2014 Villa Bel-Air Graves Rouge
Lynch Bages, the chateau in Pauillac beloved by Cabernet fan worldwide and sometimes affectionately referred to as Lunch Bages, is not a family that rests on its albeit-lordly reputation. Since 1973, it’s been on a near meteoric rise from “mere” Fifth Growth, to surpassing all of them, to competing with Second Growths, to blowing by them as well. This is why a case of Lynch Bages now costs a small fortune – because it’s worth it.
But for those of us who don’t have a small fortune but love the grand taste of Bordeaux blends (or for those who have a fortune) Lynch Bages has something special for us all – a new project in Graves, Bordeaux: Chateau Villa Bel-Air.
Graves is the first of Bordeaux’s wine regions and also the first to establish Bordeaux’s global reputation. As far back as the 12th century, traders were bringing Graves wine to London for commercial sale. The name itself derives from “gravel” and indeed, the best soils are just that – gravel-rich, with sand and clay mixed in.
Chateau Villa Bel-Air is located in the heart of Graves at the hamlet of Saint-Morillon. While the vineyard dates back to the 18th century, the property was purchased by Lynch Bages in 1988. The same team – top to bottom – that makes Lynch Bages makes this wine.
To sum up: you’re getting one of Bordeaux’s top properties bringing all of their insight, knowledge and skills, to bear on an exciting winemaking project with centuries of tradition behind it. And it shows:
“2014 Ch. Villa Bel-Air is a benchmark Graves. Owned by the Cazes family, who also produce the wonderful Ch. Lynch-Bages, this super Claret is always a favourite with our team. The nose is dominated by lovely, vibrant red fruits and generous, earthy, savoury notes which are a hallmark of the wine’s appellation. Approachable even now at this very early stage, there is an abundance of tasty bright, red and fresh fruit on the palate. Strawberries linger on the mid-palate and combine expertly with notes of graphite and a rich, softness on the finish. There is a coolness here and touch of spice too which coat the mouth. It is a triumph, truly excellent value and the first wine from the 2014 vintages which we are very happy to recommend.” – Berry Bros. & Rudd
I know, that tasting note is from a British firm, but hey, they’ve been importing wine for over 400 years, and you just gotta love the soft sell from a Brit!
This is delicious drinking Graves that we managed to score at a price that can’t be beat. As Oz Clarke notes, “Lynch Bages is impressive at five years, beautiful at ten years and irresistible at twenty.” For lovers of Lynch Bages, heck for lovers of red blends from across the region, here is a wonderfully scrumptious wine. Cheers!