The 2022 Gruaud Larose was picked from 7 to 24 September and included a little more pressed wine this year: 13.5% exclusively from Cabernet Sauvignon due to the quality. This latest vintage matured for a planned 18 months in 95% new oak. Significantly, this is the first year under organic certification (notice two storks on the label signifying this. Maybe they are carrying a little Gruaud baby?)
At 13.64% alcohol, this is less than many other properties for those seeking slower intoxication. It has an impressive bouquet with pure blackberry and raspberry fruit, black truffle and sous-bois scents. I am impressed by its delineation and focus; these are the nicest aromatics I've encountered for a while at this address. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grain tannins.
I cannot remember a Gruaud at this nascent stage that exhibits this level of energy and tension deriving from the Cabernet Sauvignon extracted at the beginning of vinification. There's much more precision here. Mineral-driven toward the finish, this easily surpasses vintages made at the estate over the last decade and more. Perhaps like the legendary Gruauds of old (1982, 1961, 1928, even 1870)? Gruaud reborn.
Drink 2028 - 2070
Neal Martin, Vinous.com (May 2023)
The 2022 Gruaud-Larose is 83% Cabernet, the most Cabernet ever for the Grand Vin here. A huge, opulent wine, Gruaud-Larose offers an exotic mélange of blackberry fruit, cloves, espresso, liquorice, bittersweet chocolate and incense.
This full-throttle Saint-Julien is not exactly subtle, but its balance is impeccable. Readers should expect a buttery, dense wine with tons of concentration, a good deal of new oak and all the pedigree to hold it all together.
Drink 2028 - 2052
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2023)
A blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc, the 2022 Gruaud Larose is deep garnet-purple in colour. It needs some coaxing to bring out scents of wild blueberries, blackcurrant jelly, and black raspberries, with touches of garrigue, dried mint, underbrush, and dusty soil.
The medium-bodied palate is tightly wound with bright, youthful black fruits and evocative mineral sparks, framed by grainy tannins and seamless freshness, finishing earthy. 40% of the year's production went into the first wine.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent (May 2023)
Spicy, intense and concentrated, yet delivers juicy drinkability from beginning to end, a challenging balance to achieve in 2022. The vintage trace comes through in notes of tobacco, dried herbs, cloves and sandalwood, with tannic build-up through the palate, but it is balanced by fresh mint leaf, cassis, bilberry, cocoa bean, and salinity.
Firm tannic architecture, excellent quality. 33% of production in the 1st wine, 95% new oak. mint,
Drink 2030 - 2050
Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (May 2023)
83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc. Certified organic. Cask sample. Deep crimson hue. Cassis and mineral nose. Juicy and vibrant with a real notion of drinkability. Elegant texture and tannins. Very long finish. Plenty of charm but substance as well. 13.6%
Drink 2032 - 2048
James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (May 2023)
The progress at this estate continues with the terrific 2022 Gruaud Larose, a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc that unfurls in the glass with deep aromas of minty blackberries, violets and pencil shavings.
Medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, it's elegantly muscular, with a broad attack that segues into a concentrated mid-palate framed by supple, powdery tannins. Richer and more brooding than its 2020 and 2019 counterparts, it confirms Gruaud's return to the Saint-Julien élite.
Around one-third of the production made it into the grand vin this year, the château's first with organic certification.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2023)
Another excellently consistent wine from Gruaud in 2022 that gives terroir typicality with crystalline purity and such overall charm. Smooth and supple, silky but firm, generous but serious. Gorgeous acidity keeps the palate lifted and fresh while the concentrated fruit and quite present tannins give the structure and frame. I love the detail and purity; powerful and strong but refined.
Direct with energy and juicy, vibrant acidity. Mineral, graphite and liquorice aspects grip the palate and linger on the finish with soft spices. It has a very moreish quality with approachability, but the racy core and intense backbone suggest long ageing potential. 3.8pH. 3.45 g/l total acidity. 40% production. 13% press wine (only Cabernet Sauvignon).
Drink 2030 - 2050
Georgina Hindle, Decanter.com (April 2023)
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.