“Lynch-Bages has been one of the most popular and successful wines to emerge from Bordeaux.” – Robert Parker
Château Lynch-Bages is one of the largest and best properties in Pauillac, in the Médoc. While officially classified as a Fifth Growth estate, it regularly competes with the First and Second Growths when it comes to quality and ageability.
Lynch-Bages was originally founded in the 18th century by Thomas Lynch, the son of a Galway merchant, who had fled to Bordeaux after the defeat of Catholic King James by William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Thomas was born in Bordeaux and married Elisabeth Drouillard, the daughter of the owner of the Bages estate. Following the death of her father in 1749, Elisabeth and Thomas inherited the estate, affixing the Lynch name to the property in the village of Bages. Lynch-Bages has been owned by the Cazes family since 1939.
Jean-Charles was the first Cazes to own Lynch Bages. Initially a lowly baker in the town of Pauillac, he bought the estate cheap during the economic turmoil that followed the Great Depression. With very little capital, he had to sell every single bottle he produced, as did his son André when he took over, helping the estate survive a particularly lean period in Bordeaux’s history. This is why Lynch-Bages has such a small back catalogue of vintages at the estate today, but the quality of the wines was evident even then.
During the 1950s and ’60s, Alexis Lichine (then owner of Château Prieuré-Lichine) used to hold blind tastings with the trade in Bordeaux – typically made up of négociants, courtiers and merchants. In these tastings Lynch Bages famously performed well. Cazes would carry Lichine’s little book of blind tasting results with him everywhere he went and used this to build up the reputation of the estate to merchants around the world.
Jean Bouteiller of Château Pichon Baron, Edouard Gasqueton of Calon-Ségur, and Cazes at Lynch-Bages were unique in Bordeaux at the time, all opting to harvest their grapes later than others, and their influence steered Bordeaux towards a richer, riper style, despite the risk of autumn rains. The wines of Lynch-Bages became recognized for their opulent, fruity style.
Over the years, the Cazes family has expanded their holdings in Bordeaux (Villa Bel-Air, Les Ormes de Pez), most recently purchasing Château Haut Batailley. They are also involved in wineries outside Bordeaux including Domaine des Sénéchaux in the Rhône, Domaine l’Ostal Cazes in the Minervois, and Roquette & Cazes in the Douro. They also own Pauillac’s luxury hotel and restaurant Château Cordeillan-Bages.
The estate is forward-thinking. They were one of the first in the region to start promoting their wine in China in 1986, where the property remains one of the most established and popular brands today.
In 2020, Lynch-Bages opened their brand new state-of-the-art winery designed by architect Chien Chung Pei. It’s an extraordinary site that holds 80 stainless steel vats covering 3,700 square meters on multiple floors, descending up to eight meters underground.
Lynch-Bages is often considered the epitome of Pauillac. In that vein, they produce wines which are generous and tannic, while retaining excellent structure and elegance.
This wine’s truly exemplary ability to age has meant that it has always been popular with collectors. Patience is key with a wine of this caliber, which in the best vintages will not show its true potential for 15-20 years, and many wines will keep for upwards of 25-30 years.