The 2018 Lynch Bages is made up of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot aging in 75% new barriques. Very deep purple-black in color, the nose is quite coy and restrained to begin, fanning out to offer pure, ripe blackcurrants, black cherries and preserved plums with wafts of red roses, cigar box, incense, cardamom and fenugreek with savory touches of black olives, Marmite toast and smoked meats. Full-bodied, the palate is built like a brick house, with a solid foundation of very firm, very ripe, grainy tannins and superb freshness supporting the generous black fruit layers, finishing long with provocative ferrous suggestions.
“The early start of the season was nerve-racking because of the mildew pressure,” Jean-Charles Cazes said. “We had to monitor the vines constantly and react. But we were equally worried about the dry period. We were concerned about getting vine blockage, like in 2003, but it didn’t happen. The rains we had in the spring really helped the vines sail through and reach full maturity. Our harvest dates are pretty much on average, a little early for Lynch Bages, but again not like 2003. Sorting wasn’t really a problem, everything was sanitary. The vintage reminds me of 2010, but more forward, like 2016.”
I asked Cazes about their biggest challenge this year. “The challenge was not to overdo extraction," he said. "That was the biggest challenge in the cellar. We had smaller berries, so the ratio of skin to juice was high. This is also why there is so much richness.”
This is incredibly powerful and structured with so much tannin backbone and length, yet it’s cool and fresh with a compact palate and great length. Muscular.
This is hugely impressive right from the off - strap on your walking boots, get your crampons at the ready, there is a wall to climb - not one that you ever hit by the way, because contrary to expectations this unfurls slowly, keeping the peak just out of sight.
It’s great quality and one of my favourites from this property because it’s full of power but with a caress, so much tannic power too and yet so light of foot. It’s filled with absolutely delicious black chocolate, rosemary, cardamom and pepper but also lets the light in thanks for a fresh core running through. Having tasted it a few times it’s clear it’s going to age extremely well. A yield of 38hl/ha.
Drinking Window 2026 - 2040