Chateau Grand-Puy-Ducasse 2019
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Barrel Sample: 94-96
Blackcurrants and walnuts with sweet berry and cherry undertones. Full-bodied with chewy tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Linear and intense tannins run the length of the wine with intensity and persistence. Best after 2026.
Well-packed, showing black currant and blackberry fruit flavors, which are marked by bramble and savory accents and carried by fresh acidity through a finish that's scored by humus, tobacco and iron. A textbook, austere, driven and age-worthy Pauillac. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Best from 2024.
The 2019 Grand-Puy-Ducasse exhibits aromas of raspberries, currants and fruit liqueur mingled with subtle hints of loamy soil and pencil shavings. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and demonstrative, with an ample core of fruit, ripe tannins and lively acids and a finish subtly marked by alcoholic warmth, this is more elegant than its muscular, powerful 2018 predecessor; but it's held back by that touch of alcoholic heat. The new ambition that's animating this historically lackluster estate, however, is more than evident, and there are surely great things to come from this address. Best after 2025.
The estate's true "inventor" was Pierre Ducasse, a lawyer who was passionately interested in wine. He bought land in the city of Pauillac and a part of the "bordieu de Grand-Puy", which spread out over three parishes (Pauillac, Saint Lambert and Beycheville). Pierre Ducasse's son built the current chateau on the site of his ancestors' house in the early 19th century.
This chateau is highly unusual in that it is located in the heart of Pauillac. Included in the famous 1855 classification, and benefiting from the rich diversity of some of the finest vineyard land in Pauillac, Grand-Puy Ducasse is one of the leaders of this appellation. This great wine is made with the utmost care and the most up-to-date technological methods.
The leader on the Left Bank in number of first growth classified producers within its boundaries, Pauillac has more than any of the other appellations, at three of the five. Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild border St. Estephe on its northern end and Chateau Latour is at Pauillac’s southern end, bordering St. Julien.
While the first growths are certainly some of the better producers of the Left Bank, today they often compete with some of the “lower ranked” producers (second, third, fourth, fifth growth) in quality and value. The Left Bank of Bordeaux subscribes to an arguably outdated method of classification that goes back to 1855. The finest chateaux in that year were judged on the basis of reputation and trading price; changes in rank since then have been miniscule at best. Today producers such as Chateau Pontet-Canet, Chateau Grand Puy-Lacoste, Chateau Lynch-Bages, among others (all fifth growth) offer some of the most outstanding wines in all of Bordeaux.
Defining characteristics of fine wines from Pauillac (i.e. Cabernet-based Bordeaux Blends) include inky and juicy blackcurrant, cedar or cigar box and plush or chalky tannins.
Layers of gravel in the Pauillac region are key to its wines’ character and quality. The layers offer excellent drainage in the relatively flat topography of the region allowing water to run off into “jalles” or streams, which subsequently flow off into the Gironde.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.