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November 2015

Training at Lynch-Bages

The technical team headed by Nicolas Labenne has four new members: Angélique, Zoe, Carlo and Alexis. Some have arrived from other regions in France, others from as far afield as Italy and China, but all are currently receiving training of between six months and three years at Château Lynch-Bages, immersing themselves in the life of a Grand Cru and working on cutting-edge innovations. Each has their own story.

En stage à Lynch-Bages

Angélique from the Auvergne in France, and Carlo, from Taurasi near Naples in Italy, are both students at the ISVV (Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences) in Bordeaux, where they are preparing their national diploma in oenology (DNO). After arriving at Château Lynch-Bages in June 2015, they tried their hand at viticulture until August. They will now spend the next few months, until December, getting to grips with their future profession: oenology.

Alexis, a BTS student at EVO (La Tour Blanche School of Viticulture and Oenology) in Bommes, in Gironde, will work with the team part-time for three years. He specialises in precision viticulture, and in particular geolocation (see our Geolocated fertilisation, a precision viticulture technique" article).

Zoe has come from the NorthWest A&F University (A&F pour Agriculture and Forestry), a reputed establishment in the Chinese province of Xian, for an immersion course in the French vineyard.

 

Choosing the right training topic

"Care must be taken when choosing the focus of the training," says Nicolas. "We get together at the beginning with the students and their tutor to choose a focus according to not only study programmes but also technical challenges, innovation ideas and the means needed to implement them".

Carlo chose to devote his time to the vinification of white grapes, studying both the influence of turbidity* on aromatic typicity and how temperature influences fermentation in barrels. Angélique is studying the potential of a native yeast strain.

Regarding the whites, Carlo and his training supervisor have set clear objectives: to improve aromatic expression and prevent premature ageing in bottles. As for the reds, and more specifically Cabernet Sauvignon, the aim is to achieve greater typicity, greater local character. For this last research topic, headed by Angélique, the technical team has created replicas, with small stainless steel vats at Lynch-Bages and Château Ormes de Pez. "ISVV is also providing analytical support, with the help of professors" , says technical director Nicolas Labenne.

* the matter content of a fluid, which makes it cloudy, and its ability to disseminate or absorb incident light.

 

Presenting their work to the team

Trainees at Lynch-Bages become full-fledged members of the team, involved in all aspects of our work. "They are also faced with decision-making", says Nicolas, who entrusts the trainees with tasks that "allow us to move forward."

At the end of their training, the students prepare a thesis detailing their experiments that they must present orally. Nicolas is a member of the jury, -"although not for our interns", he says. This oral presentation does not mark the end of the experience, however. "I always ask them to come back and see us, to present their thesis again like they did to get their diploma, but this time to all the team members they worked with. It’s always a friendly and informative moment!"

Based on the work of Angélique, Zoe, Carlo, Alexis, as well as Geoffrey from the Champagne region and Lisa from Denmark before them, we can safely say that the Lynch-Bages 2015 vintage of trainees holds great promise. Next year, Nicolas Labenne and his technical team will again welcome between four and six new enthusiasts, and they will mature together.

 

What they think of their training

Alexis: "My parents work the vine and I’ve had a passion for it since I was young.
I was taught that every great wine is the result of hard work carried out as a family.
Today, at Château Lynch-Bages, I’ve rediscovered this family spirit, which I think is important in my job."

 

 

Angélique:"I’m glad I chose Château Lynch-Bages for my training
because I’m learning to make great wine with a fantastic team possessing the know-how
and educational skills needed to ensure we always feel at home."

 

 

Zoe: "How to express my feeling about Château Lynch-Bages?
I have to say, everytime when I stand on the road with trees which is in
front of the chateau, it's breezing, the words in my mind are: "sans toi les émotions
d'aujourd'hui ne seraient que la peau morte des émotions d'autrefois
."
My experience here is absolutely unforgettable and amazing! »*In reference to the film The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain. You can see the scene in French below:

Carlo: "This experience has given me an all-round view of the production process and helped me fully understand the philosophy and elegance of this great Pauillac.
Thanks to the technical team’s responsiveness, to their advice and explanations,
I now fully understand all the work that goes into a fine bottle of wine.
All this in the company of friendly and open-minded people. I couldn’t have hoped for better!"

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November 2015

The Lynch-Bages 2015 vintage: key dates and figures

Millésime 2015 équipe

Soil water reserves within the norm, a rare Merlot maturity... read on for the facts and figures surrounding the Château Lynch-Bages 2015 vintage, from bud to cellar.

 

Vintage 2015 weather

354 mm of rainfall

This is the rainfall recorded between November 2014 and February 2015, in line with the average of the past 30 years (364 mm). Although the winter months replenished the soil’s water reserves, they were gradually depleted in May, June and July – the hottest and driest in Gironde’s history – resulting in a relatively early end to the vine’s vegetative growth. 

 

Vintage 2015 bud break

18 March: the first buds

The first Cabernet Sauvignon buds appeared at Lynch-Bages mid-March. Which is slightly early. But budbreak was homogeneous and took place in good weather conditions, ensuring a healthy vegetative development.

 

Vintage 2015 Flowering

23 May: the vineyard’s first flower

Flowering began in late May. Veraison began on 21 July, in other words 4 or 5 days earlier than in 2014.

 

Vintage 2015 harvest

9 September: first day of harvest

The whites (Muscadelle) were harvested first. Harvesting of the reds began on 17 September with the Merlot (about 10 hectares).

 

Vintage 2015 Maturity

13.5% potential alcohol: natural Merlot

The potential alcohol in the first 4 vats of Merlot, filled on 17 and 18 September by 2 teams of 50 people, is 13.5%. An exceptional maturity.

 

Vintage 2015 Production

2015: a balanced production

There are sufficient yields of old Merlot, thanks to good flowering, and the Cabernet Sauvignon production offers a good balance of rich skins and high volumes of berry juice, as the grapes benefited fully from the beautiful weather in the 2nd ten days of Septembe.

 

Vintage 2015 Recruitment

A bonus: our 2 Greek gods will return in 2016

They promised they’d be back... will you? 

 

Credits:

Our special thanks to photographers Oddur Thorisson and Rodolphe Escher.

 

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January 2016

"Global Best of Wine Tourism 2016": Lynch-Bages & Cie carries off the prize!

The network of Great Wine Capitals, united Thursday November 12th, at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, announced Lynch-Bages&Cie, the Grand Prize Winner from France, at their Global Best of Wine Tourism Awards 2016. 

Founded in 1999, the Great Wine Capitals Global Network is an alliance of eight internationally renowned wine regions – Bordeaux, France; Cape Town/Cape Winelands, South Africa; Mainz/Rheinhessen, Germany; Mendoza, Argentina; Porto, Portugal; Bilbao/Rioja, Spain; San Francisco/Napa Valley, USA and Valparaiso/Casablanca Valley, Chile.

A unique Bordeaux experience
The Cazes family has created a number of unique experiences under the name of Lynch-Bages & Cie which combine wine, history, culture and the French art of living. Among the unforgettable must-see features : Château Lynch-Bages and its historic vat-house, the Relais & Châteaux hotel Cordeillan-Bages and its 2 Michelin star restaurant, the cookery school, the picturesque village of Bages, the "personal winemaking" experience at VINIV. Excellence, authenticity, charm, elegance, hedonism and simplicity are part of the “voyage”. An array of unusual and tailor-made activities are also offered to visitors all year long: arrival by helicopter, classic-car rallies…
On November 12, Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum was the scene of the 2016 international  ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ awards ceremony sponsored by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.  The ceremony took place during the gala dinner that marked the end of the Network’s annual general meeting. The international award winners are chosen from among the ‘Best Of’ winners from each Great Wine Capital.  This year, there were 386 nominees and 50 local award winners. On the evening, each of the eight member regions was awarded with regional and global awards. Within the Bordeaux region there were a number of regional winners, including Chateau CarbonnieuxChateau de ReignacDomaine de Grange NeuveChateau de la Dauphine and Chateau Coutet.

Read more about the Great Wine Capitals Global network on www.greatwinecapitals.com

 

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July 2015

Lan Chi Pat Alliance pupils visit Pauillac

On 19 June 2015, pupils from Hong Kong were received at Pauillac as part of an academic and cultural exchange organised for the past eight years by the Lan Chi Pat Alliance.

Ten pupils from the Médoc visited Asia in October and on 19 June, ten Hong Kong children were invited to France. Lynch-Bages welcomes pupils every year in the spring, accompanied by two professors from the Lan Chi Pat Memorial Secondary School, in Tseung Kwan, a town situated in Hong Kong’s New Territories region.

The Lan Chi Pat Alliance, which organises the exchange in partnership with Collège Saint-Jean in Pauillac, was created eight years ago at the instigation of Jean-Michel Cazes. His attraction for the school was natural as it shares the name of his wine, Lan Chi Pat being the title chosen for Lynch-Bages in Hong Kong to make pronunciation easier for the Chinese, who found speaking the original name difficult.

New friends and discoveries

Under the watchful eye of Hélène and Pauline, the Hong Kong pupils began their visit of France in the Médoc with Lynch-Bages, where they learned the different stages of winemaking. They stayed in our “small château” at Lynch-Bages and dined at Café Lavinal with their French friends.

After this gourmet experience, they spent the weekend with the families of their exchange students visiting Pauillac and Arcachon Bay. The following week was rich in events, giving the pupils an opportunity to discover La Palmyre Zoo, Bordeaux, the Dune of Pyla, and our local châteaux. The trip drew to a close at the school itself, with the end-of-year celebrations, before a last excursion to Paris and Versailles.

A journey rich in cultural exchange

When the French pupils organised a cocktail reception at the Lynch-Bages harvest room, the pupils of Lan Chi Pat, named after a famous Cantonese singer, chose the moment to reveal their talent with a musical performance in traditional Chinese opera costumes borrowed from the school’s collection. A second show was organised at Château Clerc Milon in Pauillac during the Médoc Rotary Club dinner.

About the Lan Chi Pat Allianc

In 2007, Jean-Michel Cazes became friends with headmistress of the Lan Chi Pat Memorial Secondary School Shi Fung-Ling, and together they set up the school exchange programme. The Hong Kong school teaches pupils aged 11 to 18. It places a strong focus on opera and music and has a superb collection of costumes and instruments. In France, the exchange is open to 15-year-old pupils studying at Collège Saint-Jean, an establishment neighbouring Lynch-Bages that specialises in foreign languages. The initiative receives support from the Commanderie de Bordeaux and Cathay Pacific Airways. Over 100 pupils have benefited from the scheme since 2008.

 

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June 2015

BBR and VINIV join forces in support of literacy for underprivileged children

The famous London wine merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd (BBR), also considered Britain’s oldest wine and spirits merchant and partner of VINIV since 2014, has launched a unique initiative to raise funds for the  Room to Read charity, which works to improve literacy among children in developing countries.

In collaboration with VINIV, BBR has created Widely Read, a wine blended on 31 March 2015 by Stephen Bolger (VINIV), Eric Boissenot (recently named “the most influential wine consultant in the world of wine” by The Drinks Business), Jancis Robinson (journalist from the Financial Times, see the "Blend ambition" article) and Simon Staples (BBR). BBR immediately bought 10 barrels, the equivalent of 2,880 bottles.

The next day, some 570 bottles of Widely Read were sold at a charity dinner in Tokyo, Japan. A promising first step paving the way for new sales at auctions organised in several cities, including Paris (France) and London (United Kingdom).

VINIV has also decided to offer a barrel of the 2014 vintage to Room to Read Japan in support of this inspirational project.

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July 2015

Geolocated fertilization, a precision viticulture technique

Having georeferenced the entire property to establish a detailed map, Lynch-Bages has now introduced a geolocated fertilization technique throughout the estate. As technical director for Château Lynch-Bages, Nicolas Labenne explains what this state-of-the-art innovation actually involves.

Fertilisation géolocalisée

Château Lynch-Bages is innovating again this year with its geolocated fertilization methods. What does this involve exactly?

Nicolas Labenne: "Our detailed knowledge of the vineyard combined with today's technological innovations allow us to use precision viticulture techniques. We can now adapt our spreading of organic and mineral fertilizers throughout the vineyard, even dividing areas less than 5 metres in length. This offers two advantages, not only can we reduce our use of fertilizer by 15 to 20% but also, above all, we can distribute products more effectively according to the needs of individual areas."

Why was this not possible before?

NL: "It required a lot of hard work. We began working on the idea in 2009 by conducting studies of soil resistivity and potential. We needed to measure the vineyard’s intra-parcel heterogeneity. This mapping, combined with plant-specific analyses, took us a long time but we have now distinguished five main soil types on the estate holding different qualitative potential. In 2009, we were already able to use this information to divide the land up into about 30 sub-areas to begin selective harvesting. Today, we are using our partners’ technological breakthroughs to take the process a step further and begin precision viticulture, using for example geolocated fertilization techniques."

What are the advantages for the vineyard, and ultimately for the wine?

NL : "This is where things become interesting. The quality of a wine depends on a multitude of important details. The techniques already used are beginning to yield results, for example better plant homogeneity and a must with more stable acidity levels and better sugar concentration. There is also an environmental impact, because this more judicious and precise form of viticulture is best for monitoring and sustainable development. This means the château will make input savings and we will soon be reducing our phytosanitary treatments too. We can also manage vineyard renewal and its long-term homogeneity more effectively."

Precision viticulture at Lynch-Bages: the key facts

Step 1: observation
In 2009, we georeferenced Lynch-Bages in detail (rows, orientation, length, actual planted surface, etc.), using satellites, drones and GPS to obtain more information about the vineyard.

Step 2: characterization
The data showed the vineyard to be very variable, and so we divided the land up into new intra-parcel zones.

Step 3: recommendation
We then completely revised and optimized the estate's viticulture strategy (thinning, fertilization, renewal, etc.).

Step 4: implementation
We carried out the first geolocated fertilization tests in 2012. The tractor's GPS contains the information on the georeferenced map, meaning input can be controlled by either varying the spreader's flow (mineral fertilizer) or varying the speed at which the tractor moves forward (natural plant compost). The entire production cycle (thinning, renewal, selective harvesting, etc.) has benefited from these innovations.

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January 2016

New presentation plates in the gastronomic restaurant

“Veraison”, marks the transition from grape growth to grape ripening when a flood of colour washes through the vineyard, painting the berries purple and gold.
As Jean-Charles Cazes had the idea to celebrate this special stage in the vine cycle, it only seemed natural to him to call on Italian interior designer Anne-Monique Bonadei to illustrate “veraison” on the new gastronomic restaurant plates.

Created in collaboration with Anne Monique Bonadei and the storied Limoges porcelain maker Bernardaud, our new plates represent the veraison process through a series of 3 illustrations.

Available by 2 in a gift set
320€ + shipping

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Weekend of 22 November

VINIV winemakers have completed their blending of the 2013 vintage

Around forty VINIV winemakers from all over the world met up over the weekend of 22 November 2014 in the village de Bages to put the finishing touches to the blending of their 2013 vintage.

During this international Mashup the technical team from Château Lynch-Bages and Eric Boissenot, an eminent Consultant-Oenologist in the Médoc (Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, Mouton Rothschild, etc.), were on hand to guide them in their work.

Over the weekend, the VINIV winemakers explored the historic centre of Bordeaux during an exclusive tour, and took part in a vertical tasting of Château Lynch-Bages 1995 to 2012 as well as a special masterclass on the 1990 vintage held in the Millésima cellars.

Bouteilles de Château Lynch-Bages

VINIV Vintage 2014: a date for your diary in May, 2015

This great Mashup finishes with a magnificent closing dinner at Cordeillan-Bages, led by the Cazes family and Stephen Bolger. The key event of the VINIV experience, this annual meeting offers clients the chance to get together to share moments of both work and conviviality connected with their passion for wine.

Meet up during the weekend of 29 and 30 May 2015, for the producers of the 2014 vintage!

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June 2014

Drones at Château Lynch-Bages: technology for the vineyard

In June 2014, Château Lynch-Bages began carrying out a survey with the Telespazio company, a branch of the Thalès group, using aerial detection. Objective: to achieve an ever more fine-tuned vineyard management.

Based on cartography created through images taken from the sky by drones and microlights, the aim of this survey is to acquire more in-depth knowledge of the vineyard, and to adapt vineyard practices (notably geo-localised fertilisation and canopy management) as well as selective harvests.

Nicolas Labenne, technical director of Château Lynch-Bages says:

« The concept proposed by Telespazio, EarthLab & Millésime, enables us to obtain an extremely precise analysis of the crops in the vineyard. This technology should allow us an even deeper understanding of our 50 types of soil. For us, it’s also a matter of carrying out a general assessment in a bid to optimise our renewal policy. »

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