2022 Château Lynch-Bages, Pauillac, Bordeaux
The 2022 Lynch-Bages was picked on 12 September, around 15 days earlier than usual, until 24 September at around 35hL/ha. Aged for 18 months in 75% new oak, it has a backward nose that demands much encouragement. This is not as immediate as the 2016 or 2019 at the same stage.
Powerful blackberry and boysenberry fruit, cedar, and light tobacco notes feel like an edifice of aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with grippy tannins, beautifully balanced, and very harmonious, yet there is an enormous backbone here that (again) is reminiscent of Mouton.
Extremely long on the finish, this will need its barrel maturation to knit together fully, and it will be a Pauillac for the long haul.
Drink 2032 - 2075
Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2023)
The 2022 Lynch-Bages shows all the classic Lynch layers but dialled up to the maximum. Rich, deep and explosive, the 2022 packs tremendous punch. Sweet dark cherry, spice, leather, menthol, liquorice, plum and mocha all open with time in the glass.
The tannins are imposing, and yet there is more than enough fruit to balance things out, at least to some degree. I expect that 2022 will need a decade to shed some of its tannins, but it is formidable, even in the early going. Impressive. Tasted two times.
"This is the third time in history we are above 14% in alcohol; the others were 2018 and 2019," Jean-Charles Cazes explained.
Drink 2032 - 2052
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2023)
Full on inky purple in colour, this is sculpted and full of character. Intense, not just a reflection of the vintage but in the increasing concentration found in Lynch Bages over the past decade. Delivers so much character, wtih charcoal, soot, campfire, liquorice, slate, bilberry, cassis. Hugely impressive and complex, will age for decades.
As it opens and those fierce tannins loosen their grip a little, the floral character of the Cabernet Sauvignon becomes more clear. It's austere right now, with shoulders and muscles, but I am fully on board. One to wait for. 75% new oak. Harvest September 12 to 24.
Drink 2032 - 2050
Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (May 2023)
66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot. Cask sample.
Aromatically spicy and exuberant, the fruit generous and full. Layers of fruit on the palate backed by an impressive tannic frame. Real power and persistence. Harmonious as well. Long life ahead.
Drink 2032 - 2055
James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (May 2023)
One of the vintage's most powerful, muscular wines is the 2022 Lynch-Bages, a full-bodied, broad-shouldered Pauillac that unfurls in the glass with aromas of cassis, cherries, mint, pencil shavings and petroleum jelly, framed by nicely integrated new oak.
Liberally extracted, its deep core of fruit is underpinned by an imposing chassis of rich, powdery tannin and lively acids. Always rather forbidding from barrel, Lynch Bages always seems to come together in bottle, and the 2022 has the makings of another success for this address.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2023)
Wow. Blackcurrants, blueberries, blackberries and flowers. Full-bodied with beautifully integrated tannins that melt into the wine. Persistent and precise. A fantastic wine for the cellar. 66% cabernet sauvignon, 28% merlot, 3% cabernet franc and 3% petit verdot.
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2023)
Blackcurrant and bramble fruit with savoury herbal nuances on the nose, this smells rich and potent. Tense and focussed, compact from the get go, present tannins give grip and hold. This is definitely not out to charm, more serious, stern and focussed but there's such overall precision. This is in high definition, supremely controlled and well worked with mouthfilling ripe tannins.
I like the chewy aspect and there’s balancing acidity, hidden now by the density, that will sustain the wine for decades to come. Floral notes and some minerality come through giving the nuance so it’s not all heft, but there’s clear muscle on show. A long finish gives the sense of structure and style. An impressive wine.
95 IPT. 3.71pH. Ageing 18 months, 75% new oak. 3% Petit Verdot completes the blend. 4.1 g/L total acidity. Harvest 12 September - 24 September.
Drink 2030 - 2050
Georgina Hindle, Decanter.com (April 2023)
The Grand Vin 2022 Château Lynch Bages checks in as 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. It actually reminds me slightly of the 2019, and while it's a classic Lynch Bages powerhouse, it has beautiful balance and purity.
Cassis, graphite, lead pencil, and chalky minerality all define the aromatics, and it's full-bodied, with terrific tannins and a layered, incredibly impressive profile that continues to open and evolve with time in the glass. Tasted twice with consistent notes.
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2023)
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.