The 2005 Gruaud Larose is medium to deep garnet-brick in color. It needs a moment of swirling to bring out fragrant notes of rosehip tea, crushed rocks, dried lavender, and red loam leading to a core of prunes, redcurrant jelly, and black truffles. The medium-bodied palate shimmers with energetic black and red berry layers supported by firm, fine-grained tannins and lovely tension, finishing long and minerally.
Drink 2024 - 2042
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Indepedent (January 2024)
Needs coaxing out of the glass, as is true with so many 2005s even at 16 years old, but straight off the first nose you get the most beautiful nuance and turmeric-strewn spice. It's exotic if subtle, with a creamy texture, grilled oak, black chocolate shavings, cassis and raspberry, all with the most beautiful sense of tiptoing through the palate, holding the line. Exceptionally well balanced, slate and smoked earth, giving signature St Julien finesse. You have really had to be patient for this wine, but it is utterly spellbinding, and starting to show its potential. Harvest September 20 to October 10. This one really does benefit from being carafed, because it keeps so much of itself hidden (I tasted it once in a carafe and once straight from the bottle). Brilliant, full of flavour. Harvest September 20 to October 11, 35% new oak.
Drink 2021 - 2040
Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (November 2021)
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec.
Brick hue. Riper profile than the five previous vintages. Dark and red fruit on the nose but still a little muddy. Better fruit weight and density on the mid palate with a firmness to the tannins. Touch hard on the finish. Has all the components but misses some precision.
Drink 2015 - 2030
James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (March 2023)
The 2005 Gruaud Larose has a deep ruby/purple color, excellent concentration, and clean, pure black and red currant fruit, licorice and spice. It is medium to full-bodied, lush, and very soft and round. Im surprised how drinkable it is already, although it is certainly capable of lasting 15 or more years.
Drink 2015 - 2030
Robert M. Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate (June 2015)
Good red-ruby. Redcurrant, leather and game on the expressive if slightly rustic nose. Sweet and concentrated but a bit youthfully aggressive, and not showing the refinement or definition of the 2006. Strong nutty oak component. Finishes with substantial tannins that are a bit richer and more fully buffered by the wine's middle-palate material than those of the 2006. It will be interesting to compare these two vintages in ten years or so.
Stephen Tanzer, Vinous (May 2008)
About this WINE
Chateau Gruaud Larose
For many years Gruaud-Larose was owned by the négociants Cordier, who also own Château Talbot. It was sold in 1993 to the French conglomerate, Alcastel Alstom, which in turn sold it to the Taillan Group, owners of Chasse-Spleen and Haut-Bages-Libéral, in 1997. The talented Georges Pauli has remained as régisseur and winemaker throughout all these changes.
Gruaud-Larose has 84 hectares of vineyards located on a gravel-rich plateau just to the west of Château Beychevelle. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Merlot (25%), Cabernet Franc (8%) and Petit Verdot (2%). Vinification takes place in a mixture of wooden vats and cement tanks and the wine is aged in oak barriques (30% new) for 18 months.
Gruaud-Larose can be tannic and ungainly in youth but with bottle ageing it becomes marvellously harmonious and develops complex and beguiling characteristics of concentrated black fruits, cedar, spices and liquorice.
St Julien is the smallest of the "Big Four" Médoc communes. Although, without any First Growths, St Julien is recognised to be the most consistent of the main communes, with several châteaux turning out impressive wines year after year.
St Julien itself is much more of a village than Pauillac and almost all of the notable properties lie to its south. Its most northerly château is Ch. Léoville Las Cases (whose vineyards actually adjoin those of Latour in Pauillac) but, further south, suitable vineyard land gives way to arable farming and livestock until the Margaux appellation is reached.
The soil is gravelly and finer than that of Pauillac, and without the iron content which gives Pauillac its stature. The homogeneous soils in the vineyards (which extend over a relatively small area of just over 700 hectares) give the commune a unified character.
The wines can be assessed as much by texture as flavour, and there is a sleek, wholesome character to the best. Elegance, harmony and perfect balance and weight, with hints of cassis and cedar, are what epitomise classic St Julien wines. At their very best they combine Margaux’s elegance and refinement with Pauillac’s power and substance.
Ch. Léoville Las Cases produces arguably the most sought-after St Julien, and in any reassessment of the 1855 Classification it would almost certainly warrant being elevated to First Growth status.
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.