Pauillac: Aristocratic crus
No appellation embodies the noble Bordeaux virtues on such a fine, almost majestic level as Pauillac, the peninsula resting in the Médoc. With Lafite-Rothschild, Latour and Mouton-Rothschild, it is also home to the majority of the five premier crus. The grandeur of Pauillac crus is quite clearly based on the Cabernet Sauvignon variety, which, with a share of over 70 percent, certainly dominates in assemblages, and also lends the wines excellent aging potential.
Red wines from Pauillac
Pauillac does not only set the bar in terms of the quality and character of its wines – the town of 5,000 inhabitants on the Gironde is also the cultural and economic centre of the Médoc peninsula. Sitting in one of the bistros on the harbour quay eating fresh shrimp from the Gironde is a special treat. Nonetheless, a drinkable Entre-deux-Mers goes better with this than the local crus. Exclusively red wines are produced in Pauillac, whose powerful, concentrated nature harmonizes better with fine beef, mushroom ragout or game.
Vines rooted in pure gravel
A successful Pauillac always presents aromas of red- and blackcurrants, notes of brush, leather, mint and pepper, along with perfectly integrated touches of spice from wood maturation. The central characteristics of Pauillac crus, however, are their robustness, owing to their fine-grained but prominent tannin structure, their depth and complexity. Though younger Pauillac vintages are produced which are ready to drink earlier, the crus still probably hold the best aging potential of all Bordeaux wines.
The appellation comprises a total of roughly 1,200 hectares, and consists of two large plateaux that are inconspicuously separated by the Canal du Gahet. On the northern, slightly higher plateau, named after the hamlet of Le Pouyalet, grapes grow in perfectly dimensioned, gentle slopes up to 30 metres above sea level. Two premier crus are residents here: Lafite and Mouton. The more southerly plateau of Saint-Lambert is somewhat flatter, and has the characteristic coarse pebbles that also shape the terroir of Latour.
Perfect Cabernet terroir
The full-bodied and exceedingly powerful crus grow in the distinctive hilltops of often very pure gravel with little sand, underlain with a thick limestone base. The vineyards are all located within the catchment area of the Gironde, which reaches nearly five kilometres wide here and modulates temperature variations. Cabernet Sauvignon, in particular, displays its noblest qualities in this terroir.