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Tasting Pauillac

Quintessential Bordeaux

By Chadwick Ciocci

Bordeaux is well regarded as one of the premiere wine producing regions in the world, but within Bordeaux there are those appellations that stand above the rest. Pauillac is one of those.

Not only does Pauillac literally stand above the rest – it is some meters above anything around it – but of the five premier grand cru chateaux in Bordeaux, three of them are located in Pauillac, an admirable concentration.

Those chateaux are Latour, Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild. Together, their wines represent quintessential Bordeaux. The terroir in Pauillac is gravely and a westerly forest blocks the Atlantic winds. This in part contributes to the rich, full bodied and tannic aspects of these fine wines. The predominant flavors include blackcurrant, plum, pencil shavings and cigar box.

But the premiere grand cru chateaux are not the only places worth seeking out. Pauillac is full of worthwhile chateaux whose wines are both respectable and pleasurable. Pichon-Longueville and Pichon-Longueville-Lalande are competitive, to say the least.

The red wines of Pauillac are primarily made from cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot, malbec and carmenere. A few white wines are produced using sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle.

Part of what makes a Bordeaux wine a Bordeaux (and more particularly a Pauillac a Pauillac) is a beautiful and rich history. Many of the original grapes were planted by monks in the second half of the 1200’s. Their success was relatively rapid; not only was the soil and climate favorable to growing grapes, but Pauillac enjoys easy access to shipping, meaning export and commerce came as naturally as the soils that supported the grapes. Easy shipping lead to familiarity and later reputation – a reputation that has stood the test of time. 

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