In normal circumstances, senior editor James Molesworth would be tasting Bordeaux’s 2019 barrel samples this time of year. But while formal tastings have been canceled and the global economy remains uncertain, Bordeaux’s 2019 en primeur campaign is moving forward at blistering speed. During the June 17 edition of Straight Talk with Wine Spectator, an Instagram Live series sponsored by Wine Access, Château Lynch Bages owner Jean-Charles Cazes explained why the campaign has moved forward, discussed pricing and talked about plans for times he hopes will be better.
“There are a lot of people relying on the en primeur system,” Cazes explained to Molesworth during their chat. Cazes and his family released their Château Lynch Bages 2019 futures at $93 retail, a 26 percent discount from last year’s price. Whereas the futures campaign usually takes months, this year is different. “There is no time to beat around the bush,” Cazes said. “It has to be a short and swift campaign in order to be successful.”
Lynch Bages has long been a clear favorite for U.S. consumers, thanks in part to Cazes’ father Jean-Michel Cazes’ pioneering efforts to reach out to America in the 1970s. His efforts garnered him Wine Spectator’s Distinguished Service Award in 2007. According to Jean-Charles, the U.S. market is responsible for 15 to 20 percent of Lynch Bages sales.
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The 2019 vintage was a “walk in the park,” in Cazes’ words. A dry, sunny summer produced ripe grapes, normal yields and small berries with very high concentrations and good tannins. According to Cazes, the fruit-forward samples from 2019 are similar to the 2009 vintage and are built for the long-haul.
Cazes also spoke about the new winery at Lynch Bages opening in the fall. The contemporary space is part of a three-and-a-half-year project designed by New York architect Chien Chung (Didi) Pei, and has double the number of tanks of the old one and a barrel cellar twice the size. Cazes says he plans to use the new winery for the 2020 vintage.
Watch the full episode with Jean-Charles Cazes on Wine Spectator’s IGTV channel and tune in to @wine_spectator on Instagram to catch Straight Talk with Wine Spectator, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. ET.