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  • Country ranking ?

    1 080
  • Producer ranking ?

    31
  • Decanting time

    1h
  • When to drink

    Now
  • Food Pairing

    Beef

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The Story

Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou is named after the beautiful, large stones found in its unique wine-growing terroir. This exceptional ecosystem produces fine, elegant, tasty wines, with a long finish – in short, archetypal Saint-Julien wines.

Perched on an exceptional site with incomparable views over the Gironde estuary, in the centre of a hundred-year-old park, Ducru-Beaucaillou is a majestic, Victorian-style castle, which has, over time, become one of the great symbols of the Médoc. Unusually for Bordeaux, it is built directly above the barrel cellars, enveloping its owners, who have lived here for over sixty years, in the sumptuous aromas of their wine.

Today, the estate is managed by the company Jean Eugène Borie SA, which is owned by Mrs Borie, her daughter Sabine Coiffe and her son Bruno-Eugène, CEO since 2003, the third generation of the Borie family to head the estate.

There are very close links between this estate and the five families who have been its successive owners.

The grapes are all harvested manually. They are sorted in the vines on mobile tables to avoid contact between unhealthy and healthy grapes during transport to the vat room.The vinification of each plot is done individually to optimise the choice of blends. Moreover, the fermentations are carried out separately and customized to take account of terroir, grape variety and vintage characteristics. We generally operate gentle extraction and keep the must at traditional temperatures with moderate lengths and frequencies of pumping-over.The press drains off continuously into barrels to facilitate the selection of the press-wine batches. Malolactic fermentation is managed in vats for optimal control.

The wine is barrelled in duly identified individual batches immediately after malolactic fermentation. Blending takes place during the first racking operation; for Ducru Beaucaillou, between 50 and 80% of new barrels are used according to the richness of the vintage. The barrels (225L Bordeaux barrels, French oak) are supplied by 5 carefully selected cooperages giving every guarantee. The wine is matured for 18 months in accordance with Medoc traditions for classified growths. Bottling is performed with special care in regard to both oenological controls and homogenisation of the overall batch. The 5 cork makers supplying the estate have signed a detailed and stringent quality charter. 

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Vintage 1981

Bordeaux 1981 /The small but high quality vintage of 1981 was overshadowed by the superb 1982. Hot, dry weather began from flowering and continued until September, when occasional rains occurred until until the harvest is completed in good conditions at the beginning of October. Generally speaking, the reds produced were elegant, moderately light and delicate wines in all appellations. The dry whites were of average quality and Sauternes was actually better than the following year 1982. Although this year is often considered modest, some good wines emerged. These include Margaux and Cheval Blanc.

 

The Bordeaux 1981 wine vintage received mixed reviews from the wine press and critics. It was a year characterized by variable weather conditions and uneven ripening, leading to wines of varying quality across different appellations and producers. 

 

  1. Variable Quality: One of the prevailing themes in reviews of Bordeaux 1981 was the highly variable quality of the wines. Some estates and appellations managed to produce wines of charm and balance, while others struggled with underripe grapes and less favorable conditions.

  2. Tannic Structure: Many Bordeaux 1981 wines were noted for their tannic structure. The tannins were sometimes described as firm or astringent, suggesting that some wines would require extended aging to soften and develop complexity.

  3. Early Drinking: While some Bordeaux 1981 wines were considered suitable for aging, others were recommended for earlier consumption. Critics often pointed out that certain wines were more approachable and enjoyable in their youth, with fruit-forward profiles.

  4. Elegance and Finesse: Despite the challenges of the vintage, some Bordeaux 1981 wines were praised for their elegance and finesse. These wines were often seen as examples of the winemaker's skill in a challenging year.

  5. Right Bank vs. Left Bank: There were distinctions between the wines of the Right Bank (Saint-Émilion and Pomerol) and the Left Bank (Medoc, Pauillac, etc.). Generally, the Right Bank wines were regarded as having performed better in 1981, with more consistent ripeness and structure.

  6. Notable Producers: Certain Bordeaux estates and producers were highlighted for their success in the vintage. These wines were often considered benchmarks for Bordeaux 1981.

  7. Aging Potential: While some Bordeaux 1981 wines were viewed as having the potential to age gracefully and improve with time, others were seen as wines best consumed in their prime to capture their youthful fruitfulness.

  8. Overall Assessment: The general consensus was that Bordeaux 1981 was not a standout vintage on par with some of the region's legendary years. However, it was also not a uniformly poor vintage; there were good wines to be found for those who selected carefully.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

Tasted in November 2022. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. This was a great treat, and one had to think about what would have happened if the frequent rains didn't fall during the beginning of the harvest because this vintage had the potential to be a true copy of the 1961 vintage. Rich, great nose of tobacco leaves, cigar box and black truffles, great complexity, and fine midpalate. Stylish, refined, and just superb effort.

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Origin

St.Julien, Bordeaux
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