The Gruaud Larose terroir is truly remarkable and unique. It is a single vineyard of 80 hectares with gravels from the Gironde estuary, dating from the Mindel Ist and Mindel IInd (about 700 000 years ago), and that in some places are over 18 feet deep. The soil is very poor and sandy, and therefore does not hold water. Drainage is one of the major concerns of a conscientious vine-grower.
It is also an important factor at Gruaud Larose where nineteenth-century underground pottery drains have been found. The natural draining system due to the poor quality of soils, from the hot and dry summers, and mostly from their position on the highest plateau of Saint-Julien - 18 metres high from the sea level -, constantly exposed to the north and west winds, favour both soil and optimum maturity for grapes. In fact, Nature has given here a magical aspect to this unique estate vineyard.
2003 CLIMATE : Exceptional vintage. Outbreak of the first leaves beginning of March. Temperatures and amount of sunshine well beyond normal. Even so, the vines didn't suffer. Great drought confirmed (-50% pluviometry) and general flowering beginning of June. From August 20th, rainfall (withered or roasted grapes). Certain late growths benefitted from the eastern drying wind that stops the grey mold (Botrytis) to wait for complete maturity of the Merlots. The old vines, in ploughed soils with a solid root system in deep gravely soils held perfectly up against the great drought.