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1989 Lagrange, St-Julien

SKU #951100 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 This muscular, thick, unctuous, lavishly-oaked wine may cause raised eyebrows by those looking for something restrained and understated. There is no doubting the hedonistic appeal of this style of wine. The 1989 (the first bottle was corked) is a smoky, tar, cassis, roasted herb, jammy style of wine, with a dense purple color, sweet tannin, and low acidity. It is easy to drink, although the bouquet has not changed since I tasted it several years ago. The wine is soft and fat, but not flabby. It should drink well for 15+ years, probably developing more focus as well as a more classical profile. The 1989 Lagrange is a big, rich, boldly-flavored wine made in a California-like style. (RP)  (2/1997)

Jancis Robinson

 Deep crimson, with gentle evolution at the rim. Very gentle evolved nose with some animal notes and a rich, almost putrid finish. Not the most refreshing wine - much richer and sweeter and heavier than most Lagranges. A slightly baked quality. Fades a bit on the finish. Suntory bought the property in 1984 and may well have used quite young vines for this. 17-/20  (2/2010)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Good ruby-red. Low-pitched aromas of smoky black raspberry, mocha and roasted herbs; slightly porty. Fat, sweet and full, with strong minty and herbal notes that are not completely integrated with the wine's berry fruit. Finishes with lush but slightly drying tannins. (ST)  (9/2004)

Wine Spectator

 Offers very ripe, raisiny aromas, with a tobacco and leather undertone. Slightly maderized, but it doesn't bother me. Full-bodied, showing very soft, velvety tannins and a medium finish. (JS, Web Only—2010)

K&L Notes

Chateau Lagrange is a third-growth St-Julien owned by the Suntory group and comprising 270 acres situated next to Gruaud Larose. The estate went through major improvements and huge investments through the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, and now shows the amazing resurrection of the estate into the producer it always had potential to be. Neal Martin's Wine Journal: "The ’89 Lagrange is showing well at 19-years of age. A blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 45% Merlot, it has less intensity on the nose than the 1990 with sous-bois, cedar, and smoke. Good definition but it is lacking some vitality after 19-years. The palate is well balanced, medium-bodied, just a little green, some spice coming through on the second half, with an attractive cedar finish." (11/2008)

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Price: $129.99

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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.