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Pauillac

For many winelovers, Pauillac embodies what Cabernet Sauvignon is supposed to be.  Home to three of the five ‘first growths’, Pauillac is surprisingly ‘normal’ in appearance - residential and commercial buildings intermingling with vineyards and magnificent Châteaux.  The roads leading into and out of Pauillac are single-carriageway roads, often thick with tractors bordeaux-vines.jpgand CV2s, and the inherent wealth that accompanies these world-famous landmarks subtly hidden away.  But in many ways, that is simply true of Bordeaux.

For me, there are two distinct styles of Pauillac, especially noticeable in the wines’ youth - simply differentiated as ‘northern’, or those properties close to the St.-Estephe border, and the ‘southern’ or properties nearer to St.-Julien.
Of course, nothing is ever quite that simple, and it should be noted that there is a distinction to be made between those properties closer to the Gironde and those further inland.

Pauillac's wines - especially the best of them - are famously long-lived, ageing gracefully for decades.  In perfect conditions, they have been pristine after more than 100 years.  Yet the past decade has also seen an evolution in style, making them far more approachable and attractive in their youth.  I believe that this will not compromise their longevity, but rather extends the optimum drinking window of the wines.

When standing in Pauillac in arguably the greatest terroirs for Cabernet Sauvignon anywhere in the world, I find it incredible that much of this land was under water - brackish, dirty water at that too - only a few centuries ago.  Were it not for the Dutch and their draining techniques of the 17th century who knows where we'd great our greatest Cabernet Sauvignons from today?

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