Château Lanessan, just outside the commune of St. Julien, traces its history to the late 18th century when Jean Delbos, a Bordeaux wine merchant, bought vineyards. The estate remained in the family over the generations and today it is still owned by descendants of Jean Delbos, though winemaking has been handed over to Paz Espejo. Today there are 111 acres of vineyards planted to 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 4% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Some 220,000 bottles of the flagship wine are produced annually. There is a second wine, Les Caleches de Lanessan. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that Lanessan is “an insider’s wine. Lanessan often makes wines of classified-growth quality that can keep for decades…This underrated Medoc consistently produces wines of fifth-growth quality.”
Bordeaux is the world’s most famous fine-wine producing region. Even non-wine drinkers recognize the names of Bordeaux’s celebrated wines, such as Margaux and Lafite-Rothschild. Located near the Atlantic coast in southwest France, the region takes its name from the seaport city of Bordeaux, a wine trading center with an outstanding site on the Garonne River and easy access to the Atlantic. Like most French wine regions, Bordeaux’s first vineyards were planted by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago, then tended by medieval monks. Aristocrats and nobility later owned the region’s best estates and today estates are owned by everyone from non-French business conglomerates to families who have been proprietors for generations. Bordeaux has nearly 280,000 acres of vineyards, 57 appellations and 10,000 wine-producing châteaux. Bordeaux is bifurcated by the Gironde Estuary into so-called “right bank” and “left bank” appellations. Bordeaux’s red wines are blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. It also makes white wines of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. There are several classification systems in Bordeaux. All are attempts to rank the estates based on the historic quality of the wines.