1988 Gruaud-Larose, St-Julien

SKU #950454 92 points Wine Spectator

 This tight and powerful red has lots of tannin and fruit concentration. Full-bodied, with lovely violet and berry aromas and flavors. Built for aging.--1988 Bordeaux horizontal. Best after 2002.  (11/1998)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Dark plum/garnet, with a powerful nose of licorice, roasted meats, smoke, and sweet berry and black currant flavors, this medium-bodied, relatively austere but robust and concentrated Gruaud-Larose still seems like a young wine, and possibly will be longer-lived than its more renowned sibling, the 1989. There is an earthiness and underlying streak of herbaceousness, but there is plenty of depth, concentration, and power to this somewhat burly Gruaud-Larose. Anticipated maturity: Now-2025. (RP)  (1/2003)

K&L Notes

Neal Martin: "Tasted at The Ledbury Gruaud Larose lunch, the 1988 is a commendable wine from the estate. It takes time to unfurl on the nose, so afford bottles say one-hour of decanting. It eventually offers dusty red fruit, fireside hearth and just a soupcon of cherry liqueur that disappears and is replaced by truffle. The palate is medium-bodied with a touch of hardness on the entry. Certainly, in keeping with the vintage it is more austere than the 1989, but it has a lovely tobacco-infused finish that shows good length, if not astounding complexity. Very fine. Tasted June 2011." (Wine Journal, eRobertParker.com, 1/2012)

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Varietal:

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.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

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.