NOTE: Gruaud Larose St Julien 2018 is due to arrive in 2021
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 becomes 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.
“The 2018 Gruaud Larose is blended of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc, with a pH of 3.88 and 14.2% alcohol. Deep garnet-purple in color, it leaps from the glass with bold black cherries, mulberries, plum preserves and blackcurrant cordial scents with hints of menthol, lilacs, licorice and cloves plus wafts of fallen leaves and tilled soil. Medium to full-bodied with a taut core of ripe, densely packed, muscular fruit, it has a firm line of ripe, grainy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and spicy. Very exotic Gruaud!” Score: 95/97 Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (April 2019), April 2019
“This is really generous and rolls off the tongue with ripe and velvety tannins and a fresh undertone. Full-bodied, firm and silky. Extremely long and flavorful. Very complex already.” Score: 95/96 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2019
“(67 Cabernet Sauvignon, 24 Merlot, 9 Cabernet Franc) | 90% new oak | 14.2% alc With a superb nose and a detailed palate with red and black fruit notes in harmony, this is a well-balanced Gruaud and while it is long and complete I felt that there was a little something missing and so while I was tempted to bump up the score to 18.5, in the end I stuck with a noble 18.” Score: 18+ Matthew Jukes, MatthewJukes.com, April 2019
Described as ‘the Gentleman’s 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 outlive 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.
Quality Red Bordeaux in 2018 will be deeply coloured, aromatically complex, and opulent in the mouth. While it sounds like they will be ready to go from day one, most experts are predicting this is a vintage for long-term cellaring. Think 30 years or more! It wasn’t the best start to the vintage so quality is not uniform. Look for Northern Medoc, Margaux, Pomerol and Saint-Emilion.