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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.
94 points Wine Enthusiast
*Cellar Selection* Despite the huge weight of fruit and accompanying structure, this is a stylish wine. It’s impressively dense, concentrated and solid. At the same time, the juicy black fruits give a generous, full-in-the-mouth character. Drink this very fine wine from 2022. (5/ 2014)
94 points Wine Spectator
This is rather well-endowed for the vintage, with thickly layered ganache, currant paste, fig sauce and blackberry confiture notes still grappling with one another, while briary grip and dark spice fill out the toast-fueled finish. Very long, showing a level of power that belies the vintage. Best from 2018 through 2028. (3/ 2014)
93 points James Suckling
This shows excellent aromas of crushed berries, minerals and roses. Full body with silky, balanced tannins. Fruity and reserved. Shows wonderful finesse for the Médoc in 2011. Better after 2018. (2/ 2014)
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Ducru Beaucaillou (which normally represents 1/3 to ½ of the entire crop) possesses a dense ruby/purple color along with a beautiful nose of sweet creme de cassis, crushed rock and spring flower aromas. This rich, medium to full-bodied St.-Julien is among the most concentrated wines of the Medoc. Moderate tannin is sweet and well-integrated. This beauty will benefit from 3-5 years of cellaring and keep for two decades. 92+ (RP) (4/ 2014)
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Inky ruby. Laid-back aromas of dark berries, black cherry and herbs, with a subtle note of violet. Clean and bright in the mouth, with taut blackcurrant and dark cherry flavors picking up sweetness with air. The flinty black cherry note repeats on the finish, which features a subtle floral pastille quality and very good persistence. I like this wine's understated character, but I wish it had a little more flesh and sweetness for an even higher score. (8/ 2014)
Smallest Ducru harvest in the last 25 years, with 25% of the fruit that appeared in April/May eliminated. A vintage Bruno Borie likens to Nicole Kidman (cf Beyoncé in 2009). 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot. 95% new oak. pH 3.6. Deep dark cherry crimson. Seductive fruit on the nose. Warm and dry and the tannins have great finesse and zero dryness. Puts the many dry Margaux tasted this morning into perspective. Dense but really supple and has a juicy flourish on the finish. Long. And very pure cassis through the middle. 17.5/20 points. (4/ 2012)
A VERY SERIOUS &HIGH-CLASS WINE!
2011: A CHAOTIC CLIMATE
Winter 2010-2011: This year again, winter was dry, one of the driest in the decade. The winter chill was indeed present from December to February... for the benefit of our ecosystem.
Spring 2010-2011: The sharp rise in temperature in March resulted in an early budding of the vines at the beginning of April. Then, Bordeaux enjoyed a quite exceptional spring from April to June, with a severe drought and historically high temperatures. We thus experienced 40 days with maximum temperatures exceeding 25°C and a heat wave (with temperatures of 37 to 39°C i.e. +/- 100°F) on the 26th and 27th of June.
At first, the spring conditions • promoted a precocious growth cycle (budding, flowering, fruit setting) • limited the vegetative expression of the vines in favour of the fruits.
In summer, however, we returned to more traditional Atlantic conditions with a few wet and cool days between the 14th July and the 15th August. Ultimately, rains, throughout, the cycle remained within the seasonal average for Bordeaux.
An important fact: if, at the outset of summer, the vegetal cycle was three weeks ahead in comparison with 2010, the mediocre weather conditionsat midsummer slowed down the process and erased much of the precocity acquired in the spring. This extension of the cycle was an undeniable qualitative element.
Careful, surgical and constant manual care provided by our teams toour vines throughout the cycle (rigorous pruning, draconian green and pink harvest, precise leaf-pulling) resulted in:
• the complete elimination of berries scalded by the extreme heat of late June
• the reduction of much of the heterogeneity due to the slow maturing of the grapes
• an optimal exposure of grapes on the trellis and optimally aerated clusters favouring:
+ Full ripening of the berries + Resistance to botrytis at end of cycle
2011 Vintage report ‐ 2 ‐
2011: care bestowed upon the harvest
The harvest of the older Merlot plots of Beaucaillou began on the 15th September while those of young vines of Lalande-Borie began ten days earlier, on the 5th September.
Our 150 pickers were divided into three teams of 50 ; each team with one sorting table in the field, attended by six people.
Of first importance this year, the selection process started in the summer and was carried on throughout the whole harvesting process: pickers instructed to eliminate defective clusters at the time of the harvest; team motivation in the vineyards at the sorting tables and finally the strict setting of our optical sorting table in the winery.
A novelty at Ducru Beaucaillou: an optical sorting table coupled with a 3D camera allowing a drastic final selection based on multiple criteria (size, shape and colour).
Ultimately, more than 25% of the grapes that appeared on the vines in April / May were eliminated, resulting in the smallest Ducru-Beaucaillou harvest in the last 25 years (even less than in 2003, when we were beset by drought, heat and hail storms).
This “hyper selection” resulted in: · a very healthy harvest and perfect homogeneity of the grapes, · ripe and perfectly matured skins,
thatfavoured a qualitative extraction of tannins during the vinification process.
We ended the picking of the Merlots on the 16th September and started the Cabernet Sauvignon on the 18th September. Clusters were quite small but perfectly ripe, healthy and very tasty!
2011: ultimately a great wine!
This small crop of beautiful and tasty grapes was processed with a view to achieve optimal extraction (qualitative / quantitative). Finally, in all our wines, the level of anthocyanins is exceptional and the IPT very high (both comparable to these of 2009 or 2010).
The 2011 vintage is not easy to handle.
Smith Haut Lafitte not only makes great white and red wine from Bordeaux in Pessac Léognan, they are also at the cutting edge of technology. They were one of the first Bordeaux wine producers to begin using optical sorting, which came in handy with the difficult 2011 Bordeaux harvest. Fabien Teitgen, long-time general manager, joined us for a long detailed conversation about what happened at Smith Haut Lafitte for the 2011 Bordeaux vintage.
“In my opinion, 2011 is balanced with a low pH and a medium alcohol level. So for those who picked at the right time, their wines will be balanced, with good concentration and good freshness. This vintage is not so easy to handle. »
Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe, began its 2011 Bordeaux harvest on Monday, September 5.
Jean Guillaume Prats told us that 2011 set a modern record for an early start to their harvest at Château Cos d’Estournel. He added: “It was the second earliest harvest on record. To find an earlier date, we had to go back to 1893! » Although the precise date to begin picking was not set in stone, the original plan was not to begin their Bordeaux harvest on September 5. But due to a ferocious storm that swept through the region, the massive 2011 Bordeaux storm hit the northern Médoc, any hope of waiting has gone out the window. “We had initially planned to start around September 9, with the young vines. After the storm, we gave ourselves time over the weekend to assess the situation and make the appropriate decision: wait and see how it will evolve in the coming days depending on the weather. We are “lucky” that this vintage is extremely early. The damage in terms of phenolic maturity of the grapes should be very minor. If it was a later year, like 2008, 2009 or 2010, the effects would be much worse.
" said Prats
The day starts before sunrise
Château Haut Brion and Château La Mission Haut Brion began harvesting their young Merlot vines on August 29. It’s early for the First Growth domain. To give you an idea of when Haut Brion started picking its young Merlot vines in 2010, September 8. In this vintage, the harvest continued until October 9.
Between the two properties of Pessac Léognan, with red and white grapes to pick, they have a busy schedule. Harvesters begin their day working on the grapes for their Bordeaux white wine, often starting their day before sunrise.
Jean-Philippe Delmas explains why they harvest early in the morning: “The goal of picking white grapes early in the morning is to ensure that the fruit stays fresh. This helps the berries retain their unique, fresh flavors. This year, we picked our white grapes between 7 a.m. and noon. The reason is that at this time of the day, the skin is dry. There is nothing left of the dew of the night. »
Château Lafite Rothschild began harvesting Cabernet Sauvignon from their northernmost plots, located not far from Château Cos d’Estournel, on Friday September 2. 2011. This is one of the first harvests recorded for the property. You will read quotes from many Bordeaux wine producers that 2011 Bordeaux, for many châteaux, will be their earliest harvest on record since 1893! However, producers located in certain districts of Bordeaux have brought forward their harvest calendars even earlier than expected.
Due to the enormous deluge and rain in the northern Médoc, centered near the border of Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe, to avoid possible rot problems, many châteaux in this vicinity decided to start picking sooner than they had originally planned. The most notable property is the famous Premier Cru, Château Lafite Rothschild. It is possible that the storm, which dropped half an inch of massive rain in a twenty-minute period, caused flooding in Lafite Rothschild's cellars.
“With our 2011 harvest, we harvested earlier because the cultivation of the vines was earlier than usual, due to the very hot spring. But the ripening weather conditions in summer were cool and cool, so the wine is of a cooler style than a late vintage. The pleasant weather conditions at the end of August and September were very good for phenolic maturity.” Fabien Teitgen from Château Smith Haut Lafitte.
Bordeaux 2011 /The earliest harvest recorded since 1893