Pauillac is the aristocrat of the Médoc boasting 75% of the Médoc's first growths and with grand cru classés representing 84% of Pauillac's production
For a small town, surrounded by so many familiar and regal names, Pauillac imparts a slightly seedy impression. There are no grand hotels or restaurants, with the honourable exception of the establishments owned by Jean-Michel Cazes, there is a small port and yacht harbour and a dominant petrochemical plant.
But outside the town, there is arguably the greatest concentration of fabulous vineyards throughout all Bordeaux, including three of the five First Growths. Bordering St Estèphe to the north and St Julien to the south, Pauillac has fine, deep gravel soils with important iron and marl deposits, and a subtle, softly rolling landscape, cut by a series of small streams running to the Gironde. The vineyards are located on two gravel-rich plateaux, one to the northwest of the town of Pauillac and the other to the southest, with the vines reaching a greater depth than found anywhere else in the Médoc.
Pauillac's first growths each have their own unique characteristics; Lafite Rothschild, tucked in the northern part of Pauillac on the St Estèphe border, produces Pauillac's most aromatically complex and subtly-flavoured wine. Mouton Rothschild's vineyards lie on a on a well-drained gravel ridge and with its high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon can produce (in its best years) Pauillac's most decadently rich, fleshy and exotic wine.
Latour, arguably Bordeaux's most consistent first growth, is located in southern Pauillac next to St Julien. Its soil is gravel rich with superb drainage and Latour's vines penetrate as far as 5 metres into the soil. It produces arguably the most long-lived wines of the Médoc.
Ch. Lafite-Rothschild, Ch. Latour, Ch. Mouton-Rothschild, Ch. Pichon-Longueville Baron, Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Ch. Lynch-Bages, Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Ch, Pontet-Canet, Les Forts de Latour, Ch. Haut-Batailley, Ch. Batailley, Ch. Haut-Bages Libéral.