"If Margaux is feminine and Paulliac is masculine with cigar and pencil shaving nuances then St. Julien is more of a rambunctious young aristocrat somewhere between Eaton and a Manhattan bachelor pad who is aptly named Phineas or Cole and looks like Mika or the fashionista scion of the Ferrari family."
- The Young Man’s Guide to Wine
Gruaud Larose is a single vineyard estate in Saint Julien. Regularly described as a super-second, the wines characteristics brave the elite Bordeaux Premiers for superiority. The terroir is typical for the region, deep quaternary gravel, planted with 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. The vines average around 45 years old and the fruit is handpicked. As we see often, nepotism runs rampant and Jacques Merlaut's son, Jean, is the winemaker. Arguably the most important man on campus is Georges Pauli, who has been the director of operations since the early 70’s. He has seen the estate pass through many hands, so at Gruaud Larose, coupled with the vineyards, he is the constant. Pauli must take much of the credit for the maintenance of quality at Gruaud Larose despite the rapid sequence of new owners and the uncertainty these changes bring. The man does not fear change- in fact he thrives on it to keep consistency and quality even when there is ambiguity at the top. Pauli’s focus is evidenced in the continually high scores and kind words from critics. The 2010 Gruaud-Larose was deemed by Robert Parker in The Wine Advocate as “finest since 2000 & 1990.” Stylistically the wines are poetic, whimsical, aromatic and delicate. As far as longevity, they could be called eternal. Recommended vintages include 1990, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2010, and 2011.