size allowing for parcel by parcel vinification. The smallest vats are 66 hectoliters with the largest vats coming in at 220 hectoliters. The grapes are vinified using co-inoculation. The selection of the press wine is performed by adding it on a vat by vat basis. The wine is aged in 60% new, French oak barrels for up to 21 months before bottling.
White Wine of Chateau Lagrange
Additionally, Chateau Lagrange is one of the few Saint Julien properties to produce a white Bordeaux wine. They have 7 hectares of vines used to make dry, white Bordeaux wine. Those 7 hectares are planted to 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Gris. They removed all of their Muscadelle vines. The white wine of Lagrange, which began production in 1996 is sold under the name of Les Arums de Lagrange.
On average, all together, Chateau Lagrange produces almost 60,000 cases of wine per year. There is a second wine, Les Fief de Lagrange which made its debut in 1985. In 2012, the estate added a new wine to their portfolio from vines located in the Haut Medoc appellation. Produced from an 18 hectare vineyard they recently purchased in the Haut Medoc appellation, the wine is sold under the aptly descriptive name of Haut Medoc de Lagrange.
The best vintages of Chateau Lagrange are: 2016, 2015, 2010, 2009, 2006, 2005 and 2000. Perhaps, because of its large size, which gives it various types of terroir, Chateau Lagrange is not always consistent. It is a wine to look for in the top years.
When to Drink Chateau Lagrange, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Chateau Lagrange is not a wine that is fun too drink on the young side. The wine is too powerful and tannic in its youth. Young vintages can be decanted for an average of 2-3 hours, give or take. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Lagrange is usually better with at least 8-10 years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage character. Chateau Lagrange offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 10-25 years of age after the vintage.
Serving Chateau Lagrange with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Chateau Lagrange is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Chateau Lagrange is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Lagrange is a perfect match with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta as well as cheese.
Château Lagrange (St. Julien) Wine Tasting Notes
22 Vintages 129570 Views Sort Vintage - Rating
A Truman Capote In Cold Blood kind of red, Zoe Saldana rolling the tobacco leaf, a bowl of dark red fruits with a few perfect stems of crunchy black currants. There is a freshness to the fruit and ripeness to the tannins that make this vintage a celebrity. The wine has crunch and zest and the finish offers a nice bite of tang and temptation. The wine was made from blending 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot.
Apr 29, 2017points - Tasted 2470 Views
Deep ruby in color, this full-bodied wine is packed with crisp, crunchy cassis and black fruits. The tannins are present but ripe and the fruit has freshness and persistence in a slightly stoic but creamy finish. Only 35% of the harvest was placed into the Grand Vin. This wine was produced from a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 8% Petit Verdot, reaching 13.3% alcohol. 90 - 92 Pts
Apr 20, 2016points - Tasted 1902 Views
Fresh, bright and crisp, the cassis and cranberry fruits are made more interesting with the addition of fresh herbs, tobacco and spice. Medium/full bodied, and on the fresh side, this should age nicely.
Feb 2, 2017points - Tasted 2264 Views
With more softness than expected, this medium-bodied wine tastes like you’re biting into a handful of fresh, juicy, ripe, crisp, red fruits with a spray of cassis on top. 88-90 Pts
Apr 16, 2015points - Tasted 2456 Views
Medium bodied, with light, bright, crisp red cherries and cranberry, this light, classically styled wine ends with a touch of cedar and peppery, sweet and tart red berries in the finish.
Feb 9, 2016points - Tasted 1076 Views
Light, bright and spicy, this wine is dominated by cherry and fresh strawberry and will be best in its youth. The wine was made from a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot. 86-88 Pts
Apr 20, 2014points - Tasted 1279 Views
Slightly strict, with a classic lean, the crisp, crunchy fruits and tannins should come together and could develop into a softer, more nuanced wine with a few years of age.
Mar 11, 2015points - Tasted 3853 Views
Using 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.5 alcohol. The wine was produced from the lowest yields in the history of the estate at 38 hectoliters per hectare. Only 35% of the harvest was used in the grand vin. Spicy blackberries, cedar and cassis notes end with a tannic, crisp, medium-bodied, cassis filled finish. 89-91 Pts
Apr 23, 2013points - Tasted 2739 Views
The earthy, cranberry, tobacco and cassis perfume pairs with smoky, dark, red berries, herbs and spice in the finish.
Feb 16, 2014points - Tasted 1775 Views
Cassis, cedar, earth and vanilla scents with medium body and round tannins. Soft ripe, cherries are found in finish. 89-91 Pts
Apr 13, 2012points - Tasted 2477 Views
Continuing to develop incely, the showy nose is filled with oak, cassis, spicy, fresh blackberries and thyme. The finish tannic, but the tannins are ripe. The blend of 75% Cabernet and 25% Merlot demands at least another decade in the cellar.
Nov 11, 2014points - Tasted 4910 Views
Soft blackberry, olive, herb, cocoa, oak and black plums open to a fresh, full bodied wine. From a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot, there is some drying sensations in the fresh, crisp, red and black fruit, olive tapenade finish.
Feb 8, 2013points - Tasted 4231 Views
Lagrange is a powerful Bordeaux wine, packed with ripe dark berries and cassis. This concentrated coca and ripe berry flavored St. Julien wine offers freshness and a licorice cassis filled finish. 90-92 Pts
Apr 20, 2011points - Tasted 4375 Views
Oak, licorice, smoky blackberries and cocoa aromas lead to a medium bodied, soft, sweet, round wine with potential. The wine is much better served at close to cellar temperature. The wine was made from a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot.
Nov 11, 2014points - Tasted 5416 Views
Smoke, black pepper, ripe black cherry, earth and plum notes create the aromatics. From a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot, this fresh, medium, earthy, crunchy, cassis filled, tannic wine is beefy in style. It will take time for the tannic wine to develop. This is more classic in style than many 2009 Bordeaux wines.
Feb 5, 2012points - Tasted 7385 Views
From a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot, the wine offers secondary character with its truffle, tobacco, cassis, smoke and citrus nose. But there is a definite sense of under ripeness in the nose and on the palate that could become more noticeable in the future.
Nov 11, 2014points - Tasted 3543 Views
Quite successful for the vintage, this is in its primetime drinking window. Medium bodied, with crisp, red fruits, earthy notes, cedar wood and tobacco, the finish is bright, with hints of pepper, and green herbs, paired with red fruits. There is no reason for further aging.
Sep 2, 2017points - Tasted 1502 Views
Made from a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon and 41% Merlot, the wine is showing some signs of maturity in the nose but not in the mouth, as it's still strict and tannic. On the palate, the wine is firm, masculine and straight forward, with a fresh, juicy cassis personality.
May 25, 2016points - Tasted 3410 Views
It takes some effort to find the coffee, tobacco and cassis scents as the wine is still tight. The wine is medium/full bodied, tannic and demands another 3-5 years of cellaring before coming around. Interestingly, this is one of the rare vintages with no Petit Verdot in the blend.
Dec 26, 2012points - Tasted 5100 Views
Concentrated, structured, tannic, firm and built to age, this powerful, masculine St. Julien is still young. Time and effort were needed before the earthy, coffee, blackberry, fresh herb and tobacco personality began to emerge. This demands at least 5-8 years in the cellar for everything to come together.
Dec 17, 2012points - Tasted 10285 Views
Slightly rustic tannins, classic in style, with a firm character, red berries and cranberry in the finish.
Jan 4, 2015points - Tasted 3005 Views
Just now starting to dry out a bit, there is still plenty of tobacco, cassis, cranberry and earthy notes in the nose, but this is not for long term aging. The tannins are firm and the finish is slightly drying in the end notes.
Dec 18, 2013points - Tasted 4223 Views
With its showy nose of coffee bean, cocoa powder, black cherry, plum jam, tobacco and earth, the wine is starting to soften and open up. From a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot, this stylish wine is probably my favorite of Lagrange to date.
Feb 15, 2013points - Tasted 5571 Views
This has developed quite nicely with its tobacco, smoke, cigar box, blackberry and cedar wood personality. The tannins are ripe, the fruit is ample and fresh, finish with a spicy, cassis and pomegranate note. While fun to taste now, this will get better with a few more years in the bottle.
Jul 25, 2013points - Tasted 3297 Views
Earthy, with blackberries and tobacco in the nose. This medium bodied wine has a distinct green pepper note that is off putting. There is some rusticity to the tannins in the finish. Previous bottles have been better.
Nov 11, 2014points - Tasted 4713 Views
Notes of leaf, olives, tobacco and spicy cassis open to a soft, tannic, full bodied wine that finishes with elements of cocoa powder and fresh cassis. Time will probably add to this wine. I’d give it at least another few years.
Feb 21, 2013points - Tasted 5619 Views
Still deeply colored, with scents of cassis, fennel, earth, stone and spice, this impressive, full bodied wine remains young, fresh and tannic. Masculine in style, additional cellaring will soften this St. Julien wine a bit.
Sep 7, 2011points - Tasted 10520 Views
Fully mature and showing quite well with its tobacco, cigar box, cedar, leaf and cassis charms, there is nice, spice and fresh component in the finish giving it lift and length. The wine was produced from a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot.
Jan 29, 2016points - Tasted 2994 Views
Big, muscular and tannic, the wine offers tobacco, cassis, black cherry and forest floor scents. Traditional in style, from a blend of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot and 12% Petit Verdot, this solid wine is fully mature.
Sep 1, 2011points - Tasted 7476 Views
With a strict leaning, the wine is better on the cedar, leaf, tobacco, wet earth and peppery, red berry nose, than on the austere palate. Fans of older, classic vintage will probably enjoy this more than I did.
Sep 8, 2017points - Tasted 1853 Views
Masculine, tannic and on the lean side, the wine is on the austere, cranberry, cassis and tobacco, old school style range of Bordeaux.
May 28, 2012points - Tasted 3528 Views
Past fully mature, and starting to drop fruit, the wine shows more of its tobacco, earth, cedar, olive, herb and peppery profile, than red fruit. This firm, simple wine, requires drinking before the remaining fruit fades away. Drink up, as this is not going to get better.
Oct 15, 2016points - Tasted 2796 Views
Very little fruit remains, most of what you find is bright, crisp, crunchy, spicy, peppery, tart red berries and cigar box, tobacco and wet earth character. Drink up.
Apr 16, 2016points - Tasted 1527 Views