Shaped by 400 years of Bordeaux history, Château Lagrange today celebrates 40 years of Suntory ownership and an uncompromising quest for excellence. The past, present, and dynamic future of this St. Julien Grand Cru Classé was recently explored at retrospective tastings on both US coasts, led by general manager and head winemaker, Matthieu Bordes.
Château Lagrange: A Bordeaux Icon
Located at the highest point of the Saint-Julien appellation, Chateau Lagrange’s estate vineyard spans 291 acres on a single block around the château as it has since 1855. The flagship wine, Château Lagrange Grand Vin, a Third Classified Growth, is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, beautifully encapsulating the winery’s commitment to precision and elegance.
Unlike most Bordeaux Grands Crus, Château Lagrange often produces more of its second label, Les Fiefs de Lagrange, than its Grand Vin. This decision, made each vintage, allows for increased quality of both wines – ensuring the Grand Vin is only sourced from the best plots, while also creating an opportunity to source from old vines and exceptional terroir for the second label.
Jeff Harding, Beverage Director at NYC’s Waverly Inn, shared, “What I like most about Château Lagrange is that they won’t put out a less-than-stellar wine. Fiefs de Lagrange also offers fantastic value. Besides being my ‘go-to’ wine for steaks, I’ve found much pleasure in drinking this wine with lighter dishes.”
Guided by the Suntory Philosophy of Excellence
In accordance with the philosophy of the Suntory Group and its aim to preserve the harmony with nature, Château Lagrange has increased its commitment to the environment and sustainability in all aspects of operations. This includes water conservation, aiding the development of biodiversity, and introducing solar panels to keep energy use to a minimum.
The winery has also adopted a single plot approach as a result of a 2009 soil study initiated by Suntory. The vineyard was divided into 103 individual plots which are harvested and vinified separately. Wines from each parcel are blind tasted every vintage to create the final blends for Château Lagrange and Les Fiefs de Lagrange.
Wine Tourism & Hospitality: Looking to the Future
Visitors are most welcome at Château Lagrange. Beyond tasting, wine enthusiasts and industry professionals have the option to participate in blending workshops, cellar and vineyard tours, harvest experiences, as well as cooking classes where participants learn to prepare seasonal Japanese specialties. Private meals, meetings, and receptions can also be organized on site.
The U.S. is Château Lagrange’s #2 market worldwide. Matthieu Bordes, at the helm of Château Lagrange since 2007, sees the U.S. as an important and dynamic market for the winery in years to come. “[The U.S.] is a mature market of educated wine lovers who really know about wine. They are eager to learn and to taste,” he noted, adding, “We hope, of course, that more and more U.S. wine lovers will discover Château Lagrange.”