2012 Guest of Honor – Jean-Charles Cazes

For hundreds of years, the vineyards at Château Lynch-Bages have yielded arguably some of the best Bordeaux reds the world has ever known. On infertile gravel. Yet, in that gravel lies the key for excellent grape growing: perfect drainage. The resulting wines, predominantly from cabernet sauvignon, are rich, dense, and deep, with a very broad aromatic palette. Allowed to mature, they develop bouquets and flavors of great delicacy.

Back in 1855, Emperor Napoleon III asked for a classification system for the best Bordeaux to be presented to visitors from around the world at the Paris Exposition. The chateaux were categorized by their reputations and the prices they were garnering in the marketplace. With only one exception, the reds that made the list came from the Medoc region. The top five classes, based on the reputations and price of wines from each chateau, were given the distinction “Grand Cru Classé en 1855.” Lynch-Bages labels carry that distinction to this day.

World-class reds have a long history in the Pauillac Appellation, located in the heart of the Medoc, in northwest Bordeaux. Hugh Johnson notes in his World Atlas of Wine: “If one had to single out one Bordeaux commune to head the list, there would be no argument. It would be Pauillac. […] Many claret-lovers would tell you that the wines of Pauillac have the quintessential flavor they look for in Bordeaux – a combination of fresh soft fruit, oak, dryness, subtlety combined with substance, a touch of cigar-box, a suggestion of sweetness and, above all, vigor. Even the lesser growths approach their ideal claret.”

The Lynch-Bages commitment to quality is definitely a family affair. In, 1934, the estate came under the ownership of the Cazes family, which carefully brought innovation and modernization. Lynch-Bages became the last vineyard to harvest in the appellation, assuring a truly ripe harvest. The results were remarkable. The wines are characterized by their deep color and elegance, and their impressive homogeneity and accuracy. Generations later, the same can still be said. Jean-Charles Cazes, a fourth generation winemaker who has run the family vineyards in France and abroad since 2006, will be joining us at the Wine Auction on July 21, 2012 and at the Lynch-Bages patrons dinner on July 20, 2012.

A summer tour of Lynch-Bages Château will delight the visitor with not only exceptional wines and a dreamy, bucolic setting, but also an exhibit by an exceptional contemporary artist in the estate’s former vat room. An annual advertising campaign that highlights a particular preference by a fine artist for Lynch-Bages wines has left the Château with an impressive collection of commissioned art.