Perched on a small rise in Pauillac, this superb property belonging to François-Xavier Borie is currently one of the most consistent in the appellation. A luxuriously deep purple, this wine is scented with the wisp of smooth, smoky oak. A rich, dark fruit spectrum dominates the concentrated palate that flows along gorgeously silky tannins. A brilliant wine with impressive length. CP
The 2016 Grand-Puy-Lacoste is a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon and 21% Merlot that matured in 75% new oak. It has 13.3% alcohol this year. It has an extraordinarily pure bouquet with blackberry, briary, touches of pencil shaving and cedar aromas--quintessential Grand-Puy-Lacoste, basically. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannin. Gone are the days when this Pauillac was as hard as nails for the first decade. The tannins are nowadays much finer and the acidity lends this tension and plenty of freshness. There is an effortless quality to this Pauillac with wonderful length and such finesse on the finish that you immediately want to go back and re-taste it. Like so many others, this improved with aeration, gaining ever more harmony and precision. What a brilliant wine. It is classic Pauillac to its core. Drink Date 2024 - 2050
79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot. Harvested 28 September to 13 October. 45 hl/ha. Very dark crimson. Very ripe and fresh. Pretty glorious expression of the vintage on the nose. Slightly dry finish but really very energetic and may be a fairly good buy. Slightly dry on the end – very British claret! Drink 2025-2040
One of the successes of the vintage, the Grand-Puy-Lacoste is fabulous. Racy, forward and incredibly inviting, the 2016 makes a strong first impression and then never lets up. Sweet red cherry, blood orange, white pepper and floral notes give the wine its brightness and aromatic nuance. Deep, fleshy and utterly exquisite on the palate, yet light on its feet, the 2016 exudes finesse. The flavors are remarkably vivid, but in the end, it is the wine's sublime balance that places it among the highlights of the vintage. Don't miss it!
This has a spicy, almost toasted edge, perfectly balanced depth and a retraction of the tannins through the mid-palate that springs back again on the finish. This vintage sees the addition of 15 new small 80hl stainless steel vats in the cellar, allowing for more precision during fermentation. There is plenty of hidden power going on in this wine, with a tannin index of 79IPT, similar to the 2010. The silky tannins make this large-structured wine deceptive right now, but it is extremely well handled, particularly in the teasing out of mineral, wet stone touches flicking through the dark berry fruits. I expect it will close down a little more than some this year.
François-Xavier Borie told me that his Cabernet berries were full of ‘thick juice’ as opposed to being made from smaller grapes than usual, which other properties reported, and this is the reason for the amazing concentration in this wine. The intensity of fruit is incredible with rare depth and traction on the tongue and this is also a vehicle for superb, grainy tannins. The oak is more obvious on the nose than usual and it is clear that this is a wine to keep for a long time. Powerful but also relatively lithe in terms of structure and weight, this is an amazing wine and a perfect counterpoint to the more exuberant 2015. The style and accuracy paraded by GPL in 2016 is a model for the commune and I anticipate it outliving the more flamboyant 2015, too.
It’s up against stiff competition, but this is my pick of the Pauillac Fifth Growths in 2016. It’s a perfumed, high-toned, structured red with savoury, fine-grained tannins, a core of piercing cassis and wet stone-like flavours and haunting sweetness. Bravo! 2024-38
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.