Chateau Gruaud Larose, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux France
Over a million years ago, during the Quaternary period, a Günzian layer formed beneath all the grands crus classés of the Médoc and covered the Tertiary layer of chalk and clay. The geological structure of the soil at Gruaud-Larose is particularly rare consisting of a uniform layer of six metres of gravelly clay over the entire Domaine. The gravel creates acid soil, which, whilst being poor for agricultural purposes, enables good drainage, and provides excellent conditions for viticulture. In addition to the vines being encouraged to form deep roots to find water, the poor soil limits their growth and general vigour, thereby improving the concentration of sugar in the grapes.
Château Gruaud-Larose’s Domaine stretches over 200 uninterrupted acres and consists of more than 700,000 vines. The current proportions of the different grape varieties grown are 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. The quantities of each variety used in the wines vary from year to year, enabling greater complexity.
Cabernet Sauvignon, the king of the Médoc grapes, is traditionally the main variety used in the wines of the region. Its proportion varies between 40 and 60%.
Merlot has become the main grape of the Gironde, and whilst synonymous with St. Emilion and Pomerol it has remained in the minority in the Médoc. Although a secondary ingredient in the grand vin of Gruaud Larose, Merlot still makes an important contribution to the wine’s remarkable complexity.
Cabernet Franc, also known as Breton and Bouchet, is a very old French variety. Well-suited to wines that will mature over a long period, Cabernet Franc can produce fine wines of great complexity.