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A deep, dark brooding wine, as the Cahors sobriquet implies, the 1996 Chateau Lagrezette is thankfully far less foreboding in its aromatic profile, where spicy berry scents, mingled with the aroma of anise and new oak, beguile the nose. In flavor, rich red fruits in a velvety format caress the tongue, followed by the ripe, healthy tannins of an age-worthy Cahors. Voluptuous, yet well structured, this Chateau Lagrezette will benefit from several more years of cellar ageing, or an hour or two in a decanter, before serving. It is obvious that the use of new oak barrels, as well as the careful sorting and destemming practiced by the domaine, has successfully resurrected the grandeur and promise of the Cahors appellation. Kudos to Alain-Dominique Perrin for sparing no expense in bringing this traditional Cahors and the region's most historic estate back to life. In the monotonous age of standardization, it is refreshing to see and taste a wine as unique and intriguing as the Chateau Lagrezette Cahors.
"Where's the meat? Bring on the steak, pile up the cheese, the Chateau Lagrezette is a wine for fat." Made in the style of yesteryear, before all the talk of cholesterol and the homogenization of wine, the Chateau Lagrezette seems designed to keep the arteries open. It has no problem cutting through fat to complement the richest of foods. We suggest serving this "baby" with prime rib or a truffle infused beef tenderloin. Beef Wellington also makes for an outstanding accompaniment to this fine Cahors. Alas, some of our English brethren even attest to the virtues of Chateau Lagrezette with their traditional Christmas goose complete with all the drippings and trimmings. But no matter what your fancy, open the wine at least an hour or more before serving and decant it. Prolonged breathing time will bring out the rich fruit and subtle tones in the center of the wine as it tames the wine's tannins.
The Vineyard at Chateau Lagrezette The vineyard at Lagrezette spreads over nearly 121 acres. It is planted with the three noble varieties allowed under the Appellation Controlee for Cahors. The traditional Auxerrois, or Cot, or Malbec as it is more often called today, comprises 70% of the vineyard. This noble and historic variety gives Cahors its "black" color and its individual character, specifically its tannin and longevity. Merlot (26% of the land) furnishes fruit, smoothness, tenderness and elegance to the wine, while the remaining 4% of the vineyard is planted in Tannat, another traditional grape that offers strength and vigor to the cepage. All three grape varieties are grown on a wide variety of soils, ranging from a stony, clay and limestone geologic type to pebbles, sand and silt. Each soil type adds its own attributes and character to the wine, the same way that individual grape varieties leave their imprint in the scents and savor of a wine. Undoubtedly, the use of all three grape varieties and soil types adds complexity to the wines of Chateau Lagrezette.
The Wines of Chateau Lagrezette Chateau Lagrezette produces three types of wine at the estate: Cuvee Prestige Dame Honneur (a wine produced only in very small quantities and in certain vintages), Chateau Lagrezette (the domaine's premium production each vintage), and Chevaliers Lagrezette, (a light, earlier maturing wine made from young vines). All three of the domaine's wines are red and they are of course estate bottled. Each of the winemaking steps at Lagrezette is accomplished in a three level state of the art facility beneath the hill on which Chateau Lagrezette stands. Here, wine is made with respect for time honored traditions. All of the grapes are hand picked, never mechanically harvested, and each bunch is manually sorted before being destemmed and crushed. Technology is used only to assist the winemaking team which includes the famous Bordeaux oenologist, Michel Rolland, in making the most healthy and natural Cahors possible. Chateau Lagrezette always receives a very long maceration, or vatting time, lasting an average of three weeks. During this process the skins of the grapes are pumped over the juice to garner a deep color and robust flavor so that the resulting wine will have the necessary resources to age gracefully - in typical Cahors fashion. After fermentation is complete, the wine matures in new oak barrels located in the lowest, coolest level of the winery for twelve to twenty-four months, depending upon the vintage. In addition to the three estate grown wines produced at Lagrezette, the domaine also makes Moulin Lagrezette, an excellent value, light, everyday Cahors, that comes from vineyards located by the river Lot. A Votre Sante!
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