Les Caleches de Lanessan is the Second Wine of Chateau Lanessan and its quality is revealed in each sip. It takes its name from the chateau’s long ties with horses. ‘Les Caleches’ refers to ‘the carriages of Lanessan’ as the chateau is home to a horse carriage museum. Lanessan has been owned by the same family since 1793 when wine trader and ship owner Jean Delbos purchased the domaine (which was known as ‘Dubosqc’ at this point in time). After the French Revolution, the chateau changed its name to Lanessan (the Delbos family were descendants of the original Lanessans who owned the property in the 1300s!). The Boutelliers married into the family in 1907 and they still own the chateau today.
The multi-award winning domaine lies in Cussac Fort Medoc – rather fittingly the name Cussac designated the holding of a horse-dealer (‘cusson’). The domaine lies close to Saint Julien, with prestigious neighbours such as GCC (Grand Cru Classe), Third Growth Chateaux Lagrange, Fourth Growth Beychevelle and Second Growth Gruaud Larose. A little-known fact is that Lanessan should also have been a GCC but missed out back in 1855. The owner at the time, Louis Delbos, did not feel it necessary to put forward Lanessan for the classification in the belief that the ranking would add nothing to the estate’s already sound reputation. Consequently its traditional ranking of Fourth Growth was never ratified. Thanks to this error of judgement Lanessan describes itself as a Grand Cru Hors Classe (in a similar manner to Petrus, which ranks as a First Growth but missed out on classification as the AOC Pomerol wasn’t included). You may wonder what all this means to the wine enthusiast. It means that Lanessan is an exceptional estate that falls under most people’s radar . . . and subsequently its superb wines don’t command the silly prices that the GCC do.
There has been a quiet renaissance taking place at Lanessan since talented winemaker Paz Espejo took charge in August 2009. The much-respected Eric Boissenot became the estate’s resident consultant oenologist in 2004 and in 2015 Hubert de Boüard, the owner of First Growth Chateau Angelus took over from him. The Caleches de Lanessan 2010 comes from a particularly good year and we recommend decanting it a couple of hours before serving. It will pair beautifully with with classic Bordelaise dishes such as Rognons a la Bordelaise (kidneys with red wine and mushrooms) and Entrecote a la Bordelaise (rib of beef in red wine sauce). Try it with fillet steak, rich casseroles, venison and braised liver and onion.