David Launay and team at Gruaud Larose are really raising the bar. I'm the first to admit that I haven't always appreciated their wines, but they possess a great terroir which has changed little since the 1855 classification (not many Chateau can claim that...). The 2011 is an admirable effort and was amongst the pick of the wines at the Pauillac, St Julien and St Estephe tasting - no mean feat given some stiff and expensive competition from the likes of Leoville Poyferre and both the Pichons. Beautiful bouquet of liquid minerals, stones, crème de cassis, graphite and violets. The palate is bathed in fine, juicy, refined fruit. This is an excellent Gruaud, which offers true second growth quality at what we hope will be a sensible price. Bravo.
Château Gruaud Larose is situated on the Saint Julien terroir just next to the village of Beychevelle, slightly deviated from the “Route des Chateaux”. While the surface of the appellation is quite small it assembles the greatest concentration of Cru Classé wines in the Medoc. The vineyard is stretching over 82 hectares of gravely soil overlaying calcareous clay which gives a fine wine with character. As a result, it was classified Second Grand Cru in 1855. This is one of the few estates that comprises the same vineyards as they did at the time of the 1855 classification. Old vintages from the 60s and 80s prove what this terroir is capable of. After a dip in form at the beginning of the Millennium, the estate is back on track producing wines of second growth quality.
St-Julien may not have any first growths like its neighbour Pauillac but has a raft of high-performing Châteaux in its ranks, second through to fourth growths, Including Ducru-Beaucaillou, Léoville Las Cases, Léoville-Poyferré, Léoville-Barton.
Gruaud-Larose and Talbot. For many St-Julien is quintessential claret, robust, powerful but refined subtle and poised. Gravelly soils dominate, hence wide plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot.