Day 11 Bordeaux (Gruaud Larose and Cos d'Estournel) - Printable Version

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- TheEngineer - 08-15-2011

The trip was starting to click now for most of the group. It was definitely a group question and answer period when we visited the chateaus so everyone had a good time bugging our assigned staffer. This was our last day in Bordeaux and France and up to bat were Chateau Gruaud Larose and Cos d’Estournel, so sandwiching Pauillac with visits to Saint Julien Beychevelle and Saint Estephe.

We drove around for a bit before we found Ch. Gruaud Larose. It is in behind some of the residential areas of St. Julien and our GSP continued its useless track record. Thank god for the Iphone….

I had met representatives from Ch. G-L while at a couple of UGC events earlier this year so had contacted them about a visit. The estate is meticulously manicured and they even flew the flags of the countries from where the visitors were coming! This is quite the red carpet rollout. The tour is informative. I’ve never seen an anti hail gun before. We were wondering about the mega weather station we had seen attached to the side of one of the buildings and it turns out that it gave information as to when to use the hail gun. Apparently it is quite effective but I’m not sure I want to be around when it is firing.

2002 Sarget de Larose (80% CS 11% Merlot and others). I was surprised when they pulled this out as I’m not sure that I would show a second label from a poor vintage but this was on purpose. They wanted us to see that even in a poor vintage this wine is currently drinking well. And in fact it was. Slightly medium light bodied, quite balanced and elegant in a more quiet way, slightly herby but in a manner that I like more as a calling card for G-L. Would be a perfectly good wine for a meal.

2001 Chateau Gruaud Larose (55% CS, 35% Merlot, 7$ CF, 3% PV), more lush and ripe due to higher merlot percentage. A bit closed for me right now but can certainly see that the structure is there to hold the wine for a while.
2010 Chateau Gruaud Larose Barrel Sample: a bit more restrained from some of the barrel samples that we have tried. Typically G-L with good complexity and some herby traits, minerally, big structure and lush but not as big as say a Pontet Canet.

Next stop we took the backroads to Cos d’Estournel. We have seen pics of this for a long time. I had expected in fact a bigger building but in person, Cos looks surprising compact compared to its contemporaries. The site at G-L was much bigger. None the less, an interesting building with an instant wow factor both outside and to our surprise, inside. They have spent a fortune inside the building. The visitor hall is massive and looks into the even larger tank rooms. The barrel Chai looks like something out of a James Bond movie, the way its lit and we see it from a glass floord bridge from above. The private stock room is equally as impressive.

2010 Pagodes de Cos Barrel Sample. This is a very nice bottle. It is a very large wine but there is brightness in the fruit, vrush berries, minerality, good focus for a red, great structure and frankly I can’t believe that this is not a first wine except that it is 2010 where first wines are even better. Wonderful freshness

2010 Cos d’Estournel: The nose explodes out of the glass. I was three feet away and I was knocked down by the aromas from the glass. Large but structured wine, sark fruits and berries, crunchy berries, still elegant supter smooth and lush, very long and minerally . Some tea on the finish and while tannic, it does not beat you up entirely. This is an impressive wine and while I had thought that I would be tasting a more portish wine, it had similar balance and size (perhaps a touch bigger) to the Lynch Bages we had tasted a few days ago so not entirely overblown for the vintage.
It was an interesting way to close out Bordeaux regardless.

- winoweenie - 08-16-2011

Have had some memorable nites with GL. Especially remember when I was putting in my futures order for the 82s I called a friend who was knowledgable about Bordeaux and asked him what I should order as they were 17 per on futures. His response was all I could afford. Ended up with 5 cases and some spectacular drining for 30 years. The baby brother Talbot was killer at 12 per. WW