Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tour and Tasting at Château Lynch-Bages in Bages, Bordeaux, France

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Jean-Charles Cazes, Owner of Lynch-Bages, at Château Lynch-Bages in Bages

The 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy PR and WineTours included a tour of and tasting at Château Lynch-Bages.

Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy

On that day, we stayed at Hotel Château Cordeillan-Bages, which belongs to Château Lynch-Bages. Time to relax, to savor the beautiful surroundings and amenities of this Relais and Chateaux hotel. We felt a bit what it is like to be a châteaux proprietor in the Médoc.

After the visit at Château Lynch-Bages, including the museum and the winery, and tasting, we had the menu du terroir at Café Lavinal in Bages, which also belongs to Château Lynch-Bages.

Jean-Charles Cazes, owner of Lynch-Bages, greeted us.

Château Lynch Bages and the Cazes Family

Jean-Charles Cazes, the grandfather of the Jean-Charles we met, purchased Château Lynch Bages and Château Ormes de Pez in St. Estèphe on the eve of the Second World War. Lynch Bages and Ormes de Pez have been run by the Cazes family ever since.

Pictures: Walking from Hotel Château Cordeillan-Bages to Château Lynch-Bages

Until Jean-Charles Cazes took over in 2006, his father, Jean Michel Cazes, was at the helm of the family empire. He was a very influential personality in Bordeaux. Before returning to Pauillac in 1973 to take over the family's insurance and wine interests, Jean-Charles was for 10 years a manager, based in Paris.

In addition to the Cazes family wine interests, from 1987 to 2000, Jean-Michel Cazes developed AXA Millésimes, the wine properties department of the insurance company AXA. French insurance companies are required to invest in French property. Their assets in Bordeaux include Château Pichon Longueville Baron, Château Suduiraut, Cantenac Brown (recently sold) and Chateau Petit Village Abroad they own Quinta do Noval, a Port producer in the Douro Valley in Portugal, and the Tokay producing Disznókő estate in Hungary.

Pictures: In the Museum

In 2003 Jean-Michel Cazes was chosen the "Man of the Year" by the wine magazine Decanter. In 2006, after 33 years in charge of the Cazes family interests, he stepped down, handing over management of the family interests to his son Jean-Charles Cazes. Born in 1974, Jean Charles grew up at Lynch Bages, the last of four children, and the only son.

Jean-Charles Cazes assumed overall responsibility for management of the renowned Cazes family estates and winemaking operations, extending from Bordeaux to southern France and including joint ventures in Portugal and Australia, including the Bordeaux chateaux of Lynch-Bages, Ormes de Pez and Villa Bel-Air; the Michel Lynch brand of Bordeaux varietals; L'Ostal Cazes and the Circus line of wines from the Languedoc; a distribution company, JM Cazes-Selection; Xisto, a joint venture with the Roquette family in Portugal's Douro Valley; and Tapanappa, a joint venture in South Australia undertaken with the Bollinger family of Champagne fame and pioneering Australian winemaker, Brian Croser.

Pictures: In the Cellar of  Château Lynch-Bages

Jean-Michel Cazes continues to lead the wine and tourism division of the family’s activities, notably Château Cordeillan-Bages in Pauillac converted into a hotel and a restaurant of two Michelin stars.

Sylvie Cazes, Jean-Michel Cazes’ sister, is now President of the family group’s Board of Directors. Until last year, she also was Managing Director of Chateau Pichon Lalande and President of the
Union des Grand Cru Classes de Bordeaux (UGCB).

Château Lynch-Bages

Château Lynch-Bages is a Fifth Growth in the village of Bages, just southwest of Pauillac. Jean-Charles Cazes was able to purchase Lynch Bages in 1939.

The history of the estate reflects the interesting history of English and French rule in Aquitaine. The original owners, the Lynch family from Ireland, could trace back their roots to an ancestor who was a companion of William the Conqueror. Without an heir, in 1824 the estate was sold and was in the hands of two other families before the Cazes family took over the property in 1933. Since then, the Cazes family has developed the estate with passion and tenacity and started an in-depth modernisation in the 1980s. They are committed to making the most of the terroir, and are devoted to attain the ultimate in quality and prestige of a classified growth.

The vineyards total 90 hectares, with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The white wine vineyard, planted on 6 hectares, is located to the west, with vines 20 years old on average, it’s composed of 53% Sauvignon Blanc, 32% Semillon and 15% Muscadelle.

Lynch Bages produces 3 wines.

Chateau Lynch Bages, AOC Pauillac, 5th Grand Cru Classe, 25,000 cases.

Echo de Lynch Bages, AOC Pauillac, 10,000 cases, often a blend of 50 to 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 to 30% Merlot and 15 to 20% Cabernet Franc.

Blanc de Lynch Bages, AOC Bordeaux Blanc 4,000 cases. They begun making white wine in 1990.

Château Les Ormes-de-Pez

Château Les Ormes-de-Pez is in the Saint-Estèphe appellation. In the 2003 listing that was later annulled, Château Les Ormes-de-Pez was classified as one of 9 Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnels. It belongs to the group of six former Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel (Château Chasse Spleen, Château Les Ormes de Pez, Château de Pez, Château Potensac, Château Poujeaux and Château Siran) that have decided to remain outside the Cru Bourgeois Classification.

The vineyard area, divided into two blocks north and south of the village of Saint-Estèphe, extends over 33 hectares, with 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot. The annual production is 15,000 cases.

Ormes de Pez was purchased by Jean Charles Cazes in 1927.


2012 Blanc de Lynch Bages

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator, April 8 2013: Shows solid thyme, sweet pea and jicama notes, with a fresh, tarragon-filled finish. Features a stony hint and good cut.

2012 Ormez de Pez

Steven Spurrier, Decanter, April 2013: Dense purple-red and lots of cassis fruit, big fleshy ripeness and good grip for the future.

2012 Echo de Lynch Bages

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator, April 8 2013: Features a light-bodied, floral feel, with bergamot, red currant and bitter cherry at the core. Offers a subtle, perfumy, mineral-tinged finish.

2012 Lynch Bages

Robert Parker - Wine Advocate - April 2013: Some of Lynch Bages's tell-tale cedary, black currant, earth and spice characteristics are present in the 2012's moderately intense bouquet. This wine exhibits good purity, a healthy dark ruby/purple color and medium body. There is a slight deficiency in the mid-palate, but it recovers sufficiently and offers up a decent finish that tails off ever so slightly. This good to excellent wine could use more fat and charm in the mid-section. Cellar it for a couple of years and drink it over the following 12-14 years.

2006 Lynch Bages

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - 94 points (8/ 2011): This classic, powerful, firm Lynch Bages may be as concentrated (if not more so) than the 2005. It possesses a dense purple-tinged color, tell-tale cassis notes interwoven with hints of roast beef, savory herbs, spice box and subtle oak, good acidity and ripe tannin. The result is a full-bodied, fleshy Pauillac that will benefit from another 3-4 years of cellaring. It is capable of lasting 20-25 more years.

Menu du Terroir at Café Lavinal

After the visit at Château Lynch-Bages, including the museum and the winery, and tasting, we had the menu du terroir at Café Lavinal in Bages, which also belongs to Château Lynch-Bages.

Pictures: Menu du Terroir at Café Lavinal in Bages


Picture: Leaving Hotel Château Cordeillan-Bages the Following Morning

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