Château Lascombes

Since the 17th century, there have been ten successive generations of owners, each of them leaving their own particular mark on the history of Château Lascombes. Along the way, there have been many colourful characters, all of whom have sought to attain the highest levels of excellence in the wines of Château Lascombes.

A central figure in the history of Château Lascombes was Knight Antoine de Lascombes. As well as being the château’s first recorded owner, it was he who gave Lascombes its name. Born in 1625, he was to forge the destiny of the estate. One of his descendants, Jean-François de Lascombes, a councillor at the Bordeaux parliament, Crown Prosecutor at the Admiralty and member of the Academy, dedicated his fortune to the upkeep of the château and most particularly to enhancing the quality of its wines. In 1855, Château Lascombes was ranked as a Second Classified Growth in the classification of the Grand Crus Classés.

In 1952, Alexis Lichine, château owner, Bordeaux merchant and an excellent taster widely respected by his peers, bought the château and completely overhauled it. Under his leadership, the estate enjoyed a golden era, and its renown spread around the world. Writing several works on wine and travelling widely, he sought passionately to make Château Lascombes a wine of the very highest order.

A man of experience and a highly-reputed winemaker, Dominique Befve took charge of Château Lascombes in 2001. His years spent at great estates such as Lafite-Rothschild in Pauillac paved the way for his future post at Château Lascombes. Under his management the vineyard was restructured and the wine-making methods were completely rethought, leading to the introduction of more modern, high-performing wine-making equipment. In 2011, the MACSF became the new owners when they bought Château Lascombes from Colony Capital. They immediately sought to take the quality of the wines to even greater heights and thereby gain permanent recognition for the fine work begun by the estate’s first owners.

The château, with its elegant profile that can be admired from the entrance gate, contains an array of different architectural styles ranging from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The original château, a classic chartreuse in design (the first floor of which remains today), was built in the 17th century. Successive owners then made their own architectural contributions, especially during the 19th century. The English influence, which was widespread at the time, is particularly apparent on the building’s upper floors. From the surrounding grounds, the view of the château and its adjacent vineyard is superb.

The Château Lascombes vineyards stretch over 112 hectares (276 acres) in the Margaux appellation and 6 hectares (15 acres) in the Haut-Médoc appellation. It is today one of the largest vineyards of the 1855 Classified Growths. The Château Lascombes vines are located in the most prized parcels of Margaux and have the advantage of being planted in a unique variety of soils. The vineyard is made up of three distinct parts of roughly equal surface areas: a gravelly mound, on which Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot are planted, a clay-gravel area planted with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and lastly, clay-limestone plots, perfectly suited to the Merlot grape variety planted there. In fact, Merlot makes up the majority of the grape composition of the vineyard with some 50%, which sets Lascombes apart from other Margaux growths.

Everything begins in the vines. Behind this simple truism lies a series of rigorous and meticulous vineyard tasks (de-leafing, green harvesting and so on) performed throughout the seasons. At Château Lascombes, all the work on the vines is done manually. In recent years, and since the arrival of Dominique Befve, numerous adjustments have been introduced to enhance grape ripeness and quality. Regular, thorough ripeness analyses are carried out, though it is always the tasting of the berries that determines the harvesting dates. The grapes are therefore tasted regularly to estimate their optimal ripeness.

Since 2001, Château Lascombes has been equipped with the latest high-performing tools to enable optimal handling of the grapes while keeping them perfectly intact. Built on four floors, the vat cellar enables the wine-making process to be carried out using gravity systems. Different-sized temperature-controlled stainless steel and oak vats allow the crop to be vinified plot by plot and grape variety by grape variety. Demanding and rigorous techniques such as a pre-fermentation cold soak and ageing on the lees have been adopted to achieve the highest levels of excellence.

The ageing process is the last stage in the making of the wine. At this point both the handling of the wine and the period of time of ageing are important. The First Wine is run into French oak barrels by gravity and is aged for 18 to 20 months. After its malolactic fermentation in barrel it begins its ageing. A barrel rotation system allow the lees to be brought into suspension, giving the wine more flesh and fullness without any air coming into contact with the wine. The different batches are then blended according to their character, terroir and power. The harmony of this blend produces the characteristic richness and complexity of Château Lascombes.
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