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July 31, 2013

Lynch Bages 2010

lynch-bages-2010

“The 2010 blew me away on each occasion I tasted it during my two week sojourn in Bordeaux.” Robert Parker

Lynch Bages resonates with all fine wine buyers with a strong traditional market in old Europe and the US. It was one of the earliest Bordeaux wines exported to Hong Kong; since 1989 it has been served in the First Class cabin of Cathay Pacific Airlines, the international flag carrier of Hong Kong. Jean-Michel Cazes was one of the first proprietors to promote Bordeaux wine in Asia, travelling there for 20 years and cementing Lynch Bages’ brand globally.

Lynch Bages has produced some extraordinary efforts, scoring 97 points in 2000, 95 in 2003, 94+ in 2005 and the legendary 1989 scored 99+ points and now trades at £3,000 a case, setting a watermark. In 2009 and 2010 they eclipsed many of their previous efforts scoring 98 and 96 points respectively.

Lynch Bages is situated in the small sub-village of Bages, a wonderfully picturesque village which contains their hotel and museum, as well as a delightful square; this is certainly one to visit. High on the west hill of the Pauillac region, the 90 hectares of vines are planted on deep gravel beds covered with limestone. Lynch Bages, originally classified as a Fifth Growth, is arguably the most dominant member of the Super-Seconds. It is known for combining powerful rich tannins with tobacco and cedar; it takes years in the bottle to exhibit its true splendour, with top vintages capable of ageing for 30-50 years.

We have isolated Lynch Bages 2010 as currently undervalued by the market available for £1,030 a case. In the graph below we have taken the last eight vintages which have scored 93 points or more. The 2010 has traded as high as £1,250 a case, while the 97 point 2000 trades comfortably at £1,700; the 94+ 2005 and 98 2009 have found a steady trading level at £1,200. The 2010 scored 95-97 from the barrel, while from bottle Parker said it reminded him of the legendary 1989. It is certainly a wine set for an increased score, with the 2010 slightly more brooding than the exuberant 2009s. It is one to buy now before the market resets itself.

We have tasted it several times in the last four years and on each occasion it has blown us away, with incredible concentration, powerful ripe tannin and early notes of tobacco, pencil shaving (graphite): the 2010 will become a legend!

The 2010 Lynch Bages is an absolutely brilliant wine, and somewhat reminiscent at this stage in its development of the profound 1989. Jean-Charles Cazes, who took over for his father a number of years ago, has produced a magnificent wine with the classic creme de cassis note intermixed with smoke, graphite and spring flowers. It is a massive Lynch Bages, full-bodied and very 1989-ish, with notable power, loads of tannin, and extraordinary concentration and precision. This is not a Lynch Bages to drink in its exuberant youth, but one to hold on to for 5-6 years and drink over the following three decades. Robert Parker 96, Drink 2019-2048, Tasted Feb 2013

About the Chateau
Thomas Lynch, whose father John followed James II into exile in 1691 from Galway, Ireland, inherited an estate in the village of Bages through his wife Elizabeth in 1749. This was the year that the Château Lynch-Bages was founded and the most celebrated member of the Lynch family, Comte Jean-Baptiste Lynch was born. Jean-Baptiste was a lawyer who played a prominent role in public life in Bordeaux, he was a member and later President of the Parliament de Bordeaux and a member of the Council of 500 in the early days of the Revolution. Finally Jean-Baptiste became Mayor of Bordeaux, however, by this time Château Lynch-Bages had been given to his brother, Michel. Michel ran the estate until 1824 when the family sold to Swiss wine merchant, Sebastian Jurine.

Château Lynch-Bages remained under the ownership of the Jurine then the Cayrou families for over 100 years. In 1934 the enigmatic Jean-Charles Cazes rented the property form its owners and purchased it in 1937. Known as one of the great characters of the Médoc, Jean-Charles was famous for his love of every aspect of winemaking and commitment to Lynch-Bages. After Jean-Charles’ death aged 95 in 1972 running of the Château passed to his son André, former Mayor of Pauillac, and his grandson Jean-Michel Cazes.

Jean-Michel ran the estate until 2006 and after many years of building work and improvements the Château is a gleaming pristine building highly suited to making the outstanding wine synonymous with this name.