1985 Gruaud Larose, St-Julien

SKU #950064 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Fully mature, the dark garnet-colored 1985 exhibits notes of tapenade, earth, sweet berry and black currant fruit, and possibly a hint of black truffles. The wine is lush, medium to full-bodied, and fleshy, with no hard edges. Sweet fruit, plenty of glycerin, and a very seductive style make for a very sumptuous, complex, fully mature Gruaud-Larose. (RP, Bordeaux Book)  (1/2003)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Medium-deep ruby-red, with only a hint of amber at the rim. Straightforward nose offers hints of redcurrant, orange zest, clove and faded flowers, but this is less complex and deep than the 1983 or 1986. The floral quality gains with aeration, becoming fresher and more perfumed. Smooth and suave on entry, with delicate, pure red berry, orange, spice and cedar flavors, then a tad chunky on the back half. This Gruaud seems to lack a little concentration and refinement, but I like its sweetness and fleshy texture. A very good food wine that's drinking beautifully right now and won't gain much by further aging.  (4/2013)

K&L Notes

92 points Neal Martin: "Tasted at The Ledbury Gruaud Larose lunch, the 1985 is a lovely Saint Julien although it is not quite as convincing as it was five or six years ago. It is still remarkably tight on the nose and it takes ten or fifteen minutes to unwind. It blossoms nicely with tertiary aromas, cloves, brown sugar and sage. The palate is medium-bodied with a touch of brettanomyces perhaps. I like the acidity here that seems completely in synch with the fruit, touches of rosemary and dried blood inflecting the decayed red fruits with a long, languorous finish. Lovely. A point. Tasted June 2011." (Wine Journal, eRobertParker.com, 1/2012)

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Price: $139.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.


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Specific Appellation:

Saint Julien

- St. Julien, the smallest of the four famous appellations of the Haut Medoc, is known for highly extracted, finely structured, Cabernet-based reds. It is nestled between Pauillac to the north and Margaux to the south. Like St. Estephe, there are no first growths in this area. Leoville-las-Cases, Leoville Poyferre, Leoville Barton, Ducru Beaucaillou, and Gruard Larose are the second-growths of St. Julien followed by Lagrange which is the only third-growth. Beychevelle, Branaire Ducru, St. Pierre, and Talbot, which are all fourth-growth wines, round out the grand cru classe chateaux. In the last several vintages, wineries from this appellation have been out-performing their traditional rankings making many of the wines from this region some of the best values in red wine today.