Pauillac wines, Grands Crus Classés

Pauillac, a port town located on the left bank of the Gironde estuary north of Bordeaux, is home to the most prestigious grape varieties of the Medoc peninsula. Its Grands Crus classés appellation Pauillac are acclaimed by connoisseurs and some vintages are sold at gold prices on the international markets. Discover, below, all the secrets of the domains of Pauillac.

The Pauillac appellation, vineyards and grape varieties

Pauillac, with its unique stony and gravelly soils, is without doubt the most famous of all the Bordeaux wine appellations. The Appellation contrôlée, which is located between Saint-Julien and Saint-Estèphe, is concentrated on an area sloping towards the estuary of about 1,200 ha (7.5% of the Médoc vineyard). Some neighboring parcels are also eligible for the title (on Saint-Julien, Saint-Estèphe, Cissac and Saint-Sauveur). On the contrary, some vineyards within these lands are excluded from the AOC. This exclusion concerns grape varieties located on modern alluvium, sandy soil or on impermeable subsoils. The AOC Pauillac recognized by the decree of November 14, 1936 is reserved for wines from specific grape varieties. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the plantings, followed by Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit-Verdot, Malbec and Carmenère.

The appellation includes 18 classified growths whose reputation extends beyond our borders. According to the 1855 Classification, 3 of the 5 Médoc First Growths are in the protected territory of Pauillac (Lafite RothschildLatour and Mouton Rothschild). Over the course of hundreds of vintages, the winemakers have focused on highlighting the excellence and individuality of their vineyards. The best wines of Pauillac are recognizable by their beautiful structure and their exceptional ability to age in cellars.

Château Lafite Rothschild

The ideally exposed vineyard is established on an exceptional land whose oldest parcel, La Gravière, dates from 1886. The estate (112 ha) includes the hillsides adjacent to the château, the Carruades plateau and a vineyard in Saint-Estèphe (4.5 ha). Château Lafite Rothschild is above all the First Grand Cru of Pauillac since 1855.

The Lafite style is a subtle and refined tanned red wine recognizable by its aromas of black and red fruits and cedar. Its color is dark and its violet reflections express a beautiful brightness. The Grand Vin is made only with vines over 10 years old. It is highly rated Cabernet Sauvignon, 70% minimum and up to 100% for some vintages (Cuvée 1961). The second wine Carruades de Lafite comes from a Merlot plot on the plateau.

Château Latour

The estate (78 ha) is located at the southern end of the appellation. The soul of Château Latour is one of the most sought-after wines in the world. It is produced from the vines of the Enclos (47 ha) located on the historic land overlooking the Gironde estuary, of which 10 ha are cultivated biodynamically.

The rich, full-bodied Grand Vin with an elegant purple color is considered the most consistent of the Médoc. With a dominant Cabernet Sauvignon (90%), it attracts by its bouquet with varied notes (black fruits, stones, graphite, oak forest, metal after rain…). Châteaux Latour also produces outside Enclos, Les Forts de Latour and Le Pauillac de Château Latour.

Château Mouton Rothschild : Pauillac wine

The Mouton Rothschild estate is the highest point of the appellation and the only Premier Grand Cru to remain in the same family since 1853. Château Mouton Rothschild became a Premier Cru in 1973 and its 1945 vintage was once the most expensive wine in the world.

The Mouton style is an aristocratic elegance. The Pauillac wine has powerful tannins and a colorful bouquet (cedar, violet, almond, black currant). Each vintage is a work of art in the image of its labels.

The family is also behind Aile d’Argent (one of the two dry whites of the AOC) and Le Petit Mouton. Château Clerc Milon and D’armailhac in Pauillac are also owned by the Baron.

Château Haut-Bages Libéral

This domain on the place called Bages, is attached to gather the best lands since the XVIIIth century. Château Haut-Bages Libéral is a fifth Cru Classé which comes in equal parts from vineyards adjoining Châteaux Latour and Pichon Baron.

It gets its character and its relief from grapes very concentrated in tannins and fruity aromas. We also find white truffle and roasted cocoa. It is very balanced, fine and pleasant. The estate also produces the Chapelle de Bages, the Fleur de Haut-Bages Liberal, the Haut Médoc and the Rosé de Vertheuil.

Château Pontet-Canet

The Château Pontet-Canet adventure began in the 18th century. The vineyard (81 ha) is on a gravelly and sandy terroir south of Mouton Rothschild. Château Pontet-Canet classified Cinquième Cru is the first to have obtained the 100% biodynamic certification. Pontet-Canet wines can be recognized by their grain and their pure aromas. They are deep, elegant and full of energy. They owe their structure to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape variety of which they are composed of more than 60%.

Château d’Armailhac

The history of the vineyard planted in a park of 50 ha begins in 1680. Château Armailhac produces a wine classified Fifth Grand Cru marketed by the Rothschild family. This fine Grand Vin owes its variable flavor, depending on the vintage, to a complex blend of grape varieties from clay-limestone soil. It is generally intense, fresh and airy. Its generous nose seduces with notes of blackberry, black fruit and a deliciously saline finish.

Château Duhart-Milon

The Grand Vin Château Duhart-Milon is a fourth Cru Classé with immense aromatic potential. It presents itself with great firmness and a beautiful dark red color with black reflections. Deep and very dense in delicate tannins, it reveals woody and fresh notes.

Grand-Puy-Lacoste, a Pauillac wine

Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste is produced frommanual harvest with double sorting. This pure wine of intense purple red color is marked by an elegant velvety tannin. It reveals notes of ripe dark fruits, violets and spices. The estate also produces Lacoste Borie.

Château Lynch-Bages

The history of the domain begins in the XVIIIth century on lands which dominate the estuary of the Gironde (90 ha on the plateau of Bages). Château Lynch-Bages classified as a Fifth Growth is characterized by its remarkable homogeneity. The estate also produces Château Haut-Bages Averous and Blanc de Lynch-Bages (5 ha).

Château Pichon Baron

The creation of the estate located near Latour dates back to the end of the 17th century. The Grand Vin Château Pichon Baron, Second Grand Cru Classé is an authentic Pauillac wine with intense flavors (black fruits and spicy notes). Pichon Baron and Pichon Comtesse come from one of the historic vineyards of Bordeaux, Pichon-Longueville Baron divided in 1850. The estate also produces Les Griffons de Château Pichon Baron and Les Tourelles de Longueville.

Château Batailley

This Grand Vin Cinquième Cru is made from vines replanted in the 18th century. Château Batailley is distinguished by its almost black purple color that becomes deep ruby with age. It is powerful in tannins, complex, concentrated in woody and spicy notes but remains balanced and fine. The château also produces Lions de Batailley and Pauillac de Batailley.

Château Pichon-Longueville

The estate produces Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, a Second Cru Classé, and the Réserve de la Comtesse, a second dry wine.

Château Grand-Puy Ducasse

Classé 5ème Cru, Château Grand-Puy Ducasse est réputé pour sa complexité aromatique. This elegant, structured Pauillac wine with a complex bouquet (woody, spicy, fruity and toasty) is considered very promising since 2009.

Medoc domains and best wines of Pauillac

The Médoc is a wine region that cannot be ignored and which reserves some very nice surprises. Pauillac is surrounded by equally prestigious appellations. Haut-Médoc, Listrac-Médoc, Margaux, Médoc, Moulis, Moulis-en-Médoc, not to mention its neighboring domains Saint-Estèphe and Saint-Julien. You are unlikely to go wrong with a Pauillac wine or a wine from the Bordeaux region. Good tasting.