For the grand vin of Lagrange, grapes are hand-picked into small crates and then sorted both manually and by an optical sorting machine. Traditional Bordeaux vinification is carried out in 92 temperature-controlled stainless steel vats of varying capacities, thus allowing a separate vinification to respect the character of each plot and soil-type. Placing all or part of a given plot into its own vat also allows harvest at optimum ripeness.
Total vatting time, determined by tasting, varies from 16 to 28 days, depending on the tannic development in the fermenting wines. Temperature of fermentation never exceeds 28°C to guarantee preservation of the finesse and fruitiness. Selection of press wine is performed “barrel by barrel“ allowing a wider choice range during the blend tastings.
The wines are blended only a few months after harvest, to achieve a better harmonization of the tannins and plot origins. The wines are aged 20 months in French oak barrels, of which 60% are new, and racked every 3 months.
Chateau Lagrange is in the Saint-Julien appellation of the Bordeaux region. At one time, it was the largest wine producing estate in the Medoc. Historical evidence shows winegrowing activity there even in Gallo-Roman times, and in the Middle Ages when the estate received its name.
The 18th century brought widespread renown to Lagrange. An influential shipping merchant, Jean-Valere Cabarrus, invested in the property and established his own sales network. He commissioned Visconti to build the Tuscan-style tower that was to become the emblem of the Chateau.
But it was Count Charles Tenneguy Duchatel, owner from 1842 to 1874, who brought great improvement to the estate by adding a drainage system in the vineyard. The wines were thus classified as one of the fourteen Third Growths in the Bordeaux Wine Classification of 1855.
Due to neglect, debt, and a period of mediocrity, portions of Chateau Lagrange’s vineyards were sold over the years until the remaining holdings were purchased by Suntory in 1983. A complete restructuring of the vineyard and a spectacular renovation of the whole estate was undertaken. After twenty years of dedicated work, as well as human and technical investments, Lagrange once again found recognition.
Today, the estate covers 182 hectares (450 acres), of which 118 hectares (292 acres) are under vine. The combination of Gunzian gravelly soil, sand, and iron-rich clay is planted with 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot. The vineyard for the white wine (Les Arums de Lagrange) covers 7.5 hectares (19 acres) and is planted with Sauvignon Blanc (60%), Sauvignon Gris (20%) and Semillon (20%).
In addition to the grand vin, there is a second wine, Les Fiefs de Lagrange, established in 1985 with vines that average 30 years of age, and a new wine from vines located in the Haut Medoc appellation called Le Haut-Medoc de Lagrange.