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Jean-Charles Cazes & Lynch Bages at the Connaught

Last week I caught up with Jean-Charles Cazes who was in London to present his wines at the first of the Connaught's wine dinners.

Two-starred Michelin chef, Helene Daroze, who is an old family friend, had devised a seven course menu to accompany four vintages of Lynch Bages plus the 2000 Chateau Les Ormes de Pez and the 2009 Blanc de Lynch Bages which Jean-Charles said ‘is the only wine I am actually responsible for.’

36 year old Cazes took over recently from his father Jean-Michel, a former Decanter Man of the Year. His Aunt, Sylvie Cazes, this month hit the headlines when she was appointed by the Rouzaud family of Roederer fame to run Chateau Pichon Comtesse de Lalande.

He explained ‘it was a surprise to many, but it is not unusual in my family. My father ran the AXA properties (Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron) while running the family property of Chateau Lynch Bages.’

Cazes has increased the percentage of Sauvignon Blanc in the 2009 Blanc de Lynch Bages. ‘I like the wine to have freshness,’ he said.

The vines are planed outside the Pauillac appellation in the Haut Medoc, close to Chateau Bernadotte. 75% new oak barrels were used but it certainly wasn’t apparent on the palate which displayed a delightful mown hay character, very balanced and elegant. 1500 cases are made in total.

The 2000 Chateau Les Ormes de Pez served in magnum made me regret I hadn’t any in my cellar. Classic cedar box notes on the nose and a beautifully expressive mature blackberrys and pencil on the palate, drinking very well.

Cazes told the diners that “if you like Brussel sprouts, camping outdoors and believe punishment is pleasure, drink Cabernet Sauvignon young”.

To prove his point he poured the following four vintages the 1998, 1995 1990 and 1982 vintages (all had been directly shipped from the Chateau). The 1998 showed a brooding exotic power but was still seemed very young, the 1995 was drinking beautifully, classic bouquet of cedar, animal notes, and slightly austere, very gout anglais.

The star was the 1990 served in magnum, a stunning concoction of layers of black fruit, dark chocolate, Madagascar spice, beautifully balanced with a long finish. Superb! The legendary 82 the perfect finish, slight hint of polish on the nose rich concentrated plumy fruit, great finesse and length.

A great start to the Connaught’s new wine series.

Written by Sarah Kemp

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