I was looking back at my 2022 photos and didn’t realize that I never formally posted this beauty—Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac Grand Cru Classé 2003. This was one of my fun WineBid.com buys.
The history of Lynch-Bages, situated in the lands of “Batges” at the entrance to Pauillac, is emblematic of the Médoc region. 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.
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.
About the Region
Pauillac is Bordeaux’s most famous appellation because it is home to three of the region’s fabled first-growth châteaux—Lafite-Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild and Latour. Perched on the left bank of the Gironde River north of the city of Bordeaux, Pauillac is centered around the commune of Pauillac and includes about 3,000 acres of vineyards. The Bordeaux classification of 1855 named 18 classified growths, including the three above mentioned first growths. Cabernet Sauvignon is the principal grape grown, followed by Merlot. The soil is mostly sandy gravel mixed with marl and iron.
About this Wine
The estate’s reputation as a top-quality wine producer happened in 1945 after a series of exceptional vintages. Since then, Lynch-Bages has continued to produce excellent wines, even during years considered difficult in the Bordeaux region. Jean-Michel Cazes, grandson of Jean-Charles, has worked hard to develop and refine the wine’s supple and smooth structure over the years. Vintage after vintage, the estate’s precise and excellent winemaking techniques have served to firmly establish Lynch-Bages reputation for consistent quality.
I brought this bottle over to a friend’s dinner party. She was making a galette and other French-themed dishes so I figured “why not?!” There are not too many people who can fully appreciate a bottle like this, so I’m always glad to sip in good company. This wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot.
Whenever I open older bottles, I always get weary about the cork, but this one was just fine. You’re always taking a gamble with older bottles and can only take online reviews with a grain of salt, and I’m glad that I did. This baby was still ripe for the picking. It was so lively on the nose—a strong, kicking aroma of plum, red fruit, leather, and earth/woods. It was smooth on the palate and was fruit forward with not as many tertiary notes as I expected. It had a deliciously long finish. A perfect wine for the night.