Wine Words & Video Tape

Wine, Words and Videotape

Fine Wine Review site

Château Gruaud Larose

gruaud 2

Address: 33250 St Julien-Beychevelle

Telephone: +33 (0)5 56 73 15 20


Château Gruaud Larose makes strong and full flavoured St Julien which in the past has been long lived and tannic. Designated a second growth in 1855 the estate was purchased by the Cordier family in the early twentieth century. In 1997 the Merlaut family acquired the property and much work and investment has been put into the property in recent years. In the last few vintages the wines of Château Gruaud Larose have also taken on a more delicious and silky note. Pricing here remains fair considering the quality. The 2009 is full, sexy and delicious, while 2010 is even stronger potentially. Second wine Sarget de Gruaud Larose usually pretty good value – I bought a case of the 2010 and will let you know how I get on…

Vineyards/Terroir: 82 hectares on deep quarternary gravel on tertiary clay subsoil planted with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5.5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and 1.5% Malbec.

Winemaking/Elevage: Fermentation on native yeasts, up to 33C followed by a long 20-30 day maceration. 18 months oak age with up to 40% new each year.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Mid depth; dark core; purple edge; little dumb initially; fruit tones emerge on aeration; good fruit and acidity on the palate; needs to fill out a little. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2023-2030. 90-92+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated colour; purple at edge; pure Cabernet; freshness; clean and pure; lovely blackcurrant aromatics and perfume; showing wonderfully on the day; very polished; complete and round on the palate; very attractive vintage for Gruaud Larose; caressing wine; yet also structured with fresh acids on the finish. 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot. Drink 2020-2035. Tasted UGC 31 March, 2015. 91-93+
  • 2013 Mid depth; dark core; little reticent at first then blackcurrants and some earthy notes emerge; nice entry on the palate; cool blackcurrant fruit with some complexity [meat and notes of earth]; attractive mid-palate and nicely balanced fruit and acids. Fresh obviously but for the vintage this works. [77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 12.75% alc]. Tasted 87-89+
  • 2012 Mid depth; satin aromatics with blackcurrant fruit tones and earthy notes; very St Julien; blackcurrant spice with a smoked meat and savoury edge on the palate; nicely attractive; the wine has depth and texture on the palate. Good effort. Drink 2017-2027. 90+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Mid depth; nice layers to the nose; attractive; some perfume and lift; grippy palate, fresh with acid and tannin firm; will fill out I expect but will always have bite and grip. 87-88 Tasted UGC Thursday April, 11, 2013 [Earlier note – better showing] Mid depth; some stalky Cabernet, some earth and tobacco tones; quite open and attractive on the nose; palate has a nice tension between earthy Cabernet and grip; pretty sinewy effort though. Still reasonable texture and fruit. 66.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and 6.5% Petit Verdot. Tasted Tuesday April 9, 2013. 88-90+
  • 2011 Mid depth; lifted blackcurrants with some leaf, earthy tones and spices; even a little tobacco – attractive; palate good with blackcurrant notes again and nicely handled tannin. This is a good effort. One of the best so far from the commune. Drink 2015-2025. 90+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; slightly malty, earthy note, peat here too; ripe; palate dense, layered and satisfying; chewy and deep. Intense palate, earthy, mealy meaty note again – quite typical. Chewy but tannin not over done. Pretty good and should settle further. Tasted twice at UGC. 88-90+ Apr ’12 UGC primeur tasting
  • 2010 Mid depth; some earth, savoury tones with ripe cassis and blackcurrants; cleaner palate with layers of blackcurrant fruit; quite dry but with plenty of extract. Lacks the purity of Léoville Barton – earthy, smoky and savoury notes. Not as knockout as it was primeurs. 92/100 UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Very dense, very deep; feels more finished; satiny feel here, seductive and deep nose, settled and very attractive – this immediately feels very good. Very attractive and deep palate; wow really very complete compared with the last few; lots of depth and density; some chew and grip but lots of lush fruit. Very good wine 92-94+/100 Tasted 5 April 2011. [Second tasting UGC] Deep and dense; lovely seductive nose, roses, blackcurrants, layers, very bright and attractive – deep – this feels genuinely as good as if not better than 2009. Creamy ripe wine on the palate, very attractive; lots of poise and grip with density. Attractive with excellent density 94-96+/100 [66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot 14 alc] Tasted 7 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Big and deep looking; very attractive and forward nose; earthy blackcurrants and smoked meats but with a certain silkiness; pretty deep; stalky blackcurrant tones, real purity here and rich in body. Very full with deliciously ripe tannins. Lovely wine. Plenty of guts for the long haul but wonderful already. Drink now-2035. 97 MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Mid red; not as dense as some; sexy, some animal and game tones, classic Gruaud; sweet oak too with blackcurrants – flashy style; leaf and blackcurrant too; very open and some jam too; maybe a fraction less impressive than at primeur tastings but this is meaty, seductive stuff. 93+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Very ripe nose; some strawberries and red fruits; very seductive; almost element of jam and super ripeness here; palate intense and concentrated; a wine of fantastic fruit; some real exotic notes to the palate; almost super concentrated Grand Cru Burgundy. Decadent. Fantastic finish. [Second note] Deep black – red to purple at edge; very sexy and open; opulent; already quite nuanced; very flattering; great entry; real ripeness here; seductive fruit; wonderful. Real chew but well balanced. Lots of extract and material but nicely done. Very good length.  94-95/100. Tasted 30th March & 1st April ’10 UGC Primeur tastings.
  • 2008 Mid red; quite light at core; feral and earthy as usual, very savoury with some blackcurrant; quite developed palate with tobacco and savoury tones and a touch of animal meal, spices and grip. The earthy tones – terroir or winemaking? 87 MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Less dense than the Lagrange [tasted before] – some stalky Cabernet; feels a bit lighter and looser; some animal notes; coconut and cake; quite light on the palate versus its peers and loose on the finish. Not one of the best St Juliens. 86-88?/100 Oct ’10.
  • 2007 Mid red; typically earthy and meaty notes here; meats and animals; some tar and intensity; some meat on the palate and nicely done. Roundness to the tannins and silky quality to the palate. Good considering the vintage. 88+/100 UGC tasting Oct ‘09 UGC London tastings.
  • 2006 Similar depth to Lagrange, but with a little more development showing; cassis and resin on the nose; strong wine with some meaty qualities, this is good [and better than the disappointing 2008] – really attractive savour here also smoky notes also meaty too and some mocha and chocolate at the back; palate is full, sweetish but with extract and material. Lots of flesh here. Also good grip, structure and chew, maybe lacks a fraction at the end – but good to very good. 88-90/100 MW Institute Nov ’10.
  • 2005 Deep red/black; some intensity to the nose but quite pent up; gravelly note on the palate; closed wine; currently hard and tannic but intense. Very closed up. Difficult to assess. Reputation much better. Bad bottle? 88-90? Sept ‘09
  • 1996 Deep black red; menthol, mint, development here – attractive; palate chocolate, tobacco with some tar but elegant and fine with good acid. Good length here. Intense and savoury. Just opening up. Later more savoury notes with leather; with firm tannin. Quite a lean vintage for Gruaud. Fine. Will age well and gain complexity though doesn’t have the extract or density of the 1986. 90+ Sept 09 [earlier note] Deep in colour; deep nose; quite dense; resinous; chewy palate; for the long haul; will open out. Good length here. 92/100 May ‘08
  • 1990 Mid red; brown at edge; wonderful spicy warm nose; fully mature and spot on St Julien; black fruits, spice, tobacco; earth and tar; mid depth; nice bite to the tannin; will last another decade. Drink 2015-2025. Tasted May ’15. 95+ [Earlier note] Deep red black; big and heady; some caramel in the nose [badly stored bottle?] Great reputation but no rating on this bottle. May ‘08
  • 1987 Red at rim; medium weight; gloriously sweet nose, plums, red fruits; classic St Julien with blackberries and sweet oak with tobacco and cedar. Flavours carry through to a palate with elegance and a touch of astringency. Mature. Excellent considering the rain affected vintage. 88/100 Aug ‘94
  • 1986 Deep at core; red at edge; wonderful sweet ripe mature nose; cedar, tobacco, some spices, roast beef; also tar, leather and molasses; some menthol at the back; palate sweet attack, real olives and blackcurrants; intense, menthol; strong and full flavoured; tannins a little coarse but terrific density and length on the palate; finishes with leather and lapsang notes. Monumental. First growth quality here. 96+/100 Sept ‘09 Previous note [Aug ‘89] Black/red; tight to rim; intense nose of tobacco, spice, blackcurrants and cassis; powerful palate with lots of fruit and rugged tannins. Top end. Very good. Strong and tannic. 94/100 Jul ‘89
  • 1985 Deep black, red; minty leafy edge; quite top-end nose; leafy, tobacco, silky and fine; palate quite dense and intense; blackcurrants, olives and tapenade. Very good wine. Maybe a trifle short but intense. Tobacco at the end. Actually very good. 91/100 May’ 08
  • 1984 Deep red; full nose, rich round and mature; peaty olives and tobacco; excellent for ’84; mid-weight palate with good extract; round soft tannins. Finishes a little short but successful considering vintage.  87/100 Apr’ 95 Now probably too old.
  • 1983 Deep mahogany red, close to rim; nose savoury with toasty tobacco and sweaty edge; some animal qualities with rich ripe fruits beneath. Palate broad and expansive, sweet and ripe with ripe tannins. Excellent wine 92/100 Sept ‘94

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Follow Us