June 2004, Score: 90
Surprisingly accessible as well as supple, this 2001 St.-Julien reveals a deep plum/purple color along with a rich bouquet of smoke, roasted vegetables, black currants, plums, licorice, and Asian spices. Velvety-textured and medium-bodied, with loads of fruit, and a plump, expansive, plush texture, this is an atypically forward Gruaud Larose to drink now and over the next 12-14 years. Drink 2006-2016
Very deep purple. Aromatic. Not forced. Quite gentle and easy. Thick, dense, but its impact lasts all the way through – not just on the nose like so many wines. Quite dry finish. Drink 2006-2016
Château Gruaud Larose
Gruaud Larose is one of the most dispersed châteaux. The estate is almost like a hamlet unto itself, with stone building after stone building all decorating the property like life-sized Monopoly board pieces. Reviewing its family history, it is easy to understand why. For many years it had been shuffled from one owner to the next, subsequently divided, pieced back together only to be divided again. After all these divisions and transformations, the estate stands today at 150 hectares, 82 of which are planted with vines. Its current owners, the Merlaut family, purchased the château in 1997. Their other holdings include Chasse Spleen, La Gurgue, Haut Bages Libéral, Citran and Ferrière. Considerable financial investment has contributed to the château’s new founddynamism. Not only is it one of the more self-sufficient châteaux in Bordeaux, it is also one of the most natural. Practicing organic techniques, they create their own compost from the remnant stalks, skins and seeds and were the first château to recycle their own water.
St Julien, Red Bordeaux
St Julien is like the middle child of the Médoc – not as assertive as Pauillac or as coquettish as Margaux. It lies firmly between the two more outspoken communes and as a result produces a blend of them both. St Julien’s wines have often been sought out by aficionados for their balance and consistency, particularly in the UK. Yet due to its middle child nature, it can occasionally be overlooked globally and as a result underrated by those markets outside the UK. Despite the fact that it has no first growths, it has several second growths including Léoville Las Cases, Léoville Barton, Léoville Poyferré and Ducru Beaucaillou as well as the celebrated châteaux such as Talbot and Beychevelle.