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Top Stories

Rejuvenation & Renaissance At Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste



In 2003, Francois-Xavier BORIE assumed sole ownership of Pauillac Fifth Growth Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste after splitting up the family's wine estates with his brother and sister who now own Saint-Julien Second Growth Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou.






Story & Photos By Ch'ng Poh Tiong

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste not only distinguishes itself as a classic wine of Pauillac, it also impresses in outperforming its original Fifth Growth classification back in 1855.

Grand-Puy-Lacoste is located a couple of kilometres west of the town of Pauillac, not far from Lynch-Bages.

The 55 hectares of vines are planted to 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot. They are in one block and surround the 19th Century chateau and other buildings. The oldest vines are some 40 years. Apart from vines, there's also a park.

Together with two other siblings – a brother and sister – proprietor Francois-Xavier BORIE had also been an owner of Saint-Julien Second Growth Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou.

Francois-Xavier BORIE (proprietor also of other Pauillac Fifth Growth Chateau Haut-Batailley) had originally been managing Ducru-Beaucaillou together with their father Jean-Eugene BORIE. When the latter passed away in 1998, Francois-Xavier took complete charge. Then, in a move that took observers by surprise, in 2003, he ceded control to younger brother Bruno BORIE.

GOING IT ALONE

The siblings parted ways and divided their properties, with the sister and Bruno assuming ownership of Chateau Beaucaillou, and Francois-Xavier taking up sole proprietorship of Haut-Batailley and Grand-Puy-Lacoste, for which Francois-Xavier paid an undisclosed sum.

The family treasures so re-assigned, the whole experience served as an impetus for Francois-Xavier. He lavished financial investment, time and renewed energy into Grand-Puy-Lacoste, in the vineyards, winery and cellar, including new equipment and expanded space.

'Grand Puy' refers to a small hill or mound. The vineyards are located on two such high grounds and over deep gravel, soils so very ideal for drainage. One part of the vineyards leads to Saint-Laurent while the other borders Chateau Batailley and Lynch-Moussas.

Standing at the top of the estate where the chateau is, the gradient is quite impressive as vines slope out of sight onto the winding road below.

There is another Grand-Puy in the vicinity, namely Ducasse. In olden days, the two chateaux were one singular entity but was spilt up in the mid-18th Century.

At Grand-Puy-Lacoste, the estate also has parklands. Francois-Xavier BORIE has strategically placed some charming pieces of art on the grounds, including a cow and several flightless birds.

In the case of the wine, fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats after which the wine is matured in oak. Depending on the vintage, the percentage of new barrels is about 50% and time spent in them between 15 and 18 months.

Today, it is widely acknowledged that of the two estates, the wines of Grand-Puy-Lacoste have an edge over those of Grand-Puy-Ducasse.

Part of that credit must go to the consultants engaged by the estate. Although he has departed from Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, Francois-Xavier BORIE continues to tap the expertise of the same consultants as when he was at the Saint-Julien property, namely the father and son team of Jacques and Eric BOISSENOT.

TASTING NOTES

CHATEAU GRAND-PUY-LACOSTE 2009
Rating:
Scented oak and smoky blue fruits. Richness, both of fruit and tannins, which are also crisp. Balanced.

CHATEAU GRAND-PUY-LACOSTE 2008
Floral on the nose. But, otherwise, quite tight and closed, not least because the wine had been bottled only in July (this tasting took place on 17 November 2010). Not rated.

CHATEAU GRAND-PUY-LACOSTE 2007
Rating:
Light, fresh, balanced and elegant.

CHATEAU GRAND-PUY-LACOSTE 2006
Rating: to
Balanced fruit and freshness. Structure a bit in front at the moment. Needs a bit of airing.

CHATEAU GRAND-PUY-LACOSTE 2005
Rating:
Whiff of blackcurrants. Richness, both of the fruit and tannins. Freshness. Structure ahead of the fruit at the moment.

CHATEAU GRAND-PUY-LACOSTE 2001
Rating:
Ripe fruit – including whiff of blackcurrants. Intensity. Fresh tannins.

CHATEAU GRAND-PUY-LACOST 1953
Rating: to
This was served blind over lunch. Very sandalwood but also mint, liquorice and tea leaves. Eric BOISSENOT (right of photo) guessed it correctly, practically instantly. It was not, he said, 1959 because that would be more powerful. Leaving, he added, only 1953 and 1955. BOISSENOT guessed it was the former because the wine is elegant and refined.



CHINESE BORDEAUX GUIDE, CHINESE CUISINE & WINE & WINE REVIEW RATING SYSTEM
Outstanding
       Excellent
             Good
                    Average
                          Acceptable
                         Half Star








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