Gruaud Larose is a wine that needs time. It is a wine that doesn't show off much in its youth, needing to have all of its character coaxed out of its dark, savoury mask, only through the passage of time. This is what I like about it. It is a top wine from Bordeaux that anyone can attain, put away and watch how it evolves and fortunately, for the consumer, it doesn't attract the speculators that other Bordeaux do. I've not done a vertical tasting of this Chateau for a number of years, and to do one spanning a decade and a half was superb.
1990 Chateau Gruaud Larose
Soft cherry fruit, very balanced with some dark chocolate coming through. A little sweeter fruit - cherry and damsons - with some cocoa on the nose as well. The palate starts with green pepper, a little cherry and then some dusty leather flavours coming through, with an earthy element on the finish. A lovely wine, nicely balanced with some dark aniseed and liquorice coming through on the finish. 8.5/10
1995 Chateau Gruaud Larose
A juicy wine, lots of herbs, and sweet and sour cherry. There is a lovely dark, savoury element coming off the nose, but with a lot of delicious fruit being there as well. A dark note underlying it all. The palate has a full, creamy texture with some spice emerging first, and then tobacco and herbs coating the gorgeous, beautifully balanced fruit. The finish is dark, with lots of veggie flavours - this is proper Bordeaux. I love it. 9/10
2000 Chateau Gruaud Larose
A big sweet wine, lots of juicy berries with dark brambles and chocolate. Very very dark with a dark, bonfire toffee aroma and sweet aniseed balls mixing with the sweet fruit. The palate is big and tannic. Leather, lots of earth, but also lots of jammier fruit. It is almost a fruit reduction coming through with some green peppers, liquorice and some woody note. A bit of a big wine, with the savoury notes you expect from Gruaud Larose, but a bigger fruit presence that I'm not keen on. This wine just lacks the balance I want from Gruaud, and is a bit too juicy and, dare I say it, American. 7/10
2006 Chateau Gruaud Larose
Dark, broody and with a lot of cherry but with it all covered by tobacco and chocolate. A meaty element on the nose, some dark leathery flavours, cocoa and green pepper too. Some spice with a very clean flavour, all full of green pepper and earthy, savoury flavours. It is still closed, still dark and still young, but it doesn't have the sweeter, jammier, American fruit of the 2000 vintage. 8/10
Gruaud Larose produce stunning wines, but I tend to prefer the more classic Bordeaux years over the juicier, jammy fruit forward and Parker pleasing wines. 1990 and 2000 don't do it for me as much as the earthy, gutsy yet refined and elegant 1995. Parker rated the 2000 the best wine since 1990 (with the exception of 2009), showing he loves this style of Gruaud, but I am not as much of a fan. 1995 floats my boat and I hope that the two thousand and six vintage does the same in the next decade.
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