In the heart of Pauillac, counting Lafite-Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild, and Latour as neighbors, Jean-Michel Cazes’ iconic Château Lynch-Bages turned out one of the most voluptuous wines of the 2009 vintage, earning 98 points from Robert M. Parker Jr. We first tasted the 2009 Lynch-Bages out of cask in the fall of 2010. If it hadn’t been for the wine’s mesmerizing underlying complexity and refined minerality, had we closed our eyes, we would have imagined ourselves on the Oakville Grade. Alcohol was 13.5%, but more importantly, despite the historic opulence of the vintage, Cazes’ 2009 showed incredible length, persistence, and vitality—a baby born to run marathons. Tasted again this past May in Bordeaux, the 2009 is more integrated than ever revealing more silky tannins after a number of years in bottle. Parker’s review (posted below) is a MUST READ, as he suggests a drinking window of now and for the next three decades! After some negotiations we have secured 96 bottles, to offer only to our most loyal clients—all drawn directly from the cellars in Bordeaux where they haven’t moved since bottling—in perfect condition and provenance, up for grabs. Shipping included on all orders.
When Robert Parker’s early vintage report hit the web, the race was on. Parker wrote: “First, and most importantly, for some Médocs and Graves, 2009 may turn out to be the finest vintage I have tasted in 32 years of covering Bordeaux.”
But it would be some time later, on the eve of the vintage release, that the late Professor Denis Dubourdieu—the internationally renowned enology professor at l’Universite de Bordeaux—who provided the details of the growing-season drama that would give birth to Jean-Michel Cazes’ iconic 2009 Château Lynch-Bages.
In front of an audience of about 300 in Bordeaux, Dubourdieu spoke of the conditions that could make for a perfect Bordeaux vintage. First, flowering should come early, in the first week of June. Second, the fruit set should be uniform, a byproduct of a hot, dry spring. Next, the veraison (when the bunches change color from green to red) must also come early, in the last week of July or first days of August. Each variety, Dubourdieu told the crowd, must ripen fully, requiring just enough rainfall (but not TOO much) in August and September to alleviate hydric stress. Finally, the last weeks before harvest must be warm and dry, but absent sudden heat spikes.
Dubourdieu concluded by saying that in 2009, ALL five conditions were met! In the heart of Pauillac, at Château Lynch-Bages, when the call to harvest came in October 2009, a miracle took place.
We first tasted the 2009 Lynch-Bages out of cask in the fall of 2010. Unfortunately, on our latest trip to Bordeaux we were unable to go to Lynch-Bages, which is being renovated. Instead, we met with their team at one of their sister properties where we had a chance to re-taste the 2009. Nine years on, it still retains a power and richness akin to Napa, but with an underlying complexity and refined minerality unmistakably of Bordeaux.
Typically, Lynch-Bages and its Pauillac neighbors—including First Growths Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, and Latour—are far less flamboyant than their Napa Valley counterparts. Not so in 2009. The 2009 Lynch-Bages is a wine that bridges the gap between the Old and the New World, showing the fine-grained and dense tannins of Bordeaux, coupled with the softer acidity and opulent texture of Napa. It is a wine that shows incredible length, persistence, and vitality, and should not be missed.
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