1996 Lynch-Moussas: A True Gentleman of Bordeaux

Last night, Cinnamon and I enjoyed a fantastic bottle of 1996 Lynch-Moussas with a very nice piece of New York steak and I was moved to share a little bit about this Pauillac. This property was originally owned by John Lynch, one of the “wild geese” or “oies sauvages” a group of Irishman who fled the English after the battle of Aughrim in 1691. Their descendants are still some of the most important figures in the Bordeaux business. At that time, both Lynch-Moussas and Lynch-Bages were one big property. It was divided in two in the before the 1855 classification, and like Lynch-Bages was classified as a 5th growth. In the early 20th century, Lynch-Moussas was purchased by the Castéja family, who own it to this day.

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 The vineyard is an important one at over 200 acres and is planted to 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot with an average vine age of 35 years. The chateau is located a little bit west of Lynch-Bages and is neighbors with Grand-Puy-Ducasse. The vinification is done with 50% new French oak.

 I found this wine to be fantastically elegant, well balanced and restrained. It was a true gentleman of a claret, and seems in its prime at 23 years old. This is not a heavy wine, but rather a lifted style of Cabernet and an excellent foil for the rich, marbled New York steak that my wife had prepared perfectly in a hot cast iron pan. It had plenty of gumption to pair with the meat, and I loved the long, detailed, nearly gravelly finish.

 As is often the case with a wine I like this much, I found myself not wanting to let go of my glass, except for when I needed to pick up my fork!  Cinnamon teases me for this funny habit, but she says she can always tell when I have fallen for a wine because of it. I have to say that this Lynch-Moussas is my style of claret and at just 12.5% alcohol, the kind I can really drink with my food. If you love old fashioned Bordeaux, this is one not to miss.

-Gary Westby

Gary Westby