1996 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste Pauillac Bordeaux France Wine Tasting Note

  1. 1996 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste (Pauillac)

    1. With 2 hours of decanting, the full bodied, concentrated wine starts to show. The nose, with its bend of cherry, cassis, cranberry, cigar wrapper, cedar and green pepper struts its stuff. On the palate, the wine serves up soft tannins and a red berry wine with bite, vigor and sweetness with a judicious amount of Pauillac strictness and fresh, peppery, cassis in the finish.

      94 points - Tasted
    2. Loads of Pauillac character here. Textbook cassis, tobacco and earthy notes, firm but polished tannins and a masculine edge. Still young, give it an hour or two of air, or another 5 years to continue to soften and develop.

      93 points - Tasted
    3. With 2 hours in the decanter, the nose reminds me of walking into a high end cigar shop shortly after someone spilled a bottle of cassis on the floor. Full bodied, classy tannins and sporting a long, cassis filled finish, this structured, masculine wine remained at this high level for at least another 3 hours. It would have continued to hold, but by then, every drop was consumed. 1996 is a sublime vintage for Pauillac and there is no other wine available with this much quality at such a low price in market.

      94 points - Tasted
    4. Textbook Pauillac here. If you're seeking a wine packed with cigar box, cedar wood, tobacco, forest floor and cassis, this is the real deal. Decanted 3 hours before serving, and tasted over the next 3 hours, every sniff and sip was a treat. Great texture, freshness and ripe fruits from start to finish with a hint of cigar and dark chocolate along with cassis in the finsh. Drink now, or wait another decade for even more complexity.

      94 points - Tasted
    5. If you are looking for a wine to discover the perfume of cassis, one sniff of this beauty will teach you everything you need to know about cassis. Toss in smoke, tobacco, cigar box and cedar and know you know what text book Pauillac is all about. Powerful, full bodied, concentrated and deep, what this lacks in elegance, it more than makes up it in style and substance. Still young, this is starting to show a lot of its essence and character. Decanted for 2-3 hours, this was a treat.

      93 points - Tasted
    6. From a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot, this still tannic and youthful Pauillac delivered scents of tobacco, cassis,gravel, smoke, spice and forest floor. Concentrated, powerful and still tannic, this large scaled, broad shouldered, Bordeaux wine needs at least another 5-7 years before it softens and comes together.

      94 points - Tasted
    7. Dark ruby, this looks like a 5 year old wine. Cedar, cassis, earth, lead pencil and blackberry notes make up the perfume. This young Bordeaux is packed with thick layers of juicy, ripe Cabernet fruit that fills your mouth. Full bodied and intense, this beefy wine finishes with a blast of chewy, dark fruits. While not elegant in style, this classic Pauillac is still young and will additional complexities for decades.

      94 points - Tasted
grandpuylacoste chateau Wine Tasting Notes, Ratings

Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

The 55 hectare vineyard of Grand Puy Lacoste is planted to 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Franc was not always planted at the estate. In fact, for much of their history, only two grape varieties were planted, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

The vineyard is basically in one large block on the hill of Pauillac, just off the D1, if you are driving to the estate. The vineyard can be divided into 2 gravel hills. They have vines on both sides of the D1 highway. A large portion of their vines are placed around the chateau, with a smaller portion of vines located just southwest.

They have good neighbors as Chateau Pontet Canet is just to the south and Chateau Lynch Bages is located to the west. The also have a small parcel next to Chateau dArmailhac and Chateau Pedesclaux to the north.

The vineyard of Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste remains unchanged since the 1855 Classification of the Medoc. The terroir is filled with gravel, large pebbles and stones in the soil over a bed of limestone. The vines are planted to a vine density of 10,000 vines per hectare. On average the vines are 38 years of age. But the estate has old vines as well that date all the way back back to 1947.

To produce the wine of Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste, vinification takes place in 43 temperature, controlled stainless steel vats of various sizes ranging from 12 hectoliters all the way up to 180 hectoliters. Malolactic fermentation takes place in tank. This traditionally styled Bordeaux wine is aged in 70% new, French oak barrels for an average of 16 to 18 months before bottling. There is a second wine, Lacoste Borie, which made its debut with the 1982 vintage.

The best vintages of Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste are: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2000, 1996, 1995, 1990, 1982, 1970, 1961, 1959 and 1945. I have not tasted truly ancient vintages of Grand Puy Lacoste, but as they have great terroir and a track record for aging, if the bottles are in good shape, and not too expensive, they are worth taking a chance on.

When to Drink Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste needs time in the cellar before it is ready to drink. Young vintages can be decanted for an at least 2-4 hours, give or take. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste is usually better with at least 12-20 years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage character. Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste should off its best drinking and reach peak maturity between 12-35 years of age after the vintage.

Serving Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste with Wine and Food Pairings

Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste is also good when matched with Asian dishes, rich fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta.

Grand Puy Lacoste is a classic, age worthy, style of Pauillac. It's a full bodied, tannic, concentrated Bordeaux wine that ages well. This Bordeaux wine offers cassis, cedar, tobacco and truffle scents and a juicy mouth full of flavor. Interestingly, the wine became one of the first popular, non First Growth Bordeaux brands to sell in China and in other countries in Asia as well.

In part, their initial success in China had do with last word for the name of the chateau, Lacoste. The name Lacoste gave a memorable nick name to Grand Puy Lacoste, which was soon called the alligator wine in China, due to the name being the same as the famous sports clothing designer, with the crocodile logo.

The wine of Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste has not always been consistent. But clearly, some vintages, like 1982 and 1990, the wine can be as good as the Super Seconds. However, the estate has really been a roll starting with the 2005 vintage. 2009, followed by an even better 2010 Grand Puy Lacoste are really great wines. In fact, those 2 years could be the two best vintages ever produced at Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste!

If you ever get the chance to visit this beautiful property do not miss the stunning gardens, a lake with swans and greenery behind the house. And be sure to ask about the 2 full sized, plastic cows near the lake.