Nestled in northwest Bordeaux, Château Lascombes, located in the Margaux appellation, is best known for its Grand Vin red which earned the ranking of Second Growth at the Bordeaux Classification of 1855. Assertive and tannic, the wine is nonetheless elegant and highly representative of its region.
The Château’s name came from its original 17th century owner, Antoine, Chevalier de Lascombes, and subsequent owners have kept it in his honor. It remained under his family’s ownership until the French Revolution, after which it passed hands until 1926 when the estate was formed into a company primary held by the Ginestet family, owners of Château Margaux. Later on, the property served as a headquarters for the Allied forces during World War II.
Lascombes enjoyed a renaissance of sorts when it was purchased by Alexis Lichine in partnership with American investors including David Rockefeller in 1952. Lichine also owned Château Prieuré-Lichine, which he re-energized to greater heights as well. But by 1971, mergers and acquisitions paved the way for British brewing company Bass Charrington to take principal ownership.
The Bass years brought great change to the Château. The company recruited noted winemaker René Vanatelle, who re-evaluated the land and determined that not all of the vineyards were producing Second Growth quality wines. Identifying the better soils to dedicate them to Second Growth, he used the remaining parcels to produce a second wine called Château Segonnes. Before he retired completely in 1997, he introduced Chevalier de Lascombes, a second wine of even better quality, which he aged in oak barrels for nearly two years. Segonnes remains in production alongside second wines Chevalier de Lascombes and La Gombaude, but now as a third wine.
By 2001, another change of hands occurred, with Yves Vatelot and American-based Colony Capital taking the reins. They, in turn, sold it ten years later to the French insurance company, MACSF, who retains ownership to this day.
Lascombes is almost equally dedicated to Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with Petit Verdot making up the last 5% of the vineyards. Featuring clay-gravel soil as well as clay-limestone plots, the land accommodates all three varietals. Because the winery is built on four distinct levels, gravity flow systems are effectively implemented. Strategic vinification is also applied in response to each parcel’s product.
Château Lascombes produces around 300,000 bottles of its signature wine per year, with Chevalier de Lascombes reaching 150,000. Because the Château owns some vineyards in Haut-Médoc, it also produces around 20,000 bottles of Haut-Médoc de Lascombes. Unlike the rest, which hail from Margaux, this wine carries the Haut-Médoc appellation.