This is by way of a foretaste of the results of a massive blind tasting of 2001 (apologies by those of you who must have been thoroughly confused by the fact that I originally typed 2002 - JR) red bordeaux that I took part in last week. Full details will appear at the end of next week but in the meantime, this second wine of Ch Lagrange is one of the best buys to have resulted from this look at 150 of the top wines.
Regisseur Marcel Ducasse ay this Suntory-owned third growth has since retired but he seems to have been on top form with the challenges of the 2001 vintage. I don't actually think Les Fiefs de Lagrange 2001 St-Julien is ready yet and, giving it a score of 15 out of 20 (quite high for this quality level) I suggest you drink it from spring of next year until 2016.
It's clear that some top quality oak has been used on this sappy, lively, very respectable Médoc which has quite enough fruit to counterbalance the ambitious tannin level. This is absolutely NOT, however, a wine to drink without food. This widely available wine is classic left bank bordeaux with none of the sweetness and unctuous texture that can add youthful appeal to many modern right bank examples.
It's worth noting that Berry Bros claim that Berry's St-Julien comes from Ch Lagrange and "is made to the same recipe as the Château's second wine Les Fiefs de Lagrange". They charge £14.95 a bottle and £167.40 a dozen for it – both these prices including UK duty. See their description.
Lovers of traditional claret should not be disappointed. And they should be interested in many more good buys to have emerged from this blind tasting.