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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.
The first in a trio of great vintages and one that has been rather overshadowed by the 89s and 90s.Definitely the most "classic" of the trio, with many of the wines not being overtly fruit-driven but having levels of extract and concentration that that make them perfect candidates for extended cellaring.
The first half of the year was unusually cold and wet and the vintage was saved by a long, dry, warm summer. Harvesting began in mid September and some of the Cabernets were not picked until the 3rd week of October. Most of the wines are now approaching their plateau of maturity with the pick of the bunch being the Cabernet-dominated Médocs and Graves. Pauillac was particularly successful.