From Cru de Lynch to Lynch-Bages
The history of Lynch-Bages, situated in the lands of “Batges” at the entrance to Pauillac, is emblematic of the Médoc region.
Thomas Lynch and the ”Cru de Lynch”
Although there are records of the Bages territory as far back as the 16th century, the history of wine production in the area really began in the 18th century. From 1749 to 1824, the vineyard was owned by Thomas Lynch, the son of an Irishman from Galway who worked as a merchant in Bordeaux. Thomas Lynch managed the land wisely and produced high quality wines under the name of ”Cru de Lynch”. As part of the prestigious 1855 Classification, for the Exposition Universelle de Paris, his wine would soon be classified as one of the fifth growths.
”Lou Janou”, the Montagnol
Later on, Jean ”Lou Janou” Cazes, a ”Montagnol” (a term used to describe farmers from the austere upper valleys of Ariège), came to the Médoc to earn a living. In the 1930’s, General Félix de Vial, a descendant of the Cayrou family, leased the vineyard to Jean-Charles Cazes, the son of ”Lou Janou” and a farmer at Château Ormes de Pez in Saint-Estèphe. Cazes went on to purchase both properties in the wake of World War II. Lynch-Bages has been run by the Cazes family ever since.
The old vat-house and its testimony to the past
Lynch-Bages’ old vat-house represents a rare example of traditional winemaking equipment the Médoc area. Its slatted flooring which introduced the advantages of gravitational design now used in modern vat-houses, was invented by Skawinski in 1850.
The extraordinary hard work of the winemakers
Back then, grapes were transported in a cart pulled by horses and then being lifted by crane and emptied into a wooden tank on wheels and tracks. One or two winemakers inside the tank then crushed the grapes, making the juice flow out through openings into vats on either side. A rope-pulley-bucket system and no less than six workers were then required to remove the leftover grape skins from the fermentation vat.
These remarkable winemakers had a hard and quite dangerous job. The last of them was the exemplary Xavier Tibur, who ended his career at Lynch-Bages in 1975. The old Lynch-Bages vat-house is open for visits and will transport you to another era.
Lynch-Bages in the Pauillac appellation
In the heart of the Médoc on the banks of the estuary, Pauillac (Gironde, France) has been the true birthplace of Grand Cru Classé wines since 1855. The Lynch-Bages vineyards are planted across 100 hectares in the region.
Its enjoys a mild climate, homogeneous geology and a topography of well-defined outcrops in the South and South-West of the town. These factors all contribute to bringing Lynch-Bages‘ soils their warmth and excellent natural drainage towards the river which ensures optimum water supply to the vines.
Elegant Cabernet Sauvignon has found its kingdom
Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, Merlot in some parcels on the banks of the river and in the South of the Chenal du Gaët, or Cabernet Franc. An analysis of Lynch-Bages’ soils has allowed us to define an optimal planting ratio. The average age for vines is 30 years with some being as old as 60.
The Pauillac appellation’s reputation for quality
With three out of four of the Médoc’s Premier Grand Cru Classé wines, the Pauillac appellation‘s reputation is only at times matched by its famous châteaux. Pauillac wines are rich, dense, deep and develop highly refined flavours and aromas over time. They reveal a broad aromatic palate and finely textured tannins.
”If we had to classify the Bordeaux communes, Pauillac would certainly come out on top. Pauillac wines combine soft, fresh fruit with oak, dryness, subtlety and structure, a hint of cedar and tobacco and an inkling of smoothness underpinned by strength. Wine lovers consider them to be the perfect example of their ideal wine.”
Hugh Johnson – World Atlas of Wine
Classification and the Paris World Fair
In 1855, Napoléon III asked the brokers and merchants affiliated with the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce to establish a classification that would be presented at the Exposition Universelle de Paris (World Fair). Ever since, this reference list represents a hierarchy of wine domaines as well as a hommage to the region’s history and a commercial benchmark. The legendary ”Grand Cru Classé en 1855” is the only one of its kind in the world.