2009 was a great year for Gruaud Larose. A second growth producer that is remarkable for two reasons: They have one of the largest vineyards in Bordeaux at 82ha. Whatsmore the bulk of the land is in one large block. It sits on the highest elevation of Bordeaux and has large amounts of clay. Two thirds is Cabernet Sauvignon, one quarter is Merlot and smaller patches of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. They have some 80 year old vines of Cabernet Sauvignon too.
The other feature of Gruaud Larose is that, despite the land, the old vines, and the history, they have been remarkably inconsistent. Since 1997 Gruaud Larose has been much improved as it become part of the Taillan Group with other Bordeaux estates including: Chateau La Gurgue, Chateau Haut Bages Liberal, Chateau Citran, Chateau Ferriere and Chateau Chasse Spleen.
“Dark ruby-red. Intense aromas of red cherry, cassis, aromatic herbs and cedar. Rich, dense and suave, with concentrated flavors of dark berries, cedar and quinine complicated by smoky and peppery nuances. Finishes very long and smooth, with a highly tactile quality to the cedar and cassis flavors. This Gruaud stands out for its purity, as it seems free of the earthy and gamey nuances that have been present in many past vintages. In fact, this impressive wine strikes me as the best young Gruaud-Larose in recent memory. (1/2012)” 94 points Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
Described as ‘the Gentlemans Claret’ for its elegance and restraint. These wines often impress for the balance but never blow you away with overt characters or brass flavours. St-Julien wines age very well and in a good cellar the top wines will probably out live anyone of us.
The main grape of Bordeaux’s left bank. Cabernet is late ripening and full of acid and tannin. The great wines are structured but finessed with beautiful cassis, violets and it also transmits the flavours of the soil it is grown in really well. Cabernet isn’t a drink now variety, it really needs 10 or more years to show its best. But when you get there, WOW! Often blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc or in Australia Shiraz to fill out its mid-palate referred to as the ‘Cabernet doughnut’.
It gets a tough time most of the places it is grown. But in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion Merlot not only dominates but makes some of the best wines in the world. Perfume, silky and plush. Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon season the wines with structure and acid but in some places, like Petrus they are almost not needed.
Is actually one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon… along with Sauvignon Blanc (oh! The name makes sense now!). It is most famous for being the third most important grape in quality Bordeaux but also excels in the Loire Valley (where it lived before it went to Bordeaux), especially Chinon and Saumur. The wines are bright red in colour, highlight aromatic with raspberries, rose petals, violets along with tobacco, cassis and some herbal elements. The best examples can live as long as any great wine.
We’ve had a lot of great vintages of late but I have no doubt that this will be one of the best in the modern era. I feel that 2010 is on a par for different reasons and 2005 exceeds them both. But it is a small margin.