We have to admit to having a special fondness for the appellation of St. Julien. Rather unfairly, there are no first growths here but there are several contenders for a first growth crown, nicknamed the “super seconds” and including Léoville Las Cases and Ducru-Beaucaillou. We love St. Julien because of the consistency of its wines; they never disappoint.
The appellation takes its name from the village of St. Julien-Beychevelle and grew up in the 16th and 17th centuries as wealthy merchants from Bordeaux began buying up the newly drained land and building impressive showcase chateaux (Ducru-Beaucaillou, Beychevelle and Langoa Barton being good examples – all of them situated alongside the famous D2 “route de chateaux” road.)
St. Julien is the smallest of the Médoc communes with only 910 hectares under vine but almost 95 % is classified growths. However, the largest classified growth in the Médoc is found here at Chateau Lagrange with 123 hectares. The wines are similar to those of Pauillac but often softer and fruitier with pure, fresh flavours. Like Pauillac, they pair well with roasted and grilled meats, hard cheeses and game. There is quite a range of styles from the austere elegance of Léoville Las Cases (which seems often to taste more like a Pauillac than a St. Julien) to the traditional charms of Léoville Barton.
The region is formed as a rectangle roughly 3.5 kilometers wide by 5.5 kilometers long with Gruaud Larose representing its highest point. Its soils range from stony, pebbly to sandy gravel to clay. It is these well-drained gravels that provide the genius of the St. Julien terroir.
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- Saint-Julien0.375l Red€13.10 €10.83Probably the best loved second wine in Bordeaux, this vintage suits Les Fiefs and brings out the juicy, Cabernet fruit of this successful St. Julian estate. Medium rich, bright, crimson colour, soft and grapey on the attack, with good spice and flavours of black cherries, blackberry and tobacco. There is nice weight on the palate and good, round tannins.
- Saint-Julien0.75l Red€22.25 €18.39In 2013 Château Lagrange's younger vines have produced fruit that is fresh and acidic with pronounced notes of cassis, prunes and blackberry. Supple and approachable on the palate, this is a charming wine to be enjoyed young.
- Saint-Julien0.75l Red€23.30 €19.26The second wine of Lagrange always has a popular following. The 2014 is very bright and fresh with lots of red fruit character and a touch of spice. It is pretty, fruity and and lively with nice persistence and good acidity. Not very dense, this is an attractive wine for easy drinking over the next four or five years.
- Saint-Julien0.75l RedPrimeur€24.60 €20.33A lovely wine in spite of obvious frost damage, this is pretty and fresh with lovely sweet, ripe cassis flavours, soft almost, tender, good core of freshness mid-palate; a little oaky towards the finish which has yet to integrated but still an attractive wine.
- 2017 Château LagrangeSaint-Julien3ième Grand Cru Classé 0.75l RedPrimeur€42.35 €35.00Inspite of being badly affected by the frost and losing one third of the crop, this is a pretty dark crimson coloured wine, scented and very forward fruit in the nose, sloes, blackcurrants and blueberries. It has a lovely soft attack, rich and ripe, nice fruit and a good mouthfeel. A very attractive wine.
- Saint-Julien1.5l Red€46.60 €38.51In 2013 Château Lagrange's younger vines have produced fruit that is fresh and acidic with pronounced notes of cassis, prunes and blackberry. Supple and approachable on the palate, this is a charming wine to be enjoyed young.
- 2017 Clos du MarquisSaint-Julien0.75l RedPrimeur€49.15 €40.62A serious Clos de Marquis with very ripe, fresh Cabernet flavours with quite marked intensity, good spice and dark fruit.It is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc grapes being aged in 55% new oak. The wine opens up in the mouth to reveal lovely freshness, very good ripe tannins, tea leaves and great spicy flavours. Long and rich in the finish with very pure fruit.