The 2021 La Lagune was picked from September 23 until October 12, from a biodynamically run vineyard due for certification in 2023, and matured in 50% new oak. It suffered a little frost damage at the beginning of the season but very little mildew. The Cabernet was deleafed and yields controlled (30hL/ha) in order to achieve ripeness. This has plenty of brambly red berry fruit on the nose, along with wild strawberry and tayberry; sous-bois and freshly rolled tobacco scents unfold with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with a slightly austere opening, modest depth, noticeable acidity and peppery red fruit toward the finish, which leaves a residual bitterness on the aftertaste. Maybe a little rustic after preceding vintages, this will just need to fill out during élevage.
Drink 2026 - 2045
Neal Martin, vinous.com, (May 2022)
Pretty nose with what appears to be a good concentration of fruit. Pure and precise on the palate, the tannins smooth and rounded. Compact and harmonious with adequate mid-palate fruit and length on the finish. Bravo.
Drink 2027 - 2038
James Lawther, jancisrobinson.com (May 2022)
A pretty middle-weight, the 2021 La Lagune offers up inviting aromas of sweet berries and plums mingled with hints of licorice, loamy soil, raw cocoa and cigar wrapper. Medium-bodied, ample and succulent, it's fleshy and seamless, with an ample core of fruit, bright acids and melting tannins. A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot, it checks in at a modest 12.5% alcohol. Tasted four times, twice at the château.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (Apr 2022)
Love the beatiful sappy blue fruit that runs through the glass here, and there is character and depth through the palate. Silful winemaking with a feeling of precision, and an impressive tannic frame that holds things in place even while the fresh acidities splice through the fruit and brings things to a finish a little abruptly. 30hl/h yield. Tasted twice.
Drink 2026 - 2040
Jane Anson, janeanson.com (May 2022)
About this WINE
Chateau La Lagune
Château La Lagune is a 3éme Cru Classé property that produces some of the finest wines in the Haut-Médoc AC. La Lagune's history dates back to 1715 when its handsome château was constructed. The vineyards were first planted in 1724.
La Lagune had hit hard times and fallen into disrepair when Georges Brunet bought it in 1954. He replanted the vineyards and totally renovated the chai. By the time he sold it to the Ayala Champagne firm in 1961, the property had been transformed.
La Lagune is the first property you pass driving out of Bordeaux on the Route de Vins. It is in fact only 15 kilometres from Bordeaux city. There are 72 hectares of vineyards planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (20%), Cabernet Franc (10%), and Petit Verdot (10%). The grapes are fermented in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks and the wine is then aged in oak barriques (70-80% new) for 15-18 months.
Despite being as visually unprepossessing as the rest of the Médoc (despite its grandiose châteaux) this large red-wine appellation of Haut-Médoc is home to some of the world’s greatest wines. Its 4,500 hectares of vineyards form a largely continuous strip that follows the Gironde from St Seurin-de-Cadourne, just north of St Estèphe, to Blanquefort in the northern suburbs of Bordeaux.
All the great communes of the Left Bank fall within its boundaries: Margaux, St Julien, Pauillac and St Estèphe, as well as the up and coming Moulis and Listrac. These are labelled under their own, more illustrious and expensive appellation names. Châteaux labelled simply as Haut-Médoc rarely reach such heights, but nevertheless offer consistently good quality and offer some of the best value in Bordeaux.
Haut-Médoc wines tend to be firm and fine with generous fruit and a nice minerality – what many would consider ‘classic Claret’. They come from loftier vineyards and offer higher quality and more complexity than those labelled simply as ‘Médoc’. Almost all wines are a blend of the principal varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc – which helps producers hedge their bets if the slightly capricious climate causes one variety to fail. Small amounts of Petit Verdot, Malbec and even Carmenère are also used.
The higher proportion of sand and gravel to the south tends to produce finer wines, while the heavier clay and gravel north of Margaux yields sturdier examples. The best Haut-Médocs are found north of Ludon, a village just below Margaux. These include five classified Growths: Third Growth Ch. La Lagune, underperforming Fourth Growth Ch. la Tour Carnet and Fifth Growths Ch. Cantemerle, Ch. Camensac and Ch. Belgrave – as well as a number of fine Cru Bourgeois. Ageing ability varies but the lesser wines are usually delicious after three to four years, lasting around a decade, while the Cru Classés have a drinkability window of around six to 15 years.
Recommended Châteaux (labelled as Haut-Médoc): Ch. Beaumont, Ch. Belgrave, Ch. Cantemerle, Ch. Peyrabon
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.