1989 Château Lagrange (St. Julien) St. Julien Bordeaux France Wine Tasting Note
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.