1988 Lagrange, St-Julien

SKU #950407 91 points Wine Spectator

 Aromas of currant and sweet tobacco follow through to a full body, with soft, silky tannins and a long, flavorful finish. A little dusty, but lots of fruit and character.'88/'98 Bordeaux blind retrospective (2008). Drink now." (Web only, 2009)

Jancis Robinson

 Lively deep crimson still, though with an evolved rim. A slightly leafy note, the sort that would scare most American winemakers. Very fresh and energetic with great manners now. Finishes just a little suddenly but with polished tannins. Pretty 'cool' tasting and dry on the end. Relatively light. Classic claret indeed...  (2/2010)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Good full, fresh ruby. Perfumed, captivating aromas of sappy black cherry, violet and rose petal. Austere and penetrating, and yet the texture is ultimately more pliant than that of the '86. Raspberry and cherry fruit flavors are complicated by notes of camphor, black olive, herbs and cedar. Finishes with slightly dry tannins and subtle persistence. "This is the first vintage we made with real knowledge of the property," Ducasse noted. (ST)  (10/2004)

K&L Notes

Neal Martin: "The ’88 is a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon and 41% Merlot and has a leafy bouquet with scents of thyme, coca and espresso lacing the tertiary bouquet. Good lift – a love-hate nose. The palate is medium-bodied, good fruit intensity and freshness with blackberry, briary, leather and a touch of chocolate. It does not have so much of the austere character as other 88’s although it becomes a little dry and abrasive upon returning. Chewy, agreeable finish. Very fine for the vintage." (11/2008)

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.


Specific Appellation:

Saint Julien

- St. Julien, the smallest of the four famous appellations of the Haut Medoc, is known for highly extracted, finely structured, Cabernet-based reds. It is nestled between Pauillac to the north and Margaux to the south. Like St. Estephe, there are no first growths in this area. Leoville-las-Cases, Leoville Poyferre, Leoville Barton, Ducru Beaucaillou, and Gruard Larose are the second-growths of St. Julien followed by Lagrange which is the only third-growth. Beychevelle, Branaire Ducru, St. Pierre, and Talbot, which are all fourth-growth wines, round out the grand cru classe chateaux. In the last several vintages, wineries from this appellation have been out-performing their traditional rankings making many of the wines from this region some of the best values in red wine today.