The Grand Cru wines of Bordeaux are often some of the most expensive in the world. However, we should not forget that the great region also provides some of the very best value for money, particularly when it comes to chateaux which straddle the great terroir of Pauillac. In the grand village of Pauillac the uber wealthy gravitate to the famous First Growths; Latour, Mouton Rothschild and Lafite Rothschild, which cost upwards of £3,000 a case, even in average vintages. However, in their surrounding vineyards we find similar terroir and vine age, which particularly in great vintages produce wines of First Growth quality.
2010 will be remembered as one of, if not the greatest vintage in Europe, it is also one of Bordeaux’s finest. In 2010 Grand Puy Lacoste made one of its greatest ever wines. It was awarded 95 points from Robert Parker, yet priced today at £46 per bottle, thus offering incredible value for money. It was released (en primeur) in 2011 at £660, per case of 12, which means today’s price of £280 per case of six represents a superb entry price. Moreover their 1996 and 2000 vintages, the other truly great Grand Puy Lacostes trade at £900 and £850 per case of 12 respectively. As such the 2010 is a wine to own, either for drinking now, over the next thirty years, or to re-sell in the future.
Grand Puy Lacoste, like Pontet Canet, is classified as a Fifth Growth and its similarities do not end there. It is located behind Lynch Bages and on the same longitude as Mouton Rothschild and Pontet Canet. Its terroir shares the same properties that makes these great Pauillac estates capable of producing beautifully structured, powerful and complex wines.
What is surprising is the price given their relatively low production, less than 12,000 cases per year. In 2014 Grand Puy Lacoste made one of the wines of the vintage, further proof of its wonderful terroir and tireless winemaking. Since 1978 the Estate has been under the ownership of the Borie family. It is currently under the management of Francois-Xavier Borie, who also owns Ducru Beaucaillou. His daughter Emeline Borie is currently helping her family maximise Grand Puy Lacoste’s magnificent potential.
The vineyard, once shared with Grand Puy Ducasse, is roughly 36 hectares (90 acres) and is positioned on deep gravel top soil with a limestone base. Fermentation occurs in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and the wines see 50% new oak ageing for 18 months. The name Puy means small height or hillock and interestingly Grand Puy Lacoste is known as the Crocodile Wine in China due to it sharing the same name as the well-known French sports brand Lacoste. As such Grand Puy Lacoste has the brand, terroir and quality winemaking to compete with wines that currently cost ten times the price.
Grand Puy Lacoste 2010, 6×75 – £280 IB or £350.76 incl duty and VAT
An absolutely magnificent wine from this very popular estate, which sits well off the Route du Vin, just to the southwest of the town of Pauillac, its classic creme de cassis and floral notes are well-displayed. The wine possesses supple tannin, a full body, voluptuous character and a layered, impressively textured mouthfeel. This is a brilliant effort from Grand Puy Lacoste that can be drunk in 4-5 years or cellared for three decades or more.
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