Marie-Hélène and Francois-Xavier Borie
While a château has existed here since 1737, it didn't get its current name until the 19th century, when it was acquired through marriage by the Lacoste family. The building in its present form was constructed by Pierre-Fredéric Lacoste in 1855, the same year it was designated a fifth growth in the 1855 Classification, but when the family eventually sold it in the 1930s it fell into a state of disrepair.
Its fortunes changed in 1978 when its bachelor owner, Raymon Dupin, decided he wanted to sell the château to the Borie family because they made such lovely wine at Ducru-Beaucaillou and Haut-Batailley. At that time Ducru was in the expert hands of Jean-Eugène Borie, but his son Francois-Xavier had been assisting him, and benefiting from his father's experience, for some years. By the time the family acquired Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Francois-Xavier was ready to run his own property, so he moved into the château and lives there with his wife Marie-Hélène to this day. Since then he has made huge renovations to the existing winemaking facilities and orchestrated a great deal of replanting in the vineyard.
Grand-Puy means 'big hill', a nod to the château's location overlooking the village of Pauillac, and the vineyards surround the property. The heart of the 55 hectares of vines is two croupes (mounds) of deep, coarse gravel that is perfect for cabernet sauvignon, and indeed this makes up the majority of the plantings, which have an average age of 38 years.
Grand-Puy-Lacoste has been making beautifully balanced Pauillac with gentle, refined flavour and restraint for many years and has deservedly long been a favourite with Society members. The blend is 75% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot and 5% cabernet franc, which ages for 16 to 18 months in oak, three quarters new.
Though fine balance means it is enjoyable after seven years, this is a claret which gets better and better as it ages, and can do so for 12 to 30 years. The second wine, Lacoste-Borie, is an excellent buy for earlier drinking.