The 2005 Lynch-Bages is a surprising wine. Whereas so many 2005s have begun to enter their first plateau of early maturity, the 2005 comes across as still young and in need of further cellaring! The purity of the fruit is striking. Readers who want to get the full Lynch-Bages experience will have to wait at least a few more years. The 2005 is a wine of substance and depth, with all of the raciness that is typical of this wine. It is one of the dark horses of the vintage, and still has room to go. Impressive.
Drink 2028 - 2048
Antonio Galloni, vinous.com (Apr 2021)
Open aromatics, tobacco, cigar, full of picture-perfect Pauillac mint leaf, cassis, bilberry, plum and smoked cedar oak. A little austere but with real clarity of fruit that builds through the palate alongside muscular tannins that promise a long life ahead. You have needed to be patient with most Pauillac 2005s, and this will go for another 30 years, but it is starting to get to the point when the Cabernet Sauvignon becomes thirst-quenching and finessed rather than forbidding. A brilliant wine. 80% new oak.
Drink 2022 - 2044
Jane Anson, janeanson.com (Mar 2022)
As for the 2005 Lynch-Bages, it is a sexy, surprisingly soft and accessible style of wine, with a deep ruby/purple color, loads of crme de cassis, cedar wood and forest floor notes, medium to full body, ripe tannin and a long, fleshy finish. Drink it over the next 15+ years.
Drink 2015 - 2030
Robert M. Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate (Jun 2015)
Tasted blind. Dark crimson. Nice, attractive, sweet violet-cachou aroma – a Pauillac 2005 with some real interest! Juicy and glamorous. Very transparent.
Drink 2016 - 2040
Jancis Robinson, jancisrobinson.com (Mar 2017)
A meaty and decadent Lynch with very ripe currant aromas on the nose. Full body, velvety-textured tannins and a powerful finish. It shows so much structure and fruit yet remains polished and focused. Lovely now to drink but better in 2017.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Nov 2015)
Almost forward but still young; spicy cassis lifts and lengthens its rich dark berry flavours. One of the best Lynch-Bages ever.
Drink 2018 - 2040
Ian D'Agata, Decanter.com (Oct 2014)
About this WINE
Château Lynch Bages, a 5ème Cru Classé, is one of the best-known Médoc estates and has always had a particularly strong following on this side of the English Channel. Since 1973 it has been owned by the enigmatic Jean-Michel Cazes and is now run by his son, Jean-Charles.
Lynch Bages's vineyards are superbly sited on a plateau west of Pauillac town, in the small village of Bages. The 90 hectares of vineyards (Red: Cabernet Sauvignon 75%, Merlot 15%, Cabernet Franc 10%) lie on deep gravel beds over limestone. For the reds, fermentation is temperature-controlled with extensive 'remontage' to ensure concentration and depth of colour. A special system of pipes transfers the wine from the cuves to the oak barriques (60% new) where it matures for 15 months.
Lynch Bages can be surprisingly soft and approachable when young. However, when fully mature, it develops a succulent richness and a heavenly bouquet of minty blackcurrants and cigar boxes. As Oz Clarke says "Lynch Bages is impressive at five years, beautiful at ten years and irresistible at twenty."
Pauillac is the aristocrat of the Médoc boasting boasting 75 percent of the region’s First Growths and with Grand Cru Classés representing 84 percent of Pauillac's production.
For a small town, surrounded by so many familiar and regal names, Pauillac imparts a slightly seedy impression. There are no grand hotels or restaurants – with the honourable exception of the establishments owned by Jean-Michel Cazes – rather a small port and yacht harbour, and a dominant petrochemical plant.
Yet outside the town, , there is arguably the greatest concentration of fabulous vineyards throughout all Bordeaux, including three of the five First Growths. Bordering St Estèphe to the north and St Julien to the south, Pauillac has fine, deep gravel soils with important iron and marl deposits, and a subtle, softly-rolling landscape, cut by a series of small streams running into the Gironde. The vineyards are located on two gravel-rich plateaux, one to the northwest of the town of Pauillac and the other to the south, with the vines reaching a greater depth than anywhere else in the Médoc.
Pauillac's first growths each have their own unique characteristics; Lafite Rothschild, tucked in the northern part of Pauillac on the St Estèphe border, produces Pauillac's most aromatically complex and subtly-flavoured wine. Mouton Rothschild's vineyards lie on a well-drained gravel ridge and - with its high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon - can produce (in its best years) Pauillac's most decadently rich, fleshy and exotic wine.
Latour, arguably Bordeaux's most consistent First Growth, is located in southern Pauillac next to St Julien. Its soil is gravel-rich with superb drainage, and Latour's vines penetrate as far as five metres into the soil. It produces perhaps the most long-lived wines of the Médoc.
Ch. Lafite-Rothschild, Ch. Latour, Ch. Mouton-Rothschild, Ch. Pichon-Longueville Baron, Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Ch. Lynch-Bages, Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Ch, Pontet-Canet, Les Forts de Latour, Ch. Haut-Batailley, Ch. Batailley, Ch. Haut-Bages Libéral.
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.