We were generally very impressed by the balance and harmony of the wines at the St Julien UGC. Few were blockbusters, but they all had ample fruit, a sense of freshness, sympathetic tannins and a sense of cohesion. This is the best Gruaud we can remember tasting for many years. Fashioned from 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc this offers a beautifully perfumed bouquet of damsons, cherry, sloe and graphite. The palate is awash with pure crème de mûre, mulberry and loganberry. This is very polished with serious with corseted tannins and mineral infused dark fruits on the finish. It remains fresh and classy throughout. Very good indeed.
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.