Château Grand-Puy Du­casse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Cor­rect wines, fine, racy, el­e­gant… A beau­ti­ful value of Pauil­lac!

VertdeVin - - Front Page - J.C.C.

The Château Grand-Puy Du­casse is a 40 hectares Mé­doc es­tate lo­cated in AOC Pauil­lac. It was el­e­vated to the rank of 5th Grand Cru Classé in 1855.

Arnaud Du­casse founded the prop­erty in the mid­dle of the 17th cen­tury by ac­quir­ing land and a small house from Monsieur Jac­ques de Ségur, Lord of Lafite. His grand­son Pierre Du­casse was the main ar­chi­tect of the ex­ten­sion of the fam­ily es­tate. He ac­quired many hectares of vine­yards in the com­munes of Pauil­lac, Saint-Lam­bert, Saint-Sau­veur and three seigneuries of the time: Lafite (Pauil­lac), La­tour (Pauil­lac) and Bey­chev­elle (Saint-Julien).

When he died in 1797 the prop­erty stretched over sixty hectares. His son, Arnaud Du­casse, con­tin­ued the work of his fa­ther: he planted vines on the land pre­vi­ously ac­quired and also built the present Château Grand-Puy Du­casse.

In 1971, af­ter two cen­turies at the head of the es­tate, the Du­casse fam­ily ceded the prop­erty to mer­chants in Bordeaux. In 2004, Château Grand-Puy Du­casse was bought by CA Grands Crus with the aim of restor­ing its rep­u­ta­tion to this Grand Cru Classé in Pauil­lac.

VertdeVin: Where does the name of Château GrandPuy Du­casse come from?

The name comes from the com­bi­na­tion of the sur­name of the founder of the vine­yard, Arnaud Du­casse and the name of the place Grand-Puy. The orig­i­nal name of the prop­erty at the time of its clas­si­fi­ca­tion in 1855 was Château Ar­tigues-Arnaud Grand-Puy, but shortly af­ter Mr Du­casse had it re­named back to its name.

V.d.V.: If you were to de­scribe your pas­sion in 3 or 4 words what would you say?

I would say: pas­sion, shar­ing, ex­em­plar­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity. The last one (note: peren­ni­al­ity) must be un­der­stood for the agri­cul­ture prac­ticed, but also be­cause the vine, un­like other cul­tures, is a peren­nial plant. When we plant it is for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions... The no­tion of trans­mis­sion is very im­por­tant in our busi­ness.

V.d.V.: What is the Grand-Puy Du­casse’s sig­na­ture? What makes it pos­si­ble to rec­og­nize wines in tast­ing? It’s a rather com­pli­cated ques­tion be­cause the sig­na­ture of a wine is the re­sult of the ad­di­tion of the ter­roir and the ac­tion of Man. In their youth, wines more read­ily ex­press the ac­tion of Man, but af­ter ag­ing, the soil takes over.

Many things have been re­viewed at Château Grand-Puy Du­casse since its takeover by CA Grands Crus in 2004.The «sig­na­ture» of Grand-Puy Du­casse was slightly mod­i­fied. In par­tic­u­lar, a ma­jor re­struc­tur­ing plan has been put in place in the vine­yard: tillage, re­plant­ing... Our vine­yard has been dom­i­nated by Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon for only a short time.We have also evolved the vini­fi­ca­tion to­wards more par­celling se­lec­tion, bet­ter con­trol of ex­trac­tions, vini­fi­ca­tion temperatures and mac­er­a­tion ... Since 2006 we con­tinue to slowly evolve the vine­yard, wine­mak­ing and wines with as our am­bi­tion a per­ma­nent search for Qual­i­ta­tive im­prove­ment. The wines of Château Grand-Puy Du­casse are straight and very frank wines. They may also, in cer­tain cases, es­pe­cially in their youth take a cer­tain aus­ter­ity. This one passes over time and leaves room for wines in this style to be­come more and more as­sertive. Once good grapes are har­vested, the most im­por­tant thing for us is to adapt the ex­trac­tion as well as the wood to the po­ten­tial struc­ture / fruit and the vin­tage. The wines of Grand-Puy Du­casse will al­ways be cor­rect, long and racy wines. In this no­tion of ‘race’ we of­ten find notes of cedar (which do not come from the bar­rel be­cause they are al­ready found in vats) and ci­gar cel­lars. There are also fresh notes, licorice and fruity notes of black or

red berries de­pend­ing on the vin­tage. Château Grand-Puy Du­casse pro­duces struc­tured wines. They need ag­ing and most of­ten to be de­canted / oxy­genated.

V.d.V.: How do you man­age the vine­yard? Do you prac­tice a par­tic­u­lar kind of agri­cul­ture or an on­go­ing process? We are in the process of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion SME and 14001 for all the prop­er­ties of the group.The Château La Tour de Mons has al­ready ob­tained it and all the prop­er­ties should fol­low log­i­cally in June 2017.

At present, we man­age the vine­yard with rea­soned agri­cul­ture, but we also do man­age­ment tests on cer­tain plots in or­ganic farm­ing, bio­dy­nam­ics or other types of prac­tices that pro­hibit the use of syn­thetic mol­e­cules. It is im­por­tant to mea­sure our en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print, but we must in­te­grate it into a more global ap­proach.

In­deed, it is not only the pro­tec­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment, but also that of the work­ers in the field and the con­sumer. En­ergy sav­ings and other CSR ap­proaches must also be taken into ac­count. V.d.V.: What do you think of the last vin­tage (2016)? Since I ar­rived in Bordeaux in 2001 I have never seen a vin­tage that is as good as this one qual­i­ta­tively and quan­ti­ta­tively. Quan­ti­ta­tively, we are rel­a­tively close to 2004 or 2007. Qual­i­ta­tively, it is in my opin­ion the great­est vin­tage since 2010.

V.d.V.: How do you see the fu­ture for Château GrandPuy Du­casse?

I see it in the pur­suit of a notable qual­i­ta­tive progress, in the im­prove­ment of the plot se­lec­tion and in the im­prove­ment of the con­trol of the temperatures.

We have not stopped ad­vanc­ing our tools in re­cent years and do not lack ideas to con­tinue in this di­rec­tion and con­tinue to help ex­press the ter­roir of the Château Grand Puy Du­casse.

Thanks to Anne Le Naour and to Ma­rine Lem­mens for their warm hospi­tal­ity.

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