Lynch-Bages Non-Blind Vertical Tasting 2004-1929

James Suckling
Issue: November 15, 2007

These tasting notes accompany the article Long-Lived Lynch-Bages, on a vertical tasting of the fifth-growth Bordeaux château's wines, in the Nov. 15, 2007 issue of Wine Spectator.

Vintage Score Price* Note
2004 89 $50 This vintage was just bottled, and so was not included in this tasting; however, a blind tasting for the magazine late in 2006 resulted in this note and score: Aromas of currant bush and raspberry follow through to a medium-bodied palate, with velvety tannins and a medium finish. A balanced and pleasing wine already. Best after 2010. 35,000 cases made.
 
2003 92 $76 Loads of rich, plummy fruit with vanilla undertones follows through to a full-bodied palate, with soft tannins and a long, long finish. Gorgeous. Best after 2010. 35,000 cases made.
 
2002 91 $45 This was not at the tasting, but it is outstanding. A blind tasting for the magazine late in 2004 resulted in this note and score: Aromas of currant bush, berries and sweet tobacco follow through to a full-bodied palate, with medium tannins and a long finish. Lovely texture to this wine. Best after 2008. 35,000 cases made.
 
2001 90 $71 Offers gorgeous aromas of currant, chocolate and dried flowers. Full-bodied, with silky tannins and a long finish. Very pretty. Still tight. Best after 2008. 40,830 cases made.
 
2000 96 $177 This is a superstructured wine with loads of plum, blackberry and licorice. Full-bodied, with chewy tannins and a long finish. Gorgeous. Tight. Needs time. Best after 2010. 35,000 cases made.
 
1999 87 $65 This has never been a very serious Lynch. Shows some berry and tobacco character, with a medium body, fine tannins and a fruity finish. Simple. Drink now. 35,000 cases made.
 
1998 89 $75 Aromas of currant, licorice and light vanilla follow through to a full, silky palate. Caressing. Just about ready. Drink now.
 
1996 92 $196 This is much more open than the 1995. Offers aromas and flavors of currant, mint and spices. Full-bodied, soft and velvety, with a fruit finish. Starting to drink well now. Best from 2008 through 2012. 35,000 cases made.
 
1995 94 $118 A wine that continues to improve with age. Shows loads of ripe plum, almost prune, with hints of vanilla and mineral. Full, chewy and tight. Still needs time. Best after 2008.
 
1991 88 $80 A difficult year due to frost, but this shows lovely tobacco and berry aromas, with hints of chocolate. Medium-bodied, with soft tannins and a long aftertaste of chocolate and berry. Still very good. Drink now.
 
1990 94 $244 Aromas of tar, currant and berries follow through to a full-bodied palate, with silky tannins and a long, long finish. Still not completely ready, but so good anyway. Best after 2008. 35,000 cases made.
 
1989 98 $225 This remains one of the greatest Lynch-Bages ever. Still very dark in color, with intense aromas of currant, mint and blackberry. Full-bodied and very powerful, with eucalyptus, fruit and spice. Chewy. A massive wine. Still too young to drink. Best after 2009. 35,000 cases made.
 
1988 93 $136 Hasn't developed as well as I had hoped, but clearly of outstanding quality. There's lots of ripe fruit, with hints of spices, toasty oak and even currant bush aromas. Very ripe. Full-bodied and firm on the palate, with chewy tannins and a long finish. Still needs time. Best after 2008. 25,000 cases made.
 
1986 90 $168 Dark in color, with intense aromas of ripe black cherry, cedar and light herbs. Medium- to full-bodied, with firm tannins and a medium finish. A bit lean today, but there's lots going on here. Drink now.
 
1985 95 $187 I have had great and less great bottles of this vintage over the years. The 1985 was the magazine's Wine of the Year in 1988. Today it shows loads of fruit, with blackberry, licorice and fresh herb character. Full, round and velvety. Long and delicious. Drink now.
 
1982 94 $276 This vintage was a modern benchmark for the estate. Intense aromas and flavors of berry, currant, mint and light toasty oak. Full, round and refined, with a long, long finish. Gorgeous. Drinking beautifully. Drink now.
 
1981 85 $67 Offers nut, plum and berry character. Medium-bodied, with berry and coffee notes, followed by a short finish. Drink up. Drink now.
 
1975 88 $76 A tannic vintage, particularly for the Médoc; this is drinking surprisingly well. Shows aromas of ripe berries and mushroom, with hints of tobacco. Full-bodied, with chewy tannins and a long, rich finish. Drink now.
 
1970 92 $227 I drank a lot of this in Paris when I lived there in the mid-1980s. And I had a bottle this summer as well. Always outstanding. Shows intense aromas of prune and licorice. Full, velvety and long. This is a beautiful Bordeaux. At its peak. Drink now.
 
1966 91 $518 Aromas of blackberry, dark chocolate and raspberry follow through to a full-bodied palate, with silky tannins and a long, fruity finish. Balanced and pretty. Drink now.
 
1962 95 $147 I always have had a soft spot for this vintage, and the northern Médocs have always been excellent. Has a great nose, with gorgeous aromas of currant, licorice and plum. Medium-bodied, with ultrafine tannins and a long, long finish. Very beautiful and fresh. Clearly better than the 1961. Drink now.
 
1961 90 $803 Beautiful aromas of plum, light currant and milk chocolate follow through to a medium- to full-bodied palate, with fine tannins and a long finish. Very silky and refined, with a slightly raised acidity on the finish. A pretty wine. Drink now.
 
1959 95 $278 This is an example of how the 1959 vintage was more generous in style than the 1961. Rich and sweet, with loads of ripe fruit and velvety tannins. Full, round and beautiful. Gorgeous and ripe. Drink now.
 
1957 88 $777 Still has good color, with ruby brick. Shows aromas of currant, coffee and cigar. Medium-bodied, with soft tannins and a slightly raised acidity. Yet it's rich and round. Very good for this difficult vintage. Drink now.
 
1955 97 $279 This was the surprise of the tasting for me. Very beautiful and rich on the nose, with plum, meat and chocolate. Full, soft and beautiful, with fantastic sweet fruit. Long and enticing. I am amazed by this. Drink now.
 
1952 84 $294 There's slightly raised acidity on the nose, with hints of Madeira and ripe fruit underneath. Medium-bodied, with ripe fruit and meat character, medium tannins and a slightly diluted finish. Has a slightly off-putting nose, but this is a good wine. Drink now.
 
1950 89 $166 This shows ripe fruit on the nose, though it's slightly muted, with a citrus and fresh tobacco undertone. Medium-bodied, with a solid core of ripe tannins and subtle touches of dark chocolate and berry. An attractive old wine. Drink now.
 
1947 50 $400 I had a very good bottle of this wine about 18 years ago, but the one in the tasting was off.
 
1945 88 $717 Still holding on. Shows blackberry, currant and coffee aromas. Fresh. Full-bodied and very tannic. Not a lot of character, but solid. A little astringent. Drink now.
 
1937 84 NA Offers aromas of blackberry and milk chocolate, with hints of orange peel. Medium-bodied, slightly raised acidity and a light finish. Slightly diluted, but still there. Drink now.
 
1934 86 NA Light aromas of cherry, citrus and lemongrass. Medium-bodied, with slight dilution and a lemony finish. Not much to this now. But holding on. Drink now.
 
1929 90 NA A wonderful old wine, with mushroom, plum and hints of orange peel on the nose. Medium-bodied, with silky tannins and a slightly raised acidity, but finishes beautifully, with earth, subtle tobacco and fruit. Drink now.

* Prices given represent average current auction price; NA means price not available.

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