Château Grand-Puy Ducasse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Correct wines, fine, racy, elegant… A beautiful value of Pauillac!
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.