In the mid 17th century, Chevalier de Gruaud (also known as Abbé Gruaud) and Chevalier de La Rose succeeded one another as owners of a superb 82-hectare vineyard in Saint Julien. Their names were associated for the first time on a wine label in 1781. The estate was divided in two due to inheritance difficulties in the 19th century. However, Désiré Cordier, who had already acquired part of the vineyards in 1917, reunited the estate in 1935. In the early 1980s, it belonged to a subsidiary of an institutional group that invested heavily in the cellars. The Merlaut family purchased Gruaud Larose in 1997. The vines, located in a single block on a deep rise of Garonne gravel, have been lovingly tended by Georges Pauli and his team since 1970 and the wine perfectly expresses its terroir. Now, more than ever, Gruaud Larose's quality is in keeping with its traditionally fine reputation, dating from even before the 1855 classification, which designated it a second growth.
Based on 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, the 2018 Château Gruaud Larose sports a dense purple hue as well as a stunning nose of pure crème de cassis, cedar pencil shavings, blackcurrants, smoked tobacco, and a liquid rock-like sense of minerality. This dense, almost broodingly backward, concentrated Saint-Julien has flawless balance, a remarkable sense of purity, masses of tannins, and one hell of a great finish. Seemingly almost from a more austere year (say 2000 or 2010), it's not going to hit maturity for at least a decade and should cruise in cold cellars for 20-30 years. It's a brilliant wine!