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!
The 2018 Gruaud Larose is blended of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc, with a pH of 3.88 and 14.2% alcohol. Deep garnet-purple in color, it leaps from the glass with bold black cherries, mulberries, plum preserves and blackcurrant cordial scents with hints of menthol, lilacs, licorice and cloves plus wafts of fallen leaves and tilled soil. Medium to full-bodied with a taut core of ripe, densely packed, muscular fruit, it has a firm line of ripe, grainy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and spicy. Very exotic Gruaud! (LPB)
Aromas of currants, blackberries, dried flowers, dark chocolate and tobacco leaves. Citrus zest, too. It’s full-bodied with firm, ultra fine tannins. Complex and layered with a juicy core of ripe fruit. Silky and delicious. Very creamy and fine-tannined. Better from 2025.
A densely textured and rich wine, this has power and concentration. Smoky tannins show strongly as well as juicy black-currant fruits that are still young. The wine, with its structure, is just starting on a journey to aging. Drink from 2027. *Cellar Selection* (RV)
This has a bit of polish to its mix of cassis, crushed plum and blackberry fruit flavors before a wave of bittersweet cocoa, tobacco, and iron score the finish. But while muscular and grippy in the end, there's ample freshness here throughout. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. (JM)
Here the tannins are pretty hefty, matched by deep brambly black cherry notes. Good-quality with slate, cigar, chocolate, earth and black pepper spice through the mid-palate. Not as elegant at this stage as some St-Julien in the vintage but this has a long life ahead and is full of promise. (JA)
The 2018 Gruaud Larose was picked from 20 September with the Merlot, finishing on 10 October with the Cabernet Sauvignon, with pumping over every two days and aged for 18 to 24 months in 80% new oak. It has a deep garnet colour. The nose is tightly wound, more so than expected, with blackberry, raspberry, briary and cedar aromas, a crisper Gruaud than I have seen aromatically compared to recent vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins: blackcurrant, mulberry, cedar, hints of clove developing with time. I appreciate how well the wood has integrated in the last few months. It does not possess the persistence of the 2016 Gruaud Larose, but it is very harmonious and less feral than some vintages have been. Great potential. (NM)
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