Chateau Lagrange is one of Bordeaux’s ultimate comeback stories. The gorgeous Saint-Julien winery is one of just fourteen Third Growths from the historic 1885 Bordeaux Classification, and it boasts a long and illustrious history. It’s considered one of the ‘crown jewels of Bordeaux’ by many, but for a large portion of the mid-1900’s, it fell into a period of mediocrity.
Then, in the early 1980’s, the Japanese liquor giant Suntory bought the Chateau and decided to dump millions into the winery in an attempt to return it to its former glory. The French weren’t thrilled with the foreign interference, but no one could argue with the money they spent to fix the place up. Even with all the millions of dollars spent, their greatest decision was to give the winemaking duties to Marcel Ducasse. He immediately helped right the ship before launching the winery to never-before-seen heights.
Nowadays, there are few Chateaux in all of Bordeaux, let alone the coveted Saint-Julien AVA, who could boast a resume as impressive as these guys. In the 2018 vintage, their excellence was on full display with a hit parade of big scores led by a 97 from Jeb Dunnuck and a 95 from Parker’s Wine Advocate.
97 Points, Jeb Dunnuck
The flagship 2018 Château Lagrange is a more dense, backward, serious wine, offering an unevolved yet incredibly promising bouquet of cassis, blackcurrants, scorched earth, graphite, and violets. A big, rich, full-bodied Saint-Julien, it delivers thrilling purity of fruit, plenty of background oak, ripe, silky tannins, and a great mid-palate. This is serious stuff, but it’s going to require patience. Hide bottles for 7-8 years, count yourself lucky, and enjoy over the following two decades.
95 Points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Lagrange explodes from the glass with bombastic notes of crème de cassis, chocolate-covered cherries and baked red and black plums with suggestions of rose oil, cedar chest, pencil lead and hoisin. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has fantastic vibrancy for the ripeness, packed with juicy black fruits and compelling tension with a finely grained texture to support, finishing on a lingering mineral note. Nicely done!
94 Points, Decanter
Beautiful reflections through the body of this wine, with fresh acidity, and an attractive sense of uplift through the palate, although the actual fruit is a little subdued right now, which as it opens shows damson and bilberry. There is real tannic frame, and build-up on the finish as you see just how concentrated these dark fruits are. Drinking Window 2026 – 2044