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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.
Mother Nature’s generosity combined with the quest for perfection.
What happened in the vineyard?
Weather Conditions: a beautiful summer followed by an absolutely perfect autumn!
The weather conditions that prevailed in 2009 remind us all of the climate that forged such mythical vintages like 2000, 2005 or even 1982, 1961 and 1945, the more so if we consider the dominant weather patterns at the end of the summer. In 2009:
The wet winter favoured the reconstitution of the water-table, The spring was fine, albeit marked by frequent storms, The superb hot and dry summer exceptionally carried through to mid-October.
These are the ideal weather conditions that marked the whole lifecycle of the vine – from the budding process right through to grape maturity.
During the hot (but not scorching) summer, the plants underwent continual and moderate water-stress – a condition that is beneficial to their quality. The cool nights allowed the vines to rest and favoured their rehydration.
The autumn (September & October) witnessed the perfect maturation of the grapes under excellent weather:
Record sunshine, Higher than normal temperatures (17 days > 25°C, 9 days > 30°C in September, and 8 days > 25°C in October), Drought conditions, Some providential rainstorms.
Harvest: “textbook grapes”
Under such ideal conditions, the harvest started on the 23rd September with the picking of the Merlots, followed by the picking of the Cabernets Sauvignons that greatly benefited from the Indian summer. The harvest ended on the 9th of October.
The grapes brought to the vats had a “textbook” format in the sense that they were the exact replica of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes, as they are represented on the plates of ampelography treaties
2009 vintage report - 1 -
All the grapes were perfectly healthy, identical in shape, size and colour (blue for Cabernet Sauvignon and black for Merlot)...! The literally perfect climate brought back to all of us fond memories of the 1982 vintage, except that the yields, bunch repartition and leaf cover as well as vinifications are now more judiciously managed than they were years ago.
The grapes were very sweet and particularly tasty, with beautifully ripe skins and pips. They revealed no signs of over-ripeness, but were marked by a slight touch of acidity that buttressed their wonderful fruit and superb freshness.
As exceptional as it may seem, it was possible, just by tasting the grapes in the vineyard, to determine the ideal harvest time for each plot and to foresee not only the character of the wine that would be produced, but also its taste, richness and balance.
Thanks to modern viticultural and oenological techniques, the 2009 vintage produced pure and precise wines, characterised by heights of concentration yet unattained at Ducru-Beaucaillou. Although the harvest was close in quality to its 1982 counterpart, it yielded wines that are unquestionably superior to their elders.
The Wines: “luscious and sensual”
The 2009 Ducru-Beaucaillou is a rich, generous, and luscious wine. Solid and voluptuously built around ripe and dense tannins, it is fruity and fresh, with a perfect acidity. Its finale is unending and sensual.
To poetically describe this wine, one could compare it, if it were music, to a beautiful piece of “languorous soul”; were it an icon, it would evoke Beyoncé Knowles in a gold and deep red satin evening dress.
The 2009 vintage is referred to as a post-crisis year because:
Its wines will be consumed long after the present crisis will have been forgotten
It is a modern vintage (both ethically and in the techniques used to produce it) and it perfectly illustrates the motto, famous amongst economists, that goes: “Crises separates new from old”: 2009 is indeed the post-crisis vintage!
100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Ducru Beaucaillou will eclipse the brilliant wines produced in 2005, 2003 and 2000. It will be interesting to see how the 2009 fares against the 2010 after twenty years of aging, but my money is on the 2009. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot that achieved 13.5% natural alcohol, this inky purple, unctuous wine possesses classic aromas of graphite, creme de cassis, blueberries, violets, licorice and Christmas fruitcake. Full-bodied and intense with Ducru’s inimitable elegance and purity, it should firm up in the bottle after 7-10 years of cellaring and last for 40-50 years. Magnificent! (2/ 2012)
95-97 points Wine Enthusiast
Big and powerful; structured, with bitter chocolate and blackberry flavors. The wine is dense, the fruit enormous, keeping its essential freshness. (4/ 2010)
96 points James Suckling
The purity of fruit is wonderful in this, with plums, currants and hints of fresh mushrooms. Hints of cloves too. Full-bodied, with chewy, creamy tannins and a bright fresh finish. Super energy and intensity. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. Better in 2018. (2/ 2012)
96 points Wine Spectator
Features plenty of flash and sizzle, with gorgeous, inviting mocha, espresso and chocolate notes up front, backed by a dense core of plum sauce, cassis, blackberry puree and blueberry reduction accents. Long, showing terrific polish, with a lovely lingering loam note and a buried singed apple wood edge that keeps everything driving through the finish. (3/ 2013)
95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Inky ruby. Intense mineral high notes complement aromas of cassis, smoke and quinine on the deep, very pure nose. Then seamless and graceful in the mouth, with very smooth, glossy, ripe black fruit and mineral flavors lifted by bright harmonious acidity, which confers a sense of refinement to all the plush fruit. The very long finish shows a persistent note of violet. Though this is an atypically big and creamy Ducru, it manages a precise delivery of archetypical Saint-Julien flavors and refinement. (7/ 2012)
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot. "Ducru-Beaucaillou declared world's best Cab blend in blind tasting...Despite the presence of all five Bordeaux first growths in the tasting, the second growth property from Saint-Julien gained the highest average score whent he results were added from a group of tasters, who were made up of UK press and included Sarah Ahmed, Gerard Basset MW, Peter Richards MW, Martin Moran MW, Richard Hemming and db's Patrick Schmitt." (Drinks Business, 11/2013)
Right up there with 1947, 1961, and 2005, 2009 is a year of almost exaggeratedly (for Bordeaux) flamboyant, opulent wines with elevated ripeness and low acidity. The tannins are unusually ripe, while the wines are quite voluptuous in style. The Left Bank recorded more sunlight hours than legendary vintages such as 1947 and 1982, and grapes had higher sugar concentrations than 2003 and 2005. The key was significant diurnal temperature swings that allowed grapes to handle the hot daytime temperatures. An exceptional vintage across the board.