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Château Gruaud-Larose, Saint-Julien, Grand Cru ClasséBordeaux, France 1989 (750mL)

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Château Gruaud-Larose, Saint-Julien, Grand Cru Classé Bordeaux, France 1989 (750mL)

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Earth
Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol

Before I slip into the realm of overly sentimental, I’m first going to make a simple declaration: Tasting perfectly cellared, Classified Growth Bordeaux from the 1980s—a decade full of prosperity, legendary vintages, and total dominance in the marketplace—is a profound and increasingly rare experience that I wish everyone could have. This is the last of a dying breed, that is, genuinely classic, elegant, terroir-driven Cabernet blends that have now started reaching the peak of their evolution. Because of trends, scores, and the warming climate, they simply don’t/can’t make wines like this anymore, so I must again urge you to experience one while it still exists—especially from Second Growth Château Gruaud-Larose.


I have three bulletproof reasons why. First, for those who strictly follow the original Bordeaux Classification of 1855, only four châteaux hold a higher rank: Lafite, Latour, Margaux, and Haut-Brion (Mouton was initially ranked alongside Gruaud-Larose!). Second, I could make a convincing argument that the ’80s were a veritable golden age that delivered the greatest frequency of all-time great vintages, including today’s 1989. And third, this tiny parcel was just released from Bordeaux after 30 years of flawless, temperature-stable, pitch-black storage. In short, Saint-Julien’s soils are some of the most revered in the world for a reason, and Gruaud-Larose has been among its finest interpreters for centuries. Please don’t miss out. Full transparency: We only have 71 bottles available and are allowing up to three per person. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!



We should never forget that the 1970s nearly crippled Bordeaux. A series of horrible vintages and the notorious Cruse scandal left châteaux reeling financially and consumers on high alert. In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that without the “golden decade” that was the ’80s, the picture of contemporary Bordeaux would look vastly different. This was the dawn of substantial cash flow, investment, and wine critics—which “coincidentally” coincided with the gradual uptick in alcohol, ripeness, and oak presence that dominated the ’90s and beyond. You won’t find any of that in today’s savory, 12.5% ABV, exceptionally nuanced 1989. 


Second Growth Château Gruaud-Larose enjoys a rich and lasting history that started in 1725 after the convergence of two sprawling properties in world-famous Saint-Julien (five of the 14 Second Growths are based here!). Ownership of this property has changed hands four times since, but the Cordier family is the one responsible for crafting those sensational bottlings of the ’80s—the 1989 on offer is outmatched perhaps only by their 1982, but that bottling costs twice as much!


Instead of listening to us parrot the superb quality and nuance of this vintage, today, it’s coming straight from Gruaud-Larose’s team: “1989 remains memorable. The precocity in maturation and the richness of the grapes were exceptional. A very hot and sunny month of May ensured a rapid development of vegetation. The first flowers were notified around May 20th in the most precocious varieties and situations. Just like the first summer months, September was hot, sunny, and dry. These extremely favorable terms allowed complete ripening in excellent conditions, a regular picking, and no excessive rush.”


Following a two-week harvest window, the grapes saw varietally separate fermentations in concrete tanks and stayed in contact with their respective skins for approximately one month. The resulting wine was pressed directly into medium-toast, fine-grained French barrels (30% new), and subsequently matured for 18 months before bottling in the Spring of ’91. Having only just arrived from Bordeaux, today’s parcel enjoyed over 30 years of undisturbed aging. We recommend pulling the cork gently and decanting the wine off its fine sediment before consuming in Bordeaux stems around 60 degrees. I suspect it will perform best within its first three hours of being opened. Enjoy this rarity because they don't make ’em like this anymore!




Château Gruaud-Larose, Saint-Julien, Grand Cru Classé Bordeaux, France 1989 - SommSelect

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionBordeaux
  • Sub-RegionSaint-Julien
  • SoilGravel, Clay, Sand & Limeston
  • BlendCabernet Sauvignon 65%, Merlot 27%, Cabernet Franc 6%, Petit Verdot 2%
  • Alcohol12.5%
  • OakFrench Barrels, 30% New

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionBordeaux
  • Sub-RegionSaint-Julien
  • SoilGravel, Clay, Sand & Limeston
  • BlendCabernet Sauvignon 65%, Merlot 27%, Cabernet Franc 6%, Petit Verdot 2%
  • Alcohol12.5%
  • OakFrench Barrels, 30% New
  • Temp.Serve at 60° F
  • GlasswareBordeaux Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2029
  • DecantingFor Sediment
  • PairingRoasted Magret Duck Breast w/ Shaved Black Truffles