The name Grand Puy Lacoste comes from a combination of its location and the name of one of the original owners of the Pauillac estate. Puy is a French topographical term designating the elevations rising from the mostly flat surrounding landscapes found in numerous Bordeaux vineyards.
The second part of the Medoc estates name, Lacoste, is the name of the family who owned the property from the start of the eighteenth century until the conclusion of the nineteenth century as you will see.
The initial plantings of what became Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste took place in the 1500’s when the property was owned by the Guiraud family. However, credit for forming much of what we know of as Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste belongs to the Dejean family. They were quite active in Bordeaux during the 1700’s.
In fact, they possessed what later became Chateau Lynch Bages as well. In 1750, the Dejean family sold a portion of their Bordeaux vineyards to Pierre Ducasse. Part of those vines became Grand Puy Ducasse while the remainder of the vineyard was used to create Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste.
However, before the estate took on the name we know today, due to the line of succession on the female side of the Dejean family, for a time, the wines were sold under the name of Grand Puy Saint Guiron. That changed when one of the daughters married into the Lacoste family.
This marriage not only led to the official name of the estate, they were also responsible for building the beautiful chateau that remains in use today at Grand Puy Lacoste. The chateau was constructed at the time of the 1855 Classification.
Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste The Modern Age
Raymond Dupin owned Grand Puy Lacoste until 1978. Before his death, he passed the remainder of his estate to the Borie family, which was headed by Jean Eugene Borie, the father of the current owner, François-Xavier Borie, who began his career at Grand Puy Lacoste with the 1979 vintage.
The Borie family have extensive roots in the Bordeaux region. They moved to Bordeaux in the late 1800’s and started out as negociants. Their first vineyard purchase was Chateau Caronne Ste. Gemme, in the Haut Medoc appellation. The Borie family later purchased Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou in St. Julien, as well as Chateau Haut Batailley in Pauillac.
François-Xavier Borie is the current owner and winemaker at the estate, a role he took over in 2003. His daughter Emeline Borie continues taking a more active role in helping her family manage Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste.
Under the watchful eye of François-Xavier Borie, the estate was completely renovated, in the vineyards and in the winemaking facilities and cellars starting in 2004. François-Xavier Borie purchased the numerous, large, gleaming, stainless steel, fermentation tanks which are in use today at the Left Bank chateau. In 2016, Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste went through another renovation and modernization of their vat rooms and barrel cellars.
Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The 55 hectare vineyard of Grand Puy Lacoste is planted to 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Franc was not always planted at the estate. In fact, for much of their history, only two grape varieties were planted, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
The vineyard is basically in one large block on the hill of Pauillac, just off the D1, if you are driving to the estate. The vineyard can be divided into 2 gravel hills. They have vines on both sides of the D1 highway. A large portion of their vines are placed around the chateau, with a smaller portion of vines located just southwest.
The vineyard of Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste remains unchanged since the 1855 Classification of the Medoc. The terroir is filled with gravel, large pebbles and stones in the soil over a bed of limestone.
The vines are planted to a vine density of 10,000 vines per hectare. On average the vines are 38 years of age. But the estate has old vines as well that date all the way back back to 1947.
To produce the wine of Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste, vinification takes place in 90 temperature, controlled stainless steel vats of various sizes ranging from 12 hectoliters all the way up to 180 hectoliters. Although most of the vats are mid-sized between 70-80 hectoliters corresponding to parcel sizes. Malolactic fermentation takes place in tank.
This traditionally styled wine is aged in 70% new, French oak barrels for an average of 16 to 18 months before bottling. There is a second wine, Lacoste Borie, which made its debut with the 1982 vintage.
When to Drink Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste needs time in the cellar before it is ready to drink. Young vintages can be decanted for an at least 2-4 hours, give or take. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume.
Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste is usually better with at least 12-20 years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage character. Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste should off its best drinking and reach peak maturity between 12-35 years of age after the vintage.
Serving Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste with Wine and Food Pairings
Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift.
Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste is also good when matched with Asian dishes, rich fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta.
Grand Puy Lacoste is a classic, age worthy, style of Pauillac. It’s a full bodied, tannic, concentrated Bordeaux wine that ages well. This Bordeaux wine offers cassis, cedar, tobacco and truffle scents and a juicy mouth full of flavor. (Source: thewinecellarinsider.com)