Château Gruaud Larose Saint Julien 2018
|Region||France, Bordeaux, St. Julien|
|Brand||Château Gruaud Larose|
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!
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. Best from 2023 through 2036. 12,133 cases made.
Barrel Sample. From one of the more inland of the Saint-Julien estates, away from the Gironde estuary, this wine is generous in fruit, with soft tannins and lively acidity. It is finely structured and will age well over the medium-term.
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.