If there is one appellation after Margaux that people recognize, it is Pauillac, the home of three of the Bordeaux First Growths (Latour, Lafite-Rothschild and Mouton-Rothschild) with classified growths making up a whopping 84 percent of the appellation’s production. Bordered to the south by St. Julien and to the north by St. Estèphe, this is resolutely Cabernet country where the deep levels of gravel and rolling hills provide the perfect drainage and nutrients for the vines. The famous walled vineyard of the L’Enclos at Chateau Latour is considered to be the heart of the appellation with its gravel hillsides and its view of the estuary.
The centre of the appellation is the town and port of Pauillac that hugs the Gironde estuary. It is surprisingly small and somewhat run down although the Cazes family of Lynch Bages has done a great deal to spur on local tourism with their restoration of the village of Bages and a top hotel. Visitors to Pauillac are not here to walk through the town; they are here to visit the top vineyards and the rota of top names from the two Pichons (Baron and Lalande) through the first growths, to the wonderful much loved estates of Lynch Bages, Grand Puy Lacoste and Pontet-Canet lying nearby.
There are approximately 1200 hectares of vineyards, divided amongst 115 different growers. The style of Pauillac is rich, tannic and fruity with classic flavours of cigar and blackcurrant. Many people believe that it is the quintessential taste of Bordeaux. The wines pair well with lamb (the famous milk fed version is called “agneau de Pauillac), duck, cep mushrooms and hard cheeses. They are also known to age extremely well (the legendary vintages being still wonderful to drink after 50-60 years)
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- Pauillac5ième Grand Cru Classé 0.75l RedPrimeur€38.90 €32.15Bright ruby red colour with a, fragrant, fruity nose with lovely fruit flavours of cherries and blackcurrant. Very well put together with charming, feminine and so drinkable. There are fresh Cabernet flavours in the supple, creamy finish. Claire Lurton has made a very pretty wine which should be good to drink quite young.
- Pauillac5ième Grand Cru Classé 0.75l Red€61.40 €50.74A perennial favourite and always reasonably priced, we love this 2014 for its gorgeous sweet blackcurrant fruit and its lovely freshness. Very fine, very Pauillac with an overriding impression of purity and elegance. Lovely.
- Pauillac5ième Grand Cru Classé 0.75l RedPrimeur€75.15 €62.11We arrive quite late in the day at Grand Puy Lacoste and Francois Xavier Borie is always waiting for us with a welcoming smile. This year his smile was broad since he feels that the 2017 vintage has really banished the curse of the years with a seven in them. Dark purple colour, lovely nose of cabernet flavours – cassis, fresh pepper and cedar, very open and seductive. Pretty black fruit on the attack with spice and fine tannins. Everything is in balance here. Pure and persistent in the finish.
- Pauillac5ième Grand Cru Classé 0.75l Red€81.65 €67.48With Château Lynch Bages, this is fast becoming one of the best loved Pauillacs which is still affordable. It is also one of the most successful wines of the Médoc this year and rivals the domain's 2009 in quality. The 2015 GPL is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc aged in 75% new oak. This is classic Pauillac Cabernet with notes of cedar, blackcurrant, mint and cigar box. On the palate there is structure and refinement with wonderful balance between the different elements of oak, tannin, fruit and acidity. A lovely wine.
- Pauillac5ième Grand Cru Classé 0.75l Red€85.24 €70.45One of Bordeaux’s best-loved chateau, this classic Pauillac recently voted the best value amongst the grands crus, is a beauty. Made from a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon and 21% Merlot, this wine starts with a gorgeous nose of pure blackcurrant and fresh plums, violets and spices and gets better from there. The palate is round and sweet but beautifully balanced and well made so there is richness and power but also elegance and freshness. Bright and refined on the finish. Drink 2026-2040.
- 2014 Château Lynch‑BagesPauillac5ième Grand Cru Classé 0.75l Red€89.50 €73.97One of the successes of the vintage, universally praised for its opening price. This is a big wine with lots of fragrance and ripe black fruit character - very Pauillac. Fine flavours of blackcurrant, leather and cedar leads to dense oak and tannin. Impressive.