Our Origins

 

Back in the Middle Ages there were two separate entities: The first, the “Tenure of Pellecahus” was to the East of the brook running through the property. The other was located on a hillock to the west and was known as the “Noble House of Lagrange de Monteil”. These two estates were to join in the seventeenth century, and so Lagrange was born.

Château Lagrange belonged to the same family for almost two centuries, thus maintaining its unity. One of its more charismatic characters was a certain Charles de Branne de Cours, who managed the domain from 1712 to 1746. In the heart of the viticultural revolution, he and his rich Bordeaux family (who also owned Mouton) were to make Lagrange one of the most beautiful Médoc properties. Charles de Branne was succeeded by his son. On the latter’s death it was his nephew, Jean-Baptiste Arbouet de la Bernède, who took over the property in 1771. 

Jean-Baptiste Arbouet continued to develop the estate, modernising part of the facilities. The imposing vinification cellar dates back to this time.

In 1787, Thomas Jefferson, then United States ambassador, ranked Lagrange as a Third Classified Growth.

Jean-Baptiste d’Arbouet sold Lagrange to Jean-Valère Cabarrus, his wife’s nephew, in 1790. Jean-Valère Cabarrus was from a renowned wine merchant family and chose to develop the viticultural activity of the estate. He commissioned the Italian architect Visconti to build the Tuscan-style tower, adding elegance and singularity to the Château.

 

When he died, the property was bought by an ally of the family, John Lewis Brown.

The Golden Age of Duchâtel

 

Lagrange’s heyday was between 1842 and 1875, when Count Duchâtel, Home Secretary to King Louis Philippe, was the owner. His visionary avant-garde approach meant Lagrange was awarded the rank of Third Classified Growth in the official 1855 classification.

 

Assisted by his faithful estate manager, Galos, then also running Mouton Rothschild, Duchâtel took Lagrange to the pinnacle of success and fame.The two men innovated, introducing the use of sulphur to fight powdery mildew and, importantly, were also the pioneers of a new soil drainage system in the vineyard.

Lagrange became the meeting place of High Society, with sumptuous receptions. Artists were also frequently invited, drawing inspiration from the impressive landscapes.

 

When the Count passed away in 1867, the aged Countess took over the property, helped by her two children. Darker years were to follow: the phylloxera crisis, World Wars, fires, various vine diseases, economic and financial crises…Lagrange did not come out unscathed. The property had been reduced to 157 hectares (of which only 56 under vines) when the family group, Suntory, bought it from the Cendoya family, who had been owners since 1925.

A New Era

 

Suntory’s chairman, Keizo Saji, and vice-chairman, Shinichiro Torii, decided to do the absolute maximum to allow the re-birth of this Grand Cru Classé.

Marcel Ducasse, graduate of the Bordeaux Institute of Oenology was recruited to undertake a total re-structuring of the property alongside Kenji Suzuta and then Keiichi Shiina. Over the first ten years the team at Lagrange undertook an ambitious renovation project, painstakingly working to regain the prestigious image this Cru had enjoyed in the past.

A re-birth was achieved over a total of more than thirty years of technical and human investments.

Today, Matthieu Bordes and his team are continuing to write Lagrange’s history, in a mindful quest for excellence, producing unique, distinguished wines of character, in keeping with the elegant Saint-Julien style.