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Château Lynch-Bages
by
Terryand Kathy Sullivan

Château Lynch BagesSummary: Chateau Lynch-Bages with a production of 450,000 bottles focuses on red wine blends. Enjoy viewing the second floor room with an array of old winemaking equipment.

The name for Chateau Lynch-Bages is from Bages, which is the name of the surrounding villages and Lynch, which is the family name. Chateau Lynch-Bages is a family owned winery now in its fourth generation. The family also owns property in other wine regions of France, Portugal and Australia.

Vineyards

The vineyards cover 100 hectares (247 acres) of land. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted variety covering 75 hectares. There are 17 hectares of Merlot, 6 hectares of Cabernet Franc and 2 hectares of Petit Verdot. The average age of the vines is 30 years with the oldest vines in their 60s. Chateau Lynch-Bages also has six hectares of white wine grapes. In this vineyard soils are a combination of gravel, clay and limestone. Varieties planted include Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle. Vines are an average of 20 years old.

Château Lynch BagesThe surface soil is comprised of gravel and sand. The subsoil also has this mixture with a small amount of clay. The soil allows for the capture of heat during the day and a slow release of this heat during the evening. The well drained soil also promotes very deep root systems for the vines. The vineyards are between the Atlantic Ocean and the Garonne estuary. The temperatures are cold during the winter, but seldom is there a frost. Springs are wet and summers are hot. Autumn is sunny. These conditions are very good for ripening Cabernet Sauvignon.

About 35 people care for the vineyard throughout the year. During harvest that number swells to over 250 people. Grapes are hand-harvested and hand sorted.

Château Lynch BagesWinery

The vat room houses 35 vats of different sizes. The vats correspond to a particular vineyard plot or batch of grapes. Fermentation in each vat is individualized to extract the best color and flavor from the fruit. Maceration can last for three weeks. A third of the malolactic fermentation takes place in barrels while two-thirds take place in vats.

During the time of our July 2013 visit, workers were racking the wines in the barrel room. We were curious as to why they placed a candle at the barrel’s head. There was a hole in the head of the barrel that was plugged. When racking, the plug is removed and the wine flows into another barrel. The candle is used for light. When sediment is seen flowing out of the barrel, racking stops and the sediment is collected in a bucket.

Château Lynch BagesBeyond the barrel room we entered a room with wood vats. The top of the vats went through the ceiling to the floor above. We went to the second floor. The room was set up as a museum. It shows how the grapes were received, crushed and placed in the vats years ago. Railroad tracks ran the length of the room. A large cart could easily move on the tracks. The juice from grapes crushed in this cart would flow into a vat. The cart could then move to the next vat along the tracks.

Chateau Lynch-Bages produces about 450,000 bottles of wine each year.

Château Lynch BagesWines

We tasted two wines the 2006 Chateau Ormes de Pen Saint Estéphe was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 56%, Merlot 36%, Cabernet Franc 6% and Petit Verdot 2%. The wine’s color was dark ruby to black with a ruby rim. There were dark fruits and a touch of licorice on the aroma and cherries on the taste. The wine had tannins and a crisp fruity finish.

Château Lynch BagesThe 2006 Chateau Lynch-Bages Gran Cru Classé was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 79%, Merlot 10%, Cabernet Franc 10% and 1% of Petit Verdot. The dark ruby to black colored wine had dark fruits and leather on the aroma. There was a perceived sweetness on the taste. The predominant fruit was cassis. Bold tannins accompanied a fruity finish.

A visit to Chateau Lynch-Bages provides visitors the opportunity to taste wine and also view the historical wine making equipment on the second floor.

Chateau Lynch-Bages
33250 Pauillac, France

0033 556 732 400

Article written July 2013


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