2005 Lascombes

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Wine Critic Reviews for 2005 Lascombes

A joyous Lascombes, this is the first vintage to hit stride since the US investment firm Colony Capital took over in 2001. It's a meaty wine draped in fragrant tannin, built for long aging. It's also an exuberant wine, in both the bright, red currant-scented fruit and the bristle of the tannin. A playfully complex flavor lasts for minutes, the wine still youthful and fresh four days after it was opened. Margaux chic.

Wine & Spirits | 94 W&S
Dark in color, with an impressive nose of licorice, toasty oak, chocolate and blackberry. Full-bodied, with silky tannins and a long, caressing finish. Very pretty and structured. Best after 2012. 25,000 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 93 WS
Lascombes is approaching the form its status as a second growth suggests. This wine is close, packed with dark fruits, figs and juicy black currant extract. The aftertaste has some bitterness, with layers of toast and spice coming through strongly.

Wine Enthusiast | 91 WE

Wine Details on 2005 Lascombes

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Producer Chateau Lascombes: The appellation of Margaux has an incredible reputation for its tremendous and quite diverse terroir. It was the first Bordeaux area cultivated for vineyards; established by the ancient Romans 2,000 years ago. It has a long and illustrious history of producing some of the greatest wines in the world and has attracted collectors and enthusiast alike. By the 1700’s, the Margaux appellation had already earned its well-deserved reputation for producing great wine, causing Thomas Jefferson (ambassador to France and third President of the United States) to visit the region, purchasing from many of the estates and voicing great praise for the appellation’s wines, insisting they were of unrivaled quality. Resting upon this historic and desired terroir is the picturesque chartreuse (traditional French style house) of Chateau Lascombes and its beloved 120 hectares of vineyards.

The eponymous estate takes its name from one of its earliest owners who possessed the estate in the 17th century, Antoine Chevalier de Lascombes. Born in 1625, Lascombes inherited the estate from the Durfort de Duras family, who had their own eponymous estate, Chateau Durfort (which later became Durfort Vivens). Since its inception ten generations of owners have succeeded each other, leaving their stamp upon the history of Chateau Lascombes. Despite the myriad of different ownerships over the course of the estate’s history; a destiny was paved along its way with colorful characters who have all contributed to the excellence of its wines.

From the Chevalier de Lascombes to Alexis Lichine to the wealthy American entrepreneur, David Rockefeller, the Medoc estate had witnessed a numerous change of hands. Unfortunately, along with the positive attributes, came severe neglect. This however was not uncommon for the appellation of Margaux, as a number of estates were underperforming based on their true potential. Lascombes was no exception and by the 1950s had fallen into a state of complete neglect. After the purchase of the estate in 1952 and under the management of Alexis Lichine, many improvements were implemented and costing a small fortune. The vineyards were extensively replanted and the entire winemaking facility was refurbished and modernized in an effort to increase quality of production.

Under the care and direction of Lichine, the production of Lascombes almost tripled, increasing the quality and reputation of the estate. It would again change hands multiple times; each owner investing massive amounts in order to elevate the property to the deserving quality of Second Growth, including a whopping $47 million by American based Colony Capital group. This was directed towards renovations to the entire estate including major replanting of the vineyards as well as the construction of a completely new winemaking facility that included a four-level gravity-fed vat room and new barrel aging cellars.

As aforementioned, ten generations of owners have added their own contributions to the Margaux estate of Lascombes in their own unique way, improving the vineyards, the winemaking facilities and ultimately, the quality of wine.

Today, the vines of Chateau Lascombes cover 120 hectares in the Margaux appellation as well as 10 hectares in the Haut-Medoc and is one of the largest vineyards among the classified growths of the 1855 Classification. The vineyard is made up of the most sought-after plots in Margaux with a terroir of uniquely mixed soil-types; typical for the diversity of the appellation. The terroir is mostly composed of gravel, clay, sand and limestone which are laid over sandstone and clay with iron deposits.

Three distinct blocks of roughly the same surface area make up the vineyard; a gravelly outcrop planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, a block of clay-gravel made up of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and clay-limestone plots where Merlot finds its optimal expression. Their best vines are placed on a gravel hillside that reaches up to 20 meters in elevation at its peak.

Merlot is the predominant variety in the vineyard’s grape composition making up 50% of the total, which is a unique feature in the Margaux appellation. On average the vines are 35 years of age with a vine density of 8,000 to 10,000 per hectare. 25,000 cases of Chateau Lascombes are produced each year. The second wine, Chevalier de Lascombes and younger sibling, is selected from batches that are not earmarked for the Grand Vin. The wine has undeniable charm and offers real drinking pleasure. A “third” label is produced from their holdings in Haut-Medoc named Haut-Medoc de Lascombes.

Chateau Lascombes’ story is one of success and neglect. The estate has overcome the barriers of defeat to become a label that is recognized for its greatness. The sheer determination and will by its forefathers has greatly improved the quality, stature and reputation of this magnificent estate.
Region Bordeaux: Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.

The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Subregion Margaux
Appellation Castiglione Falletto
Climat/Vineyard Bricco Rocche
Cru Premier Cru
Country France: Words fail us when trying to adequately portray France's place in the world of wine. It's downright impossible to imagine what wine would feel and taste like had it not been for France's many, many viticultural pioneers. Fine wine is the blood of France's vigorously beating heart, and it finds itself in many aspects of French culture. With a viticultural history that dates all the way back to the 6th century BC, France now enjoys its position as the most famous and reputable wine region on the planet. If you have a burning passion for masterfully crafted, mouth-watering, mind-expanding wines, then regular visits to France are probably already in your schedule, and for a good reason.
Type of Wine Bordeaux Red: Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend: The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

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