Lynch Bages Vertical 1961-2005

Sweets and Savories, Chicago IL
Tasted Monday, December 8, 2008 by KeithAkers with 679 views

Introduction

claudio had hatched an idea of putting together all of the modern lynch 91+ RP wines in a vertical a few months back. We were finally able to do it with the generous help of Ken and Jamie. All the wines were culled together and we all split cost evenly.

Flight 1 - welcome whites (2 Notes)

Ken provided the 01 and I brought the 06. Both were very nice, with the 06 being the better wine and having a lot of upside

  • 2001 Château Lynch-Bages Blanc de Lynch-Bages 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux

    nose: slight oxodized tones with bits of almonds, lemons, lychees, minerals, tart citrus tones, and bits of melon rinds. Fully mature, but light on the color, this seemed a bit advanced for a bit considering how young the wine was

    taste: good feel and much more together on the palate with lemons, almonds, minerals, vanilla extract, and tart citrus tones

    overall: the feel is great while the nose isn't all there. Great flavors with nice balance along with medium/low acidity and a almond based attack with a vanilla extract finish

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  • 2006 Château Lynch-Bages Blanc de Lynch-Bages 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux

    nose: a sharp contrast to the 01 with more depth along with a smokey backdrop of minerals, almonds, lemon peels, melons, and some hazelnuts. Lots of depth on the nose that draws you in

    taste: high acidity, very much at young grand cru burg levels, with smokey tones, mineral laced citrus tones of lemons, melons, almonds, and bits of hazelnuts

    overall: a beautiful young bordeaux blanc. Massive acidity with a very expressive nose once it gets going, this has long range potential and is certainly worth the price at $50-60 just on its aging potential. Very young, but there is certainly a gorgeous white that just needs time to let it work its magic

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Flight 2 - The Main event (12 Notes)

Claudio had originally sourced the 70-05(jamie sold the 70 at a fantastic price) and through a very kind act of generosity, Jamie provided the 61 gratis

  • 1961 Château Lynch-Bages 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: very youthful with a good amount of verve to it providing tones of dark red cherries, cedar, pencil lead, rich cranberry tones, spice box, and some undertones of saddle leather. Very vibrant for a while that completely belies its age. It sat in teh glass for a while and took on some older tones of mushrooms and some traces of barnyard. This bottle had an amazing nose while it held up, just so pungent and vibrant with great amounts of depth, it was a pure pleasure just to smell while it was together

    taste: Medium tannins still persist on this bottle with exalted tones of dark red cherries, pencil lead, cranberries, spice box tones and bits of barnyard. Nice medium/light feel that shows off the age while still being well put together

    overall: a triumph of cellaring. This bottle was in pristine shape and held itself together in the glass for a while. There was little to no bricking and the color was very youthful. Great nose that was seamless and a pure joy while it held itself together for a while. It did start to fall apart after about 1 1/2 hours, but at that point it had been open for nearly 3 hours. It didn't completely fall apart as it more just smelled like the age that one would expect on it, but still had a vibrant character to it that certainly held together. A real treat

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  • 1970 Château Lynch-Bages 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: nice nose, but this was certainly showing its age more then the 61. Mushrooms, smoke, Pencil lead, black currants, and dark cherry undertones with bits of earthen inflections melded well together. This smelled like a wine that had age on it, but with that said, the lynch signature was coming through with the pencil lead and dark red cherry base tones with some earthen tones on top of it

    taste: The nose was very nice and balanced, but here is where the wine left a bit wanting. It was a bit tired on the mid palate and seemed a bit flat, and though not neccessarily thin, it wasn't as plush and defined, though it was very nice with tones of dried mushrooms, earthen tones, dark red cherries, pencil lead and some faint hints of black currants

    overall: this is on the downside of its life, but still a very nice wine. The provenance was impeccable, but not every wine is meant to age effortlessly for decades. While not neccessarily stripped down, it just didn't have that next gear to it or the layering that the 61 did. This wine may have been better served as a standalone wine for one to explore over the course of a dinner as opposed to being in a vertical. Still, there is much to like about it as there is certainly a charm to it, but next to the 61 and the 82 afterwards, in a way it felt like a red headed step child

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  • 1982 Château Lynch-Bages 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: amazing nose with great balance that opens up with rich tones of herbs, coffee beans, sweet red cherries, cedar box, asian spices, and undertones of earth. Supremely balanced that just slowly permeates out of the glass and fills it up and explodes at the same time

    taste: Great feel and texture with purely defined tones of sweet cherries, leather, pencil lead, cranberries, roasted coffee beans, and asian spice tones. Very complex with secondary flavors just starting to fully emerge, but there is definitely a young feel to this at the same time

    overall: This wine is just starting to enter its apex and can easily hold for a good while. Medium acidity and fine grained tannins are still very present to give it some backbone and the flavors, while not fully primary, have an adolescant verve to them. This is a wine that is stunning, subtle, and yet explosive all at the same time. A beautiful wine that is really in the ascendency right now

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  • 1985 Château Lynch-Bages 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: sublime and finessed nose that is deftly balanced, a far cry from the bottle that was at the pre-auction tasting 5-6 weeks ago. Feminine and elegant with purely balanced tones of cedar box, spices, Pencil lead, dark red cherries, cranberries, with hints of perfumes that come out with further air in the glass. The nose was just so pretty and was easily the nose of the night, though it did seem more advanced then the 82

    taste: Silky and smooth with zero rough edges. Pure elegance on the palate while still retaining some weight with spice box tones, cedar box, a good helping of dark red cherries, perfumes, cranberries, and pencil lead tones

    overall: beautifully showing off the classy vintage. Very elegant with a bit of delicacy to it, while still retaining its pauillac sensibility. The nose on this is just purely deep that just beguiles and draws you in. Its drinking perfectly right now and is fully mature, it also seems more mature then the 82, so its time to drink up and enjoy the sheer beauty of this wine

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  • 1986 Château Lynch-Bages Flawed

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    there was a consensus that this bottle was flawed

    nose: while there is a bit of cork taint, there are some tones hiding underneath the slight corking with smoke, dark red cherries, roasted herbs, and some mushroom tones(this was probably brought out by the flaw as I'd expect that from a much older wine)

    taste: a bit of cardboard flavors give away the corking, but there are also slight hints of earthen tones, dark red cherries, smoke, and some roasted herbs

    overall: While flawed, it wasn't undrinkable. Even with it being slightly corked, it still showed off the house as best as it could. I let it sit in my glass for a while as I wasn't sure if at first it was a case of the 86s being very tight, or if it was truly corked, which air fully indicated. darn

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  • 1988 Château Lynch-Bages 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: wide open on the nose with a good helping of cedar as the backdrop along with tones of smoke, black fruits, black cherries, cassis, and some earthen inflections. Very interesting as there is more of a blackness to this nose as opposed to the previous vintages and it provides a very interesting contrast to the other vintages

    taste: great black fruit core with cedar, smoke, black cherries, and cassis. Good medium/full feel that gives off the power of lynch, but there is a smooth texture at the same time

    overall: a very interesting and different lynch from the previous vintages. The black fruits provide a good amount of intrigue and a contrast from the dark red cherries that had been a lynch staple. This is in a perfect place right now and was a stellar bottle

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  • 1989 Château Lynch-Bages 96 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: very masculine and different nose from the bottle that I had back in may. Intriguing ashen base with loads of red and black fruits, rich creme de cassis tones, herbs, lots of red and black currants, spice tones, along with bits of pencil lead and dark red cherries on top. Insanely alluring as it changes and changes in the glass presenting different facets of the wine as they meld together to create a gorgeously deep nose

    taste: still firm tannins with deftly balanced tones of smoke, cedar, loads of red and black fruits, creme de cassis, herbs, and lots of black cherries. Beautiful texture that still gives this a young feel with the medium acidity to boot. Full bodied, but not overbearing this unfolds like a blooming flower on the palate with layer after layer

    overall: yet again, another amazing 89 lynch. This is much different from the last bottle I had, but for me at least, its a better bottle. Much more intrigue with the still present power behind it. This was a deeply expressive bottle that seemed to play with you before revealing all it had, and even then there were still surprises to be had. This was just a thing of beauty

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  • 1990 Château Lynch-Bages 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: different from the 89, but still provides a lot of intrigue. Deep and showing off the vintage with sweet red and black cherry tones, fruitcakes, red and black currants, cedar, pencil lead, smoke, and bits of saddle leather. Very deep and complex, but with a sweetness to it that is very enjoyable and pleasing

    taste: very deep and layered with sweet tones of red and black cherries, cedar, pencil lead, smoke, leather, along with red and black currants forming the base. Well layered with a plushness to it while still being very much bordeaux and very much lynch. It just unwinds slowly on the palate and has great medium body to it with still good tannins

    overall: a great companion to the 89. There will probably be forever a debate between bordeaux lovers that have had these wines which one is their preference. On this night for me, it was the 89, but it was a 1 and 1a type situtation. This was a supreme wine that just did everything at a much heightened level and was a real delight.

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  • 1995 Château Lynch-Bages 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: very californian at first with bright red cherries, plums, and a more ripe base of fruits, but as it sat in the glass it then pulled back a bit and became more reserved with dark plums, red currants, dark red cherries,black cherries, spice box, cedar, and pencil lead. When it pulled back a bit, it added a dollop of elegance to some of the power behind it. Very melded on the nose once it calmed down and much more bordeaux

    taste: nice sweeter in style with cassis, black and dark red cherries, plums, red and black currants, and pencil lead tones. Very good medium/full feel and fairly open to drink though the tannins are still very present and have a slight razor edge to them

    overall: almost two different wines as it sat in the glass. I wasn't much of a fan at first as I don't want a bordeaux to taste like a modern california cabernet, I want bordeaux, but it then retreated into a more familiar style, but with a bit of the california flash that creates a different take on the wine. Good power behind it, its one that still needs years on its side to fully emerge

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  • 1996 Château Lynch-Bages 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: great contrast to the 95, where the 95 was a bit more new world driven, this is just pure, unadulturated bordeaux. Just on the nose alone it screams bordeaux and pauillac with a good healthy dose of cigar tobacco, cedar box, black and dark red cherries, spice tones, pencil lead, and some tones of slightly worn leather

    taste: the tannins of 96 are certainly present. While not hard edged, they are plump and firm. More full bodied with a good dose of power providing classic flavors of cigar tobaccco, cedar planks, black and dark red cherries, pencil lead and bits of cassis

    overall: if you want something that is just quintessential bordeaux, this is it. There is nothing for a pure new world fan to like about this, and everything for an old world fan to love. Nose and palate are well balanced with a full body to them along with the firm tannins and medium+ acidity. This will be a long term wine and has some good upside. Enjoyable now, but it needs a good decant to get going, this will be a lot more fun in 10 years

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  • 2000 Château Lynch-Bages 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: this was starting to be open for business and is starting to show off the pomp of the 00 vintage with a tobacco driven core along with red and black currants, creme de cassis, cedar box, pencil lead, and dark red cherries. There is a creamy aspect to the nose that adds an extra layer of depth to it that draws me in more and more as I smell it and let it sit in the glass

    taste: very young, but not neccessarily brutally young. Lots of tobacco with red and black cherries, cedar box tones, creme de cassis, pencil lead, and black currants give this young wine a great array of well put together and complex flavors with a lot of depth. Firm tannins provide a big armadillo like spine, but they aren't fully overbearing and we are just starting to see what this wine may have in store

    overall: This is a great young bordeaux. There is greatness lurking underneath that will require time to come out, but it will certainly take you for a ride when it does. For me, this is showing off what a fantastic vintage 00 is as there is a ton of depth and complexity. This will be added into the benchmarks for lynch and is one to look forward to it when it fully comes out of its shell

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  • 2005 Château Lynch-Bages 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    nose: brutally tight at first smell(and it had been decanted for a near 12 hours). Upon the revisit about a 1/2 hour later along with heavy swirling, it started to unwind a bit with bits of belgian chocolate, pencil lead, creme de cassis, black currants, and dark red cherries. Its hard to get a full picture on this as the nose is almost shrouded in a black cloth

    taste: very big and firm tannins. I'm not getting the sweet tannins that people try to profess about 05, for me alot of them have been hard edged and massive. What is able to fight its way through the tannins is nice after finally opening up a bit with dark red and black cherries, creme de cassis, pencil lead, and belgian chocolate. Very firm and hopefully what is left in the bottle will reveal more in two days from what I took home

    overall: Very full bodied and massively tannic. What pokes through is nice, but this is one brooding beast of a wine that needs a lot of time sideways to reveal itself. This is certainly proving to me that 05 bordeaux is a young man's vintage as it will require a massive amount of patience to get these wines at their peak level(of course the irony being with the prices, that those that can fully afford a lot of 05 bordeaux are older and this wine won't be begining to be mature for another 20 years). I think there's upside on this, but then again, who knows as there is just a wall of tannins that needs to be fought through

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Flight 3 - an after dinner mint (1 Note)

jordan, claudio, ward, dave, dave's friend, and I were still working our way through the remnants of the Lynchs and Ward decided to pull this puppy out(with a slight bit of encouragement from both jordan and I)

  • 2000 Château Le Bon Pasteur 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    nose: like smelling satin. So utterly silky and seamless with just classic pomerol features and notes of blueberries, red cherries, cassis, spice box, and underlying tones of fresh garden herbs. This is just one wants to smell from a merlot and is so unbelieably sexy

    taste: plush, smooth, and young with a very sexy and smooth feel providing tones of blueberries, kirsch liqeur, red cherries, spice box, and cassis. Again, this is everything you want from a merlot and then some

    overall: a beautiful wine that is seamless and so smooth. Deft on the palate with nuance and delicacy like a refined woman. This just scratches me where I itch in every single way, and is a beauty that can turn into a stunner. This is the kind of wine that I want to drink all day and every day

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Closing

A memorable night. We got a great feel for what lynch brings and the quality of the wines was top notch(outside of the off bottle). It was perfectly put together, and the generosity of jamie bringing the 61 as a holiday gift for the tasting was above and beyond the call of duty and hats off to him for it.

What I personally loved is that all of the wines reflected the range in vintages greatly and really showed off the terroir of lynch. A lowly 5th growth this is not as it perfomed well above what it was classified as back in 1855. This tasting certainly proved that fact and it left an indelible mark on me

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