Château Gruaud-Larose: Joseph-Sébastien de Larose

The tenure of Joseph-Sébastien de Larose was something of a golden era for the estate. Clearly prosperous, he built the château (pictured below, from the southern section of the vineyard) next to the chevalier’s iconic tower in 1775. And as if to further cement his authority on the estate, the following year he changed its name; up until this point the estate and wines had been known as Gruaud, but under his tenure they were known as Larose. Clearly, it would not be long before the domaine came to be known as Château Gruaud-Larose.

Château Gruaud-Larose

Joseph-Sébastien de Larose was also responsible for expanding the extent of the vineyard up to 80 hectares, not that dissimilar to the extent of the domaine today. Larose also did much to market the wine and develop its reputation. It was he who first claimed his wine was “Le roi des vins, le vin des rois” (the king of wines, the wine of kings), a declaration that has been printed on the label until very recent times (although it did seem to disappear for a while during the 1980s and 1990s). Such was the reputation of the domaine that in 1787 it was one of a number that came to the attention of Thomas Jefferson, ambassador to France, and future president of the USA. He was well known as an acolyte of Bordeaux, and in his writings he placed the Larose estate on the third rung of his own quality ladder.

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