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A guide to Pauillac

Map courtesy of Fernando Beteta MS

Our Bordeaux offers often make reference to the 'classic' styles of wines from the terroirs of Margaux, Pauillac, St-Julien, St-Estephe, Pomerol, and St-Emilion. Not everyone is familiar with these, so, in advance of the Bordeaux 2022 En Primeur campaign, here are some handy guides to the classic terroirs in the region and how they express themselves in the finished wines, continuing here with Pauillac.

Nestled in between St-Julien and St-Estèphe in the northern Médoc, Pauillac is a picturesque commune renowned for its number of prestigious chateaux.  With 18 grands crus classés in total, Pauillac is slightly behind Margaux, but the presence of three First Growths gives this commune to be the greatest in Bordeaux:  Château Lafite, Château Latour and Château Mouton-Rothschild. 

Among the other Cru Classé are stellar estates like Pichon-Lalande, Pontet-Canet, Pichon-Baron and Lynch-Bages.  Conversely, at the other end of the scale, quality drops off severely and terroir is all-important here.  Pauillac has the smallest number of Cru Bourgeois estates out of the Médoc communes, just three châteaux.  In total there are 54 estates.

The commune has 1230 ha of vines, sitting on a narrow peninsula, with the Gironde estuary on one side and the Atlantic on the other, the commune has a maritime climate.  The terroir is rich in minerals, ideal for viticulture, despite unpredictable weather patterns.  As well as  gravel Gunzian and Mindel gravels, there is calcareous Savoisian marl, bring limestone character some wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon thrives here in the gravelly soils, producing wines with an intense, dark color, high tannins, and robust, meaty flavours.  Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are grown in smaller quantities, adding complexity and balance. 

Premieres Crus (3)

Château Latour | Château Lafite-Rothschild | Château Mouton-Rothschild  

Deuxièmes Crus (2)

Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande | Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

Quatrième Crus (1)

Château Duhart-Milon

Cinqième Crus (12)

Château Pontet-Canet | Château Batailley | Château Haut-Batailley | Château Lynch-Bages | Château Lynch-Moussas | Château Grand-Puy Lacoste | Château Grand-Puy Ducasse | Château d'Armailhac | Château Haut-Bages Liberal | Château Pedesclaux | Château Clerc-Milon | Château Croizet-Bages

Producer Profile

Tim Wood

Tim Wood has worked in the wine trade since 1995, with stints at well-known trade names including Corney & Barrow, Enotria and Mentzendorff.  After completing his WSET Diploma in 1999, he qualified as a WSET Educator in 2007 and completed the Stage I of the MW in 2018.  Tim joined Richard Kihl Ltd in 2018 and specializes in Burgundy.

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