It is always such a pleasure tasting with Emeline and Xavier Borie; not only do they themselves exude charm, but so do their wines. Concentrating on a high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, this has an exquisite nose of damsons and tayberries. An extremely broad and rounded mouthfeel with fully developed tannins is helped by a harmonious freshness and lasting sensation of sweetness. As always a fine glass of Claret.
The Château Grand Puy Lacoste 2014 is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon and 18% Merlot between 25 September and 9 October at 33 hectoliter per hectare. The aromatics are not as immediate as the Haut-Batailley and demand more coaxing from the glass, but that comes with the territory. It unfurls with each swirl, black fruits at first, then GPL’s trademark, graphite and gravel scents storm into the room. Leaving the glass aside for 10 minutes there is a distant tang of shucked oyster shells. The palate is understated on the entry. This is not a powerhouse Grand-Puy-Lacoste, rather one that emphasizes finesse and precision. It is almost unerringly low-key and yet there is an enormous length already in place. As usual, I suspect that its secrets (or at least some of them) will be unlocked during its barrel maturation. One of the appellation's most cerebral offerings.
82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 33 hl/ha. A bit richer than the Haut-Batailley. Something floral on the nose. Polished and straightforward though a little denser and longer term than its stablemate Haut Batailley. Very round and a sort of cross between Pauillac and Pomerol. In fact many of these Pauillacs are richer than many of the Pomerols in 2014. Very solid. Needs lots of time with all that tannin but very honest and a little more refined than the Pontet-Canet. Great minerally finish and lovely purity. Drink 2025-2040
Rock-solid, with a gutsy core of plum, black currant, steeped fig and melted licorice snap, all carried by a gorgeous, charcoal-edged spine. Long, and loaded with fruit and grip. As solid as they come.
This is a wine with a dense center, wonderful fruit, polished and refined tannins and a persistent finish. Full-bodied, long and intense. Beautiful pure cabernet character. Real wine. 82% cabernet sauvignon and 18% merlot. Higher percentage of cabernet than normal.
Vibrant and pulsating in the glass, the 2014 Grand Puy Lacoste impresses for its superb overall balance. The flavors are bright and beautifully expressive, with sweet floral notes woven throughout that give the wine much of its nuance, while the seamless, silky tannins speak to finesse. Even with all of its explosive energy, the 2014 is not an obvious or huge wine; rather it is a Pauillac that draws the taster in with its multiple shades of dimension. A wine of true class and pedigree, the Grand Puy Lacoste is shaping up to be a real gem in this vintage. Tasted twice.
All the clarity and depth expected of GPL, with an added level of fragrance, elegance and purity. Simply wonderful in this vintage. Drink: 2020-2035
(82 Cabernet Sauvignon, 18 Merlot) | 75% new oak. With a much bigger frame than its stablemate, Haut-Batailley, this is a drier, more savoury and richer wine with a longer life ahead of it than many 2014s. With more grip and more density of flavour it still manages to retain incredible freshness and sour black cherry notes which never bruise the palate and only fire up the taste buds. This is a typically wonderful and evocative wine which focuses its sights, with innate precision, on the fabulous soil and setting of this property overlooking Pauillac. This is one of the wines of the vintage not least because it captures the qualities of this unique season and overlays them perfectly on the GPL sense of place. 18.5+ Château Lafite Rothschild (1er Cru Pauillac) (87 Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 Merlot, 3 Cabernet Franc) This is an exceptionally stern and commanding Lafite. Focussed, concentrated, precise and balanced, the message is clear and sonorous. The recipe is classic - 18 months in 100% new oak, 12.6% alc., and no fat anywhere to be seen. The finish takes half an hour to subside, in fact it was still there as I approached the next Château on my tour. The Cabernet intensity is fascinating at Lafite and it is achieved at such a subtly low alcohol level and with relatively long hang times. This wine will roll and roll and while it is very quiet now, introverted and pensive, it will emerge in a decade and begin conversation. Charles Chevallier, Director of Domaine Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), noted that it was ‘very long and very smooth’ – he’s not wrong.
The Borie family told me that they are a little exasperated that I keep talking about the value that this Pauillac fifth growth offers, to the exclusion of its other qualities, but it’s true. This is a very feminine Pauillac, all grace and poise rather than muscle, with silky perfume and impressive depth of flavour. Drink: 2020-30
Grand Puy Lacoste sits on top of one of the steepest slopes in Pauillac, a whole 16 metres above the main flatlands! Hardly Himalayan, but the extra 16 metres of pebble-enriched soil results inparticularly excellent drainage. François-Xavier Borie is at the helm of this very impressive château which was purchased in 1978 from Monsieur Dupin.
Due south of St Estèphe lies the appellation of Pauillac, the king of Left Bank communes. It is home to three first growths as well as a plethora of other classified growths. Pauillac's renowned well-draining, gravelly soils enable its dominant grape Cabernet Sauvignon to reach fantastic heights of complexity and concentration. As a result, Pauilac's wines tend to be full-bodied with compact tannins and good freshness. Its aromatics are often what one associates with classic Bordeaux: pencil shavings, black currant and occasional mint. Some of the most famous châteaux of the commune are Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild, Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande and Lynch Bages.