1996 Grand Puy Lacoste
From the critics:
Robert Parker | 93 RP
Robert Parker | 93 RP
Lots of plum, currant and vanilla aromas. Full-bodied, with fine tannins and a fresh, citrus and fruit aftertaste.--’95/’96 Bordeaux retrospective. Best after 2008. 14,000 cases made.
Wine Spectator | 92 WS
Wine Details for 1996 Grand Puy Lacoste
|Type of Wine
: Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Red Bordeaux Blend
: The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.
Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.
For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.
Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.
The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.
: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste
: Pauillac is perhaps the most famous appellation in the Bordeaux Region, where it is home to three of the five First Growths. The list of prominent properties residing in Pauillac is long and distinguished and share a terroir that is unmistakably one of the greatest in the Medoc. Grand Puy Lacoste sits on a 55-hectare hill property where its name is partially taken. It dwells in a land of incredible competition but has enormous potential of its own and since 1979, the Borie family has vowed to waken the “sleeping beauty.”
The initial plantings of Grand Puy Lacoste (GPL) dates back to the 1500’s. At that time, the property was owned by the Guiraud family. In fact, only four families have owned this spectacular chateau since, which is an amazing feat given how many chateaux have been purchased by conglomerates over the years. Each family played a part in the molding of GPL’s history, making contributions in their own manner. The Dejean family can be greatly credited for forming what we know as Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste today. The family was quite active in Bordeaux during the 1700s, owning other properties of prominence including Chateau Lynch Bages. During a time of reconstruction and the selling of vineyards, the Dejean family retained a portion of the estate. These vineyards would be handed down to a daughter and through marriage to the Lacoste family, came its namesake.
Grand Puy Lacoste takes its name from the Lacoste family combined with the topographical term “puy” for which the hill it sat upon. During the Lacoste era, the construction of the original chateau was completed at the time of the 1855 Classification. The property would trade hands once more before landing in the care of the Borie family. Since 1979, Jean Eugene Borie, whose family has extensive roots in Bordeaux dating back to the 1800’s and his son Francois-Xavier have taken extreme measures to resurrect the property to what it reflects today - excellence.
Grand Puy Lacoste is nestled between Chateau Pontet Canet and Chateau Lynch Bages. The vineyards are planted to 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. The terroir is filled with gravel, large pebbles, and stones in the soil over a bed of limestone. This typical Left Bank soil structure, the climate of Pauillac and human effort by the Borie family has allowed the success of Grand Puy Lacoste to only rise in quality and fame. The 2009 and 2010 vintages were fantastic and very well may be the greatest in the estate’s history.
12,000 cases of Grand Puy Lacoste are produced annually. The second wine, Lacoste Borie, which debuted in 1982, mirrors the flagship but is more approachable at a younger age, where its sibling will age gracefully for up to 35 years. The Borie family’s promise to wake the “sleeping beauty” has is being fulfilled. The future success of GPL will be exciting to watch.