You drive through the small village of Margaux, then turn left in front of the excellent restaurant Le Savoie, passing an extraordinary bakery shop on the little street, and then you see a big, big property. 115 ha of vines planted with 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. Vines here are on average 35 years old, and the soil composition is a bit atypical for the Margaux district with limestone and clay and gravel. Limestone and clay particularly favor Merlot. There are many parcels spread over the whole Margaux district.
Dominique Befve, who had worked at Lafite Rothschild, arrived here in 2001, when USA-based investment group, Colony Capital, purchased it after 30 years of ownership of the property by English brewery company Bass Charrington. Before Bass Charrington stepped in, Alexis Lichine bought Lascombes in 1952 and a group of American investors.
Colony Capital made considerable investments in Lascombes and heavily modernized the winemaking facilities. 6 years later, they put Lascombes put for sale, but first, in 2011, a French insurance group MASCF purchased it. The new owner didn't make personal changes and has kept the entire wine team. In November 2022, Lawrence Wine Estates, an American company, which owns, among others, Heitz Cellar in Napa Valley, purchased Lascombes from MASCF. The wine team hasn't changed.
Dominique Befve is Lascombes' technical director. He explains that Lascombes doesn't utilize machine harvest; grapes are treated with cold pre-fermentation to soften the skin and keep freshness/aroma. Wine ages on lees for 18 months in 80% new oak, and these casks are on specially designed wheels, so the juice and lees are "blended" frequently.
Dominique Befve during the 2015 harvest - he has every reason to smile!!
Michel Rolland has been a consultant since 2001, and I was lucky to follow him and Lascombes' technical staff in October 2004 when he checked if Merlot grapes in the particular parcel a few kilometers from Lascombes were ready to be harvested. It was great to watch and hear his comments. A lesson in explaining phenolic ripeness! Before our "trip" to the vineyard, he opened the back of his car, and there were no less than +20 pairs of different shoes! Be somewhat prepared for all kinds of weather.
Michel Rolland in Lascombes vineyard in October 2004
As my tasting notes indicate, Lascombes is an authentic Margaux wine with great elegance and style, especially since the 2005 vintage. I don't find it at all overblown, overdone and too modern. This 2. Cru is reasonably priced and, therefore, great value for money.
2021 Lascombes (barrel sample) 92p
Tasted in April 2022. Tasted twice with the same impression. It was light but elegant with silky fruit and tannin, a velvety texture, and a delicate finish. This wine will surely mature much sooner than f.i. 2018 and 2019.
2020 Lascombes (barrel sample) 95-96p
Tasted in April 2021. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. 13.5% alcohol. It had a sensual and aromatic nose of grilled bacon and coffee beans, great elegance and finesse, a powerful, sophisticated touch, silky berries, and very finely-grained tannin. It's as authentic and classy Margaux wine as it can be! Wonderfully captivating effort.
2019 Lascombes (barrel sample) 96p
Tasted in June 2020. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon + 45% Merlot + 5% Petit Verdot, 14.5% alcohol for Merlot, 13% for both Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. A very intense and noble nose of crushed blackcurrants, refined with great elegance and great finesse. Remarkable precision. Great length and a long finish. Better than 2018! Sublime stuff!
2018 Lascombes 95p
Tasted three times - last time in December 2020. Consistent notes. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. Sensual and aromatic nose of grilled bacon and coffee beans, great elegance and finesse, powerful, sophisticated touch, silky berries, and very finely grained tannin. It's as authentic and classy Margaux wine as it can be! Wonderfully captivating effort. It improved a lot compared to the barrel sample!
2017 Lascombes 93p
Tasted in April 2018. This barrel sample had a pretty aromatic nose of black fruit, a healthy oak dose, splendid complexity and length. Persistent finish. Well-made wine.
2016 Lascombes 94p
Tasted twice - last time in October 2017. Consistent notes. A stylish wine with strong structure and great elegance, complex and precise with pretty fruit and tannin, well-defined, elegant, fine acidity. Persistent finish. Impressive stuff.
2015 Lascombes 94+p
Tasted three times - the last time in January 2018. Consistent notes. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. Big, complete, complex, more concentration and power than usual. Precise and focused wine with pretty fruit and tannin. Liquid silk with a lot of sweetness.
2014 Lascombes 93p
Tasted twice - last time in October 2017. Consistent notes. Classic Bordeaux/Margaux, coolish style, great acidity, finesse and elegance, harmonious and persistent finish. There's great potential here.
2013 Lascombes 89p
Tasted twice - last time in December 2016. Consistent notes. Quite successful for the vintage. Adorable, light, round and soft. Very tasty. Bad weather conditions during the growing season didn't allow to make better wine. To consume before its 10 years birthday.
2012 Lascombes 93p
Tasted five times - last time in September 2017. Consistent notes. Lovely, aromatic, catchy, seductive and tasty wine, which takes you by storm. Sweet fruit and tannin, all packed in velvet. Not that rich, concentrated and long as 2016, 2015 and 2010, but who cares. Significantly cheaper than chateaux' big vintages. Splendid effort for the vintage!
2011 Lascombes 88p
Tasted in September 2019. Fruity, lovely and elegant. Not so sexy, attractive and seductive 2012, light and with a good finish.
2010 Lascombes 94p
Tasted three times - last time in October 2017. Not consistent notes. This wine is an elegant monster, fat and creamy texture, all wrapped in silk. This wine has turned on all its cylinders after a so-so period while in the barrel. After bottling, it's been only one way concerning quality - and it's been up!
2009 Lascombes 93p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2013. Consistent notes. Sweet fruit and tannin, complex with a long and sweet finish. Sheer elegance and delicate balance, velvety texture. Seductive effort.
2008 Lascombes 92p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2013. Consistent notes. was more down to earth and more classic vintage than 2010 and 2009, but still with good intensity, ripeness and complexity.
2006 Lascombes 92p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2016. Quite mineral, grilled bacon, tobacco leaves, fine backbone and depth, elegant and with finesse. There is more Cabernet Sauvignon than usual in the blend.
2005 Lascombes 94p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2016. Consistent notes. Creamy, sweet fat fruit and tannin, great depth and balance, long lingering finish. Stylish elegance. It is an imposing effort.
2003 Lascombes 89p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2013. Consistent notes. This wine had a touch of warm fruit, and tannin was a little bit dry. It looked like it was suffering from the extreme heat in August. Will imho not make old bones.
2001 Lascombes 90-91p
Tasted four times - last time in April 2013. Consistent notes. Lighter than usual, elegant, refined and very tasty. Round and seductive.
1971 Lascombes 93p
Tasted in October 2019. A splendid nose of ripe blackcurrants, lovely complexity and structure, deliciously fruity finish. A lot of style and finesse here. Classy wine from Margaux commune at its peak.
1970 Lascombes 93p
Tasted in November 2019. From magnum. Delicious and delicate, attractive, smooth, very much Margaux style, finesse and elegance. Persistent fruity finish.
1949 Lascombes 95p
Tasted in April 2013. I tasted it at the property. Utterly awesome treat with lively fruit, remarkable elegance, stunning complexity and richness.
1947 Lascombes 88p
Tasted in April 2016. A negociant bottling. Old stuff, oysters aroma/smell, still good acidity, and a taste of extracted coffee beans.