Château La Lagune: Tasting & Drinking

Of all the classed growth estates that are dotted along the length of the Médoc north of the city of Bordeaux, Château La Lagune has the most southerly position. Driving north from Bordeaux along the famous D2, which takes you past so many of the famous names of the region, it is Château La Lagune that you will encounter first. On a roundabout, close to Ludon-Médoc, cast iron railings on one corner hint at an expansive estate beyond, although any château or vines here are completely hidden from view by trees. There is no doubt that this is Château La Lagune though; just behind the railings the name of the property is spelled out, each individual letter standing proud on iron poles that must be at least three metres tall.

Château La Lagune might be considered a gateway, a sign that you have left behind the suburbs and the land ruled by the cru bourgeois châteaux and that it is now time for the classed growths. Indeed, next up, just a short distance along the same road is Château Cantemerle, with Château Giscours hot on its heels, followed by all the delights that Margaux, St Julien, Pauillac and St Estèphe have to offer us. For this reason Château La Lagune is sometimes light-heartedly referred to as the premier grand cru of the region. Neither this estate’s location nor this epithet should, however, distract Bordeaux savants from the true worth of this estate; this property is a source of very good wine.

In my earlier encounters with the wines of Château La Lagune, which concerned vintages of the 1970s and 1980s, these wines tended to be robust and tannic, and they tended to display plenty of wood, it being policy at the time to use large quantities of new oak, sometimes 100%, the sort of figure more commonly associated with first growths and Pomerol superstars. Even so, getting past the oak, it was clear that the wines were of good quality, and as the vintages matured the wood would eventually be absorbed by the wine, although it would take a long time for this to happen. These days, the percentage of new oak is much more restrained. Quality, however, remains very good indeed, and what is more there is – as indeed there is with many Haut-Médoc châteaux – good value here as well.

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